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Re-entry & Second Chances

Re-entry. Not repeat.

A criminal record—even for a minor offense—can become a life sentence of blocked opportunities, endless poverty, and repeat justice system involvement. 

Without effective re-entry and Second Chance systems, the cycle continues—crime, incarceration, re-entry, repeat—undermining community safety, family structures, security, and opportunities for economic prosperity.  

Re-entry services—like housing, substance use services, and job support—are most effective when evidence-based. Likewise, initiatives to clear criminal records, as well as second chance hiring programs, function best when based on facts and figures.  

Our data and resources support efforts to provide pathways for all people to move past their worst mistakes.

Read our research, explore our projects, and use our model tools—we’re here to help.

Black people are incarcerated 3 times more than white people in North Carolina.
Nearly half of all us children have a parent with a criminal record.
US loses $87 billion a year in economic output due to criminal records
About 70 million adult Americans have a criminal record.

Explore our Measuring Justice Dashboard to uncover patterns, evaluate your county, and drill down on specific areas.


Start out strong

The first step in any effort: understand the problem. Our legal and empirical research helps unpack the system’s complexities. Our work organizes data, pinpoints opportunities, and summarizes end results—because the more you know about an issue, the more effectively you can solve it.

Employment Outcomes after Prison


North Carolina Freedom to Work Act & Professional Licensure
Briefing Paper

Pilot projects

Find what’s working

Right now in North Carolina, we’re helping stakeholders—including law enforcement leaders, court officials, county leaders, and others—develop and implement effective reforms. Our work informs policy choices, helping stakeholders innovate solutions and evaluate outcomes. Explore these projects to see what’s possible.

Interested in a re-entry and second chances project? Let's connect.

Ready-to-Use Roadmaps

Get up and running

Our legal and evidence-based tools—forms, flowcharts, templates, implementation plans, and more—help you tailor your approach to your community. Whether you need a single court appearance tool or a comprehensive model bail policy, we have the roadmaps to support you.

The Business Case for Second Chance Hiring


Explore the re-entry & second chances toolbox

Find what you need—or discover new pathways—by drawing from our extensive collection of reports, projects, research, data dashboards, and much more.

“Research, scholarship, and data will help local leaders keep communities safe while honoring the dignity of each person touched by the justice system. We are excited to continue to support UNC’s Criminal Justice Innovation Lab in its mission to help improve public safety and strengthen communities.”