In this article, the authors share the findings from their study of inter-agency collaboration in reentry efforts in "hot spot" communities in Massachusetts.
The authors argue that reentry has evolved into a coordinated effort that requires communication and collaboration among multiple agencies and service providers with a prior history of working in isolation. Based on this theory, they conducted a study to examine the relationships between the various agencies that play a role in prisoner reentry, using relational coordination theory and tools to measure the extent to which agencies coordinated work through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect. The research focused on "hot spot" communities in Massachusetts, where high numbers of individuals return to the community from correctional facilities. The findings demonstrated that there were closer working relationships between various criminal justice agencies than between those agencies and service providers. Interestingly, their research did not demonstrate that improved inter-agency relationships reduced recidivism in all situations. Finally, the researchers concluded that using relational coordination theory to explore relationship patterns among reentry stakeholders that may affect recidivism is an effective methodology that can be applied to conduct further research both in Massachusetts and in other jurisdictions.