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Recidivism Reduction Checklists


The recidivism reduction checklists are a user-friendly source of information on the many policies and practices that go into a comprehensive, effective reentry initiative. There are three checklists, each tailored to a specific audience:

  1. Legislative and Executive Policymakers
  2. State Corrections and Community Supervision Administrators (Updated in 2018)
  3. State Reentry Coordinators

These checklists can familiarize state leaders with key issues related to recidivism reduction, and help them honestly evaluate strengths and weaknesses in their reentry efforts through enhanced communication and coordination.

The Recidivism Reduction Checklists

Each checklist’s intended audience is described below. To view a checklist, click on an audience.

Executive and Legislative Policymakers State Corrections and Community Supervision Administrators State Reentry Coordinators
This checklist is targeted at policymakers in the executive or legislative branches and their staff as well as other reentry champions outside of corrections. This checklist is targeted at directors, secretaries, and commissioners of state corrections and community supervision departments. This checklist is targeted at high-level staff members that manage reentry efforts within corrections departments.

How should the checklists be used?

  • Outreach and education: These checklists succinctly outline the key facets of effective reentry policy and can be used by corrections and community supervision leaders to easily brief legislative or executive policymakers and their staff on best practices.
  • Assessment: Policymakers and corrections or community supervision staff can use the checklists to assess the comprehensiveness of their recidivism reduction efforts. The reentry coordinators’ checklist is specifically designed for recording information about implementation.
  • Strategic planning: Whether at the policy or administrative level, strategic planning can be greatly informed by the checklists. Each checklist provides a framework for developing a thorough, long-term plan for reducing recidivism.
  • Oversight: For corrections and community supervision administrators or reentry coordinators overseeing reentry initiatives, the checklists can be used as a tool for periodically auditing reentry efforts across the department.

Project Background

The recidivism reduction checklists build upon the December 8, 2011 State Leaders’ Forum on Reentry and Recidivism. During this forum, state leaders began developing recidivism reduction goals, designing plans to achieve those goals, and identifying ways to track progress.

In a follow-up survey with forum participants, it became clear that state leaders would benefit from additional guidance on best practices and tools for enhancing communication with policymakers, state corrections directors, and reentry staff. The recidivism reduction checklists are designed to meet those needs.

Webinar: The Recidivism Reduction Checklists: A Resource for State Leaders and Corrections Agencies, National Reentry Resource Center

During this webinar, a distinguished panel of state corrections directors, policy staff, and state reentry coordinators discussed the content of the checklists, as well as ways that state corrections administrators and their staff can use the checklists to bolster recidivism reduction efforts within their states. Watch a recording of the webinar.

Download a PDF of the PowerPoint slides used here.

Examples of how corrections and community supervision agencies can use the checklists:

  • Quarterly, the reentry coordinator updates the Checklist for State Reentry Coordinators by facility/department unit and briefs the corrections/community supervision director on the status of implementation.
  • Semi-annually, the corrections/community supervision director and reentry coordinator use the Checklist for State Corrections and Community Supervision Administrators to assess key areas that need to be enhanced through department-wide policy changes.
  • Annually or as needed, the corrections/community supervision director and reentry coordinator use the Checklist for Legislative and Executive Policymakers to brief the governor’s staff and members of the legislature on progress with implementation and any policy or budgetary needs.

Where can I get additional information?


On April 16, 2012, a group of corrections directors, state policymakers, and researchers came together to discuss strategies for addressing the challenges identified during the December 8, 2011, Statewide Recidivism Reduction Forum. The recidivism reduction checklists were conceptualized through this collaborative discussion as a way to help states continue the dialogue around recidivism reduction and implement concrete plans for meeting the goals set during the forum.

The Recidivism Reduction Checklists were developed by the National Reentry Resource Center, which is operated by the CSG Justice Center and funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) served as a key partner in the conceptualization, development, and dissemination of the recidivism reduction checklists. 

iThe Council of State Governments, “Report of the Re-Entry Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community” (New York: The Council of State Governments, January 2005). 

ii The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety: Addressing Recidivism, Crime, and Corrections Spending” (New York: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, January 2011). 

iii The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “A Ten-Step Guide to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism” (New York: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2011) 

ivCenter for Effective Public Policy, “Increasing Public Safety through Successful Offender Reentry: Evidence-based and Emerging Practices in Corrections” (Silver Spring: Center for Effective Public Policy, 2007).

vThe Urban Institute, “Putting Public Safety First: 13 Parole Supervision Strategies to Enhance Reentry Outcomes” (Washington: The Urban Institute, December 2008).