A new issue brief from PPA shares findings from its evaluation of the I-CAN mentoring program, conducted by Fortune Society in partnership with the New York City Department of Corrections, between 2016 and 2020.

The I-CAN mentoring program exceeded its target for reduced recidivism, with 67% of participants not being rearrested within 12 months of release from jail. While the study did not find statistically significant impacts on employment, housing, or substance-use outcomes among participants compared to the control group, there were promising results in all three areas. Key lessons from the program’s implementation study included:

  • The need for mentors of diverse backgrounds—at least some of whom had justice-involved experience.
  • Adding mentoring to existing reentry services had a positive impact on increasing post-release service uptake among I-CAN participants.
  • A focus on removing barriers was helpful, from the time of release from jail and onward.
  • Mentoring needed to be flexible to facilitate participant engagement in services.

The study highlighted the importance of building in program data tracking or data sharing across agencies to support evaluation and the advantages and disadvantages of randomized controlled trials studying innovations to social service programs.

To learn more about PPA’s work on criminal and juvenile justice, contact Robb Burroughs, Director of Justice Policy, at 517-485-4477 or rburroughs@publicpolicy.com.