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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Reentry, Probation and Parole

Issues and resources related to persons or individuals with prior justice system involvement as well as those currently on probation, parole or other community or correctional supervision and their social, cultural, economic and physical reintegration int

Know What You Need

Know what you need:

State your topic in one sentence.  This helps to identify keywords/phrases to describe your topic.

How many pages do you need to fulfill your assignment?  Knowing how many pages you need to fulfil your assignment helps to determine how much information and how many sources you will need.

How many and what kind of sources are required?  Has your professor stated exactly how many and what type of sources you need?  This information will help you choose a database and also limit your search to those types of sources you need whether it be scholarly journals, books, newspapers, and/or statistics.

Reentry Defined

Prisoner reentry centers on an individual's return to family, community and society after incarceration.

An era of mass incarceration along with America's shift in sentencing policy have led to a reduction in both prison rehabilitation and parole programs. More prisoners are completing full sentences in prison, and being released with little or no legal or social support or supervision on the outside. As Jeremy Travis states in But They All Come Back, this reality of mass incarceration has translated into a reality of reentry (2005, p.xx). Record numbers of inmates are being released with minimal to no preparation behind bars or support services in their communities to make it on the outside.

Thus, criminal justice experts, academicians, policy makers, and practitioners have turned their focus to prisoners returning to society, or what has become known as "prisoner reentry" or the issues related to a prisoner's release from incarceration to his or her reintegration into their families, communities and society at large. A focus on reentry encourages the coordination of programs, services, and human resources--both inside and outside prison walls--in order to ensure the successful assimilation of prisoners into new lives, roles, jobs, families and communities.

Parole and Probation Defined

Parole, according to West's Encyclopedia of American Law is defined as,

The conditional release of a person convicted of a crime prior to the expiration of that person's term of imprisonment, subject to both the supervision of the correctional authorities during the remainder of the term and a resumption of the imprisonment upon violation of the conditions imposed.

Probation, according to West's Encyclopedia of American Law, is defined as,

A sentence whereby a convict is released from confinement but is still under court supervision; a testing or a trial period. Probation can be given in lieu of a prison term or can suspend a prison sentence if the convict has consistently demonstrated good behavior. The status of a convicted person who is given some freedom on the condition that for a specified period he or she act in a manner approved by a special officer to whom the person must report.

Things to Consider

Reentry, probation and parole encompass a wide array of issues with questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and/or age of prime interest.

Use the following keywords/phrases (either separately or in any combination using the word "and" to connect more than one) in developing a successful research strategy to find books, magazines, journals and/or online sources:




prisoner deinstitutionalization

employment and criminal record


public safety


mental illness

substance abuse

family violence



victims' rights

*reentry is sometimes spelled with a hyphen as re-entry; Try both spellings.