Mentoring in Reentry

Mentoring is often thought to provide prosocial benefits, including access to a reliable listener and association with someone who is outside of one’s existing social network. Many community-based organizations provide mentoring services to adults who are returning from prisons and jails to their communities. The benefits of mentoring are perhaps most evident in the practice of peer mentoring, which matches program participants to mentors with similar experiences. Mentoring should serve as a supplement to services that address other critical reentry needs, such as housing, health care, substance use treatment, and employment.

CSG Justice Center Publications

Mentoring as a Component of Reentry: Practical Considerations from the Field

The Council of Governments Justice Center (forthcoming)

With the support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) worked with researchers, practitioners, correctional officials, and more than 150 organizations that have been awarded Second Chance Act mentoring grants to create practical considerations for 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.

Community-Based Organizations and Corrections Agencies: Relationship-Building Questionnaire

The Council of Governments Justice Center (forthcoming)

The success of the mentoring component of a community-based adult reentry program often relies heavily on the quality of the relationship between the program’s parent organization and its corrections partners, including probation and parole. This questionnaire is designed to highlight topic areas that are important for community-based organizations to discuss with their potential corrections partner(s) prior to formalizing a partnership.

Reentry Partnerships: A Guide for States & Faith-Based and Community Organizations

The Council of Governments Justice Center (2008)

The CSG Justice Center, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, U.S. Department of Labor, developed a guide that offers practical recommendations for how state government officials and community-based service providers can better use limited resources to help people released from prisons and jails successfully and safely rejoin neighborhoods and families.

Other Resources

Mentoring Formerly Incarcerated Adults: Insights from the Ready4Work Reentry Initiative

Public/Private Ventures (2009)

This report explores mentoring as a tool for supporting the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated people within the context of a larger reentry strategy—in this case, the Ready4Work model. The report describes Ready4Work’s mentoring component, the extent to which mentoring was attractive to participants, the types of adults who volunteered to serve as mentors and how receipt of mentoring was related to participant outcomes.

Mentoring Former Prisoners: A Guide For Reentry Programs

Public/Private Ventures (2009)

This guide was originally published by the U.S. Department of Labor in November 2007 under the title Mentoring Ex-Prisoners: A Guide for Prisoner Reentry Programs. Due to growing interest in providing mentoring services as part of larger reentry efforts around the country, Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) reissued the guide with updated information related to P/PV's evaluation of the Ready4Work initiative (particularly findings published in Mentoring Formerly Incarcerated Adults, 2009.)

Mentoring Ex-Prisoners: A Guide For Prisoner Reentry Programs

U.S. Department of Labor, Public/Private Ventures (2007)

This manual draws on the experiences of Ready4Work initiative sites and promising practices in mentoring to provide information and suggested guidelines for practitioners who are interested in developing a mentoring component that helps to support formerly incarcerated people and may enhance the effectiveness of other program areas, such as job placement and retention.