An outcome evaluation of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative
Sep 13, 2012
To evaluate the effectiveness of the InnerChange program for male inmates at MCFLino Lakes, the DOC examined recidivism outcomes among 732 offenders released from prison between 2003 and 2009. There were 366 offenders who participated in InnerChange, had their recidivism risk assessed, and had been released from prison during the 2003-2009 period. Offenders whose recidivism risk had been assessed and had been released during the 2003-2009 period, but did not participate in InnerChange, were matched to those in the InnerChange group on commonly-known risk factors.
Multivariate statistical analyses were performed to further control for other factors besides InnerChange participation that may have had an impact on recidivism. These measures were used to ensure that any observed differences in recidivism between the 366 InnerChange participants and the 366 offenders in the comparison group were due strictly to participation in InnerChange.
....The data in Figure 1 show that InnerChange participants had lower recidivism rates than the offenders in the comparison group. For example, 42 percent of the InnerChange participants had been rearrested for a new offense by the end of December 2011 compared with 51 percent of the comparison group offenders. The results also show that 25 percent of the InnerChange participants were reconvicted for a new offense compared to 34 percent in the comparison group. In addition, 9 percent of the InnerChange participants were reincarcerated for a new criminal offense compared to 13 percent of the comparison group offenders. Lastly, compared to the offenders in the comparison group, who had a technical violation revocation rate of 36 percent, InnerChange offenders had a rate of 33 percent.
The results from the multivariate statistical analyses, which controlled for time at risk and other rival causal factors, revealed that participating in InnerChange significantly lowered the risk of recidivism by 26 percent for rearrest, 35 percent for reconviction, and 40 percent for new offense reincarceration. InnerChange did not have a significant effect on returns to prison for technical violation revocations.
In an effort to better understand why InnerChange significantly reduced reoffending, mentoring data collected by program staff were examined. Analyses of these data showed that 173 (or 47 percent) of the 366 InnerChange participants met with a mentor, whereas the remaining 193 (53 percent) did not. Of the 173 who met with a mentor, 131 (76 percent of those who met with a mentor and 36 percent of all InnerChange participants) had a mentoring continuum insofar as they met with their mentors both in prison and in the community. The findings showed that a mentoring continuum significantly reduced all four measures of recidivism.