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Module 4: Data-Driven Understanding of Local Reentry

This visual indicates where Data-Driven Understanding of Local Reentry fits in the TJC model.

Data-Driven understanding of local reentry

Welcome to Data-Driven Understanding of Local Reentry. This module provides you with information on the essential role reliable data play in successfully transitioning people from jail to the community.

Sheriffs, directors, department heads, and commissioners all make dozens of decisions that commit resources, impact working conditions, and set in motion programs that will be in place for years to come. These decisions have the power to affect people's lives for good or for bad, so it is obviously important that they are based on the best information possible. 1

—Captain Randy Demory, Kent County Sheriff's Office,
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We all know that agencies within or related to corrections collect all types of information or data. For our purposes, we simply want you to ask yourself what information you need to develop effective jail transition interventions. What do you need to know about the jail population and their needs, and about the capacity of existing programs to meet those needs?

Before you begin, ask yourself how often your agency uses data to

  • Improve your understanding of the risk and needs of people transitioning from jail to the community.
  • Determine the resources available and accessible to meet their needs.
  • Help develop strategic initiative plans.
  • Monitor the success of the transition process.
  • Allocate your resources wisely to realize the best possible organizational/system outcomes.

By the end of this section, you'll understand the importance of using a data-driven approach to inform your decisions and shape your responses. You will also begin to identify what data or information might be helpful to inform and evaluate your efforts.  

This module has five sections and will take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.

Recommended audience for this module

  • Sheriffs
  • Jail administrators
  • Correction officers
  • Jail treatment staff
  • Classification and intake staff
  • Community corrections staff
  • Reentry coordinators
  • Community providers
  • Judges and Officers of the Court
  • Social service providers
  • Probation officers
  • Pretrial services staff
  • County board members
  • Criminal justice council members
  • Funders
  • Local legislators
  • Information technology staff working on the development of data systems

This module also includes a list of resources after each section to help in the process.

Module Objectives

In this module, you will have the opportunity to explore the importance of using a data-driven approach when implementing the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) model in your community.

This module helps you to use data to examine key questions about reentry:

  • What do we need to know about our jail population to improve transition to the community?
  • How can we get that information?
  • What are the key outcomes we need to track?

This module has five sections:

  1. The Role of Data in a Reentry Effort
  2. Data Collection
  3. Management Information Systems
  4. Mining the Data
  5. Terms Used in the Field

By the end of this module, you will be able to

  • Explain the importance of a data-driven approach to the TJC model.
  • Identify the elements in a data collection process.
  • Recognize the barriers to data collection.
  • Discuss the benefits of a management information system.

Download Module 4 in PDF format

1 Randy Demory, “Measuring What Matters,” Large Jail Network Bulletin (Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections, 2001), p. 3.