Engaging Black and Latino men in recovery-based reentry programming

Type: Poster Presentation
Date: November 2023


Ranjani K. Paradise, Clarissa Dias, Benjamin Goldberg, Andres Hoyos-Cespedes, Sarah Jalbert, Laura McElherne, Katie Zafft. “Engaging Black and Latino men in recovery-based reentry programming ”. Presented at the 2023 AMERSA Conference (poster presentation). Washington, DC.


Background – In Massachusetts, the opioid overdose death rate is significantly higher for formerly-incarcerated people than for non-incarcerated people. Furthermore, overdose death rates in MA increased in recent years for Black and Hispanic/Latino men, surpassing the rate for White men.  

Objective – The Recovery-Based Reentry Services for Black and Latino Men (BLM) pilot program aims to provide culturally-responsive, person-centered support to improve the health and wellbeing of people who have high risk of opioid overdose and death. 

Methods – The focus population is Black and Latino men with substance use history who are re-entering/have re-entered the community from a MA House of Corrections (HOC). The program has five community-based pilot sites (“providers”). All providers employ care coordinators who share lived experiences and/or identities with the clients served. Providers recruit and engage clients pre- and post- release, develop individual service plans, provide care coordination and supported referrals, and organize community-building activities.  

An external evaluation team co-developed a mixed methods evaluation in collaboration with providers and clients, which includes analysis of intake, enrollment, and service-tracking data; and semi-structured qualitative interviews with providers and clients. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and qualitative themes were identified using Framework Analysis. 

Results: In Year 1, providers enrolled 248 clients, of whom 28% identified as non-Hispanic Black and 70% identified as Hispanic/Latino. Clients had an average of 9 contacts with providers over the year.  Providers encountered challenges working with HOCs to do pre-release recruitment; utilizing staff with HOC experience or connections, prioritizing communication, and developing streamlined processes helped overcome challenges. Community outreach and partnership development facilitated post-release recruitment. Staff with lived experience who are from the communities served were critical for effective engagement; however, providers described challenges with staff recruitment and retention. Providers’ emphasis on community, relationships, individualized services, client choice, flexibility, accessibility, accountability, patience, and non-judgment helped build trust and facilitate engagement.  

Conclusions: The BLM pilot program has been able to recruit and engage Black and Latino men in recovery-based reentry services. This program’s successes and challenges can inform the development of programs in other settings that seek to engage a similar population. 

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