The Second Chance Center: A Program Evaluative Research Project
Another crucial learning experience for me during my time at DU occurred during the Winter quarter of 2017, when I took Political Inquiry with Professor Elizabeth Sperber, a member of the Political Science Department at DU and my research mentor. In this course, we set out to develop effective research strategies and skills in the context of real-world political science research. We conducted content analyses on the transcripts of focus groups in which the participants were formerly incarcerated individuals attempting to reintegrate into society, expanded our qualitative data analysis skills, and grapple with mechanisms for data interpretation.
This coursework in my Political Inquiry course allowed me to analyze the biases present in prisoner reentry programming and conduct qualitative research regarding the efficacy of a new and innovative type of program. I had the opportunity to read firsthand accounts from formerly incarcerated individuals and was exposed to the biases that they must face even after they have been released. These data were collected via focus groups conducted at the Second Chance Center, a new and innovative prisoner reentry program in Aurora, Colorado. This project, as a whole, was made possible by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at the University of Denver.
I began to understand the ways in which these biases can be mitigated and how programming can address the discrimination and prejudices that these men and women face. For this reason, I include several of the different documents that I produced for this course below. Each of these documents helped to shape my public identity as I was exposed to a real-world, concrete application of research-informed policy. It was the first time that I realized that research, the power of creating and collecting and refining knowledge, truly can instigate change for the better.
Below, you will find a series of documents from this extended research project. My work on this project extended beyond the quarter during which I took the course, and I am pleased to include a final evaluative report that I helped write and edited. Photos from the evaluation presentation that was given for Second Chance Center leaders and a video from Hassan Latif, the founder of the Second Chance Center, are also included.
Upon completing our preliminary evaluation, we presented our key findings and recommendations for capacity building to the founder, staff members, and selective clients of the Second Chance Center. This experience was incredibly fulfilling, as staff members expressed immense gratitude for the work that we had done and we had the opportunity to see our research making real change on those in attendance. This picture was taken during my portion of the presentation, during which I discussed the challenges to reentry and the needs of reentering prisoners.
Learn More about the Second Chance Center!
The Second Chance Center has become an organization near and dear to my heart and I fully believe in their innovative approach to prisoner reentry. To learn more about the program, and to meet their inspirational founder, Hassan Latif, take a look at the video below, produced by the Second Chance Center!
My research topics of interest:
- Prisoner Reentry Programming
- Challenges of the reentry process
- Allocation and provision of resources to fomerly incarcerated individuals
On this page:
A portion of an evaluative presentation given at a meeting which staff members and founders of the Second Chance Center attended
A set of files and data analyses informing our final evaluative report
A photo from the presentation given for staff members of the Second Chance Center
Our final evaluative report produced for the Second Chance Center
A video produced by the Second Chance Center introducing their models and goals