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[I]mproving rehabilitation programs and reentry outcomes doesn’t just help formerly incarcerated individuals; it’s also good for our communities as a whole. - Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Northern District of Texas

Smart on Crime

In 2013, The Justice Department launched a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that would ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently. As a result of the review, the Smart on Crime Initiative was developed and implemented. Smart on Crime focuses on Prevention, Enforcement and Prisoner Re-entry into communities. In addition, five principles were identified as part of this review.

The Five Principles of Smart on Crime:

1. Prioritize Prosecutions to Focus on the Most Serious of Cases

2. Reform Sentencing to Eliminate Unfair Disparities and Reduce Overburdened Prisons

3. Pursue Alternatives to Incarceration for Low-Level, Non-Violent Crimes

4. Improve Reentry to Curb Repeat Offenses and Re-Victimization

5. Surge Resources to Violence Prevention and Protecting the Most Vulnerable Populations

Reentry programs and reentry courts are designed to help returning citizens successfully "reenter" society following their incarceration, thereby reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and saving money.

A primary focus of our reentry efforts is to remove or reduce barriers to successful reentry, so that motivated individuals - who have served their time and paid their debt to society - are able to compete for a job, attain stable housing, support their children and their families, and contribute to their communities. 

Local Reentry Program

The Northern District of Texas supports viable prisoner reentry initiatives as means of promoting public safety. In coordination with federal, state and local agencies and community service providers, our goal is to reduce recidivism and keep our communities safe. The District is committed to reentry initiatives that will assist the formerly incarcerated population integrate successfully back into society.

Proactive Approach to Successful Supervision (P.A.S.S.) Court Program   

PASS (Proactive Approach for Successful Supervision) Court Program is collaboration between the District Court Judge, U.S. Probation, Federal Public Defenders office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The goal of the PASS Court Program is to identify the highest risk offenders early and provide an opportunity for them to work directly, and frequently with, the Federal Judge and other Court staff and service providers over a longer period of time, with more intense oversight and requirements to reduce the chance of re-arrest or revocation.

Offenders in the highest risk categories have an almost 50 percent recidivism rate. Our PASS Court Program increases the opportunity for success by addressing those factors that increase the likelihood of reoffending or violating supervision terms, leading to new convictions and/or revocation of supervision.

Those factors include: (1) history of anti-social behavior; (2) anti-social personality; (3) anti-social values and attitudes; (4) criminal/deviant peer associations; (5) substance abuse; and (6) dysfunctional family relationships.

The program goals are intended to help participants improve in problem areas like:  (a) substance abuse; (b) criminal thinking; (c) family relationships; and (d) peer associations.   Intervention within the PASS Court Program will assist those participating in the areas of substance abuse and mental health treatment, cognitive reasoning and skills training, education and literacy training, and employment and job skills training to help them improve in these areas, leading to a more law-abiding, self-sufficient, and productive lifestyle.

Federal Interagency Reentry Council (FIRC)

The FIRC, established by the Attorney General in January 2011, comprises 20 federal agencies representing a significant executive branch commitment to coordinating reentry efforts and advancing effective reentry policies. It is premised on the recognition that many federal agencies have a major stake in prisoner reentry.  Learn more

Reentry Issues

Public SafetyPublic Safety
Reentry improves public safety.  Approximately two million adults are incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. Nationally, two out of every three people released from state prisons are rearrested for a new offense and about half are reincarcerated within three years. Reducing recidivism is critical for increasing long-term public safety and lowering corrections costs.

Individuals who have been incarcerated can expect their future earnings to be reduced by about 40 percent after they return to their communities.   Reentry efforts seek to reduce barriers to employment so that people with past criminal involvement – after they have been held accountable and paid their dues – can compete for work opportunities.

There is often a lack of continuity in care from inside the prison to the community.  Reentry efforts can help ensure that the Affordable Care Act and other reforms will significantly increase access to appropriate physical and behavioral health interventions after release from incarceration. Substance abuse can be a significant impediment to successful reentry and a major health concern. Addressing the root causes of substance abuse leads to improved public safety.

Education is a core resource for release preparation, and is an evidence-based tool for reducing recidivism among adults and juveniles. Participation in education programming was associated with a 16 percent reduction in recidivism in one study. Education is also a critical building block for increasing employment opportunities.

Stable housing with appropriate supportive services is a key factor in preventing homelessness and reducing recidivism.  The goal is to reduce barriers to public and subsidized housing, and advance promising models that improve outcomes for people who repeatedly use corrections and homeless services.

Please visit the following resources for more information about reentry:

Resources for Employers

Work Opportunity Tax Credit  

Department of Labor Fidelity Bonding Program  

Resources for the Formerly Incarcerated

Reentry Directory

U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services – Texas Northern  


Resources for Community Groups

Reentry Toolkit for Faith-Based and Community Organizations

Related Resources

Reentry Mythbusters 

National Institute of Corrections (NIC): Offender Reentry/Transition  

National Reentry Resource Center  

What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse 

Federal Interagency Reentry Council


Updated April 15, 2016