Washington State

Institute for Criminal Justice


Removing Release Impediments: Evaluation of Washington State's Housing Voucher Program
Hamilton, Kigerl, & Hays

Two correctional motives have intertwined in recent years, the desire to reduce incarceration in the United States and the fiscal constraints impacting correctional systems. Simple, evidence-based practices that are focused on rehabilitation and reentry have increased in popularity and have been broadly implemented in a joint effort to reduce reentry issues associated with recidivism and correctional costs. Homelessness is a persistent problem facing prisoners returning to the community. Many inmates were homeless prior to their incarceration, and often return to homelessness after release. The Washington State Department of Corrections’ Housing Voucher Program (HVP) is a reentry program that pays a returning offender’s rent expenses in private housing for up to three months following release. The current study provides an impact evaluation and cost assessment of HVP. Findings demonstrate support for the program and indicate dramatic reductions in associated correctional costs.

Homelessness and Reentry: A Multisite Outcome Evaluation of Washington State’s Reentry Housing Program for High Risk Offenders
Lutze, Rosky, & Hamilton
In press (Criminal Justice & Behavior)

Nearly 700,000 offenders are released from prisons each year in the United States. Many of these offenders are released homeless and are at great risk of being returned to prison. To reduce the likelihood of recidivism, Washington State implemented the Reentry Housing Pilot Program (RHPP) in 2008 to provide housing assistance for up to one year to high risk/high need offenders leaving prisons without a viable place to live. This study provides a multisite outcome evaluation that considers how ex-offenders in the RHPP program, who were provided housing and wrap around services, compare to offenders who were released to homelessness, unstable housing, or stable housing while being traditionally supervised. The findings show that the RHPP program was successful in significantly reducing new convictions, revocations due to technical violations, and readmission to prison for new crimes. The authors recommend that subsidized housing for high risk offenders become a central part of coordinated responses to reentry. 

The Impact of Transfers between Prisons on Inmate Misconduct: Testing Importation,
Deprivation, and Transportation Models

Kigerl & Hamilton
Currently under review (Prison Journal)

The purpose of the present study was to propose and evaluate a new theory on inmate misconduct. Existing research has focused on whether importation characteristics (that describe inmates before admission to prison) and deprivation characteristics (the prison itself) influence misconduct. However, these theories do not account for inmate transfers between prisons. We formulate a new theory of inmate misconduct, termed transportation theory. Specifically, we examine whether or not characteristics of the preceding institution during a transfer influence misconduct in the receiving institution. A sample of 5,926 inmates transferred among 13 Washington State prisons was created to test the effects of importation, deprivation, and transportation theories. The results confirmed prior research indicating offender characteristics and institutional characteristics of the current facility influence misconduct. In addition, support was found for the new theory of transportation, predicting higher levels of misconduct for inmates transferred from larger institutions with higher infraction rates and to institutions with a different custody rating. The findings have implications for security when deciding to transfer inmates, as administrators must consider risk associated with where inmates are sent from as well as where they are sent.



Interview on Spokane Public Radio
February 17, 2014

Dr. Zachary Hamilton speaks concerning research to help reduce recidivism amongst prisoners by matching offenders with treatment programs that prove effective.

Dr. Zachary Hamiltonís presentation* to the Senate
Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee
January 16, 2014

Work Session: Department of Corrections reports to the Legislature, Prison capacity with the Department of Corrections: Overview of capacity and current populations, Justice reinvestment, Report on the Risk Needs Responsivity Project, Status of community
* Dr. Hamilton's presentation begins at 55:30






























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