The impact of mentoring for adults returning to their community from incarceration is dependent on how well reentry programs structure the mentoring component of the program, which involves collaborating with correctional facilities, thoughtfully selecting and matching mentors and participants, and effectively concluding the mentoring relationship. An integral part of the process also involves the understanding that mentoring should serve as a supplement to services that address other critical reentry needs, such as housing, health care, substance use treatment, and employment. Despite growing interest and investment in mentoring as a component of reentry, there is only a small body of research to support the value of mentoring services in reducing recidivism among criminal justice populations. The research related to adult reentry mentoring that does exist rarely addresses participants’ criminogenic risk levels and other factors that are known to be important in recidivism-reduction strategies. In the absence of research, reentry programs and corrections agencies are looking for guidance on how mentoring and correctional evidence-based practices (EBPs) can be integrated.
This publication from the National Reentry Resource Center offers five broad, field-based practical considerations for incorporating mentoring into reentry programs for adults. Although the primary audience for this publication is community-based reentry organizations that are incorporating adult mentoring into their portfolio of reentry services, corrections agencies, other organizations, and legislative officials may also find this publication useful for gaining a better understanding of the components of adult mentoring in reentry.
An appendix from Mentoring as a Component of Reentry, “Community-Based Organizations and Corrections Agencies: Relationship-Building Questionnaire,” is available as a separate, complementary resource for community-based adult reentry programs that are seeking to formalize a partnership with a corrections agency.