Law Enforcement

More than 700,000 individuals were released from state and federal prisons in 2007, and approximately 9 million people are released from jails every year. Officers in small towns and large urban centers alike repeatedly encounter and arrest many of these individuals — often shortly after they leave prison or jail. Returning individuals’ safe and successful reentry depends on many factors, such as fulfillment of their educational needs, access to mental health and drug treatment, job readiness, connections with family, housing availability, and others that could help them avoid future criminal activity. Law enforcement professionals are uniquely positioned to engage their community policing networks of service providers who can help address these needs. They can also be important partners with institutional and community corrections, enhancing supervision when appropriate, which will increase the accountability of people released from prisons and jails and improve public safety.

Key Resources

  • Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy, Justice Center (2008)
    The Justice Center partnered with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), with support from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office), to develop a report that focuses on law enforcement reentry strategies. Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy integrates information on effective practices with an interactive assessment to form a toolkit for designing and evaluating reentry approaches involving law enforcement agencies.
  • Lessons Learned: Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy, Justice Center (2013)
    On April 3, 2013, the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released Lessons Learned: Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy. Produced with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the report describes how four law enforcement agencies used the principles outlined in Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy to engage in local-level reentry partnerships in order to reduce crime and increase public safety in their jurisdictions.
  • Prisoner Reentry and Community Policing Strategies for Enhancing Public Safety, Urban Institute (2006)
    This document contains four papers that explore how community policing can respond to the challenges of prisoner reentry and public safety within the context of community concerns, sentencing policy, and corrections. The papers were commissioned by the Urban Institute to facilitate the eighth meeting of the Reentry Roundtable, titled "Community Policing and Prisoner Reentry: Strategies for Enhancing Public Safety," which was held in May 2004. Meeting participants discussed various perspectives on the role of law enforcement and community policing in tackling the public safety consequences of the increasing number of individuals entering and leaving the nation's prisons each year.