Reentry Programs and Initiatives

Reentry Programs and Initiatives

Assessment and Case Planning

DOC uses the Northpointe Suite for criminogenic risk and needs assessments and unified case planning. This actuarial risk assessment system contains offender information specifically designed to determine their risk and needs and inform dynamic case plans that will guide the offender throughout his or her lifecycle in the criminal justice system. The lifecycle is a framework for how an offender moves through the Wisconsin criminal justice system and the decision points informed by COMPAS along the way. From the time of arrest through eventual discharge, DOC will use the lifecycle as a framework for establishing meaningful practices and interventions across jurisdictions.


Career and Technical Education Initiatives (CTE) - Academies and Mobile Labs

In order to strengthen and enhance employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals returning to their communities after incarceration, the DOC provides prerelease employment and training programs to persons in our care by contracting with local Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) member colleges. These training academies can occur on the WTCS campus or within the DOC facility utilizing mobile classrooms to deliver high demand trainings. These trainings result in the individual earning a technical diploma or certificate and many of the programs have been approved by the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards as certified pre-apprenticeship programs.

Job Labs

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and various Workforce Development Boards (WDB) to provide prerelease employment services to persons who will release within 30 to 45 days. These job labs are by DWD, DOC and WDB staff to provide direct services to Persons in Our Care (PIOC) including: career readiness programs, job search assistance, resume development, services for veterans, pre-apprenticeship programs, registered apprenticeship programs, referrals to other services, interviewing skills, connection to employers, and assistance for individuals with disabilities. The DOC operates 10 institution-based job labs and one mobile job lab for PIOC while incarcerated. The DOC in partnership with DWD will be opening job labs at Division of Community Corrections locations in 2024.

Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS)

The Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS) Program is a Department of Corrections program provided in partnership with the Department of Health Services (DHS). The OARS program serves individuals released from prison with serious mental illness and who are assessed at moderate or high risk of committing new crimes. The program provides intensive case management and housing while linking participants to psychiatric treatment and other individualized needs. Program staff works closely with participants to address the drivers of participants’ criminal behavior, interrupting cyclical incarceration. The vision of the OARS program is to enhance public safety and risk reduction by supporting the successful transition, recovery, and self-sufficiency of clients with significant mental health needs as they reintegrate into the community.

DHS OARS Website

Public Benefits (Medicaid and Social Security)


The Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Health Services (DHS), and Income Maintenance (IM) agencies partner to provide individuals in DOC custody the opportunity to apply for Medicaid before release from incarceration. Individuals leaving prison with Medicaid approval can access medications and treatment for acute and chronic medical conditions, mental illness, and substance use disorders upon release.

Please see the Annual Reports Tab to the Left to view Medicaid Report Data

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Benefits

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pre-release program is intended to help people being discharged from a correctional facility make the transition to the community and expedite the processing of SSI pre-release applicants. Institution staff assist eligible clients applying for SSI prior to release. Social Security handles enrollment for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (Medicaid Insurance).

SSA Website: Benefits After Incarceration: What you Need to Know?

Medicare at a Glance

Reentry Legal Services (RLS)

The RLS program provides access to civil legal services as individuals prepare to be released from prison. The Department of Corrections (DOC) contracts with Legal Action of Wisconsin, a nonprofit civil legal aid firm, to facilitate RLS. Legal Action of Wisconsin attorneys represent individuals in DOC custody applying to, or seeking reinstatement of, Social Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through the Social Security Administration (SSA). RLS attorneys also provide support with legal concerns surrounding housing, employment programs, and other issues that impact a client’s successful community reintegration.

Additionally, RLS paralegals provide pre-release Medicaid application assistance at select institutions.

Legal Action of Wisconsin Website

Windows to Work (W2W)

Windows to Work is a pre- and post-release program designed to address criminogenic needs that can lead to recidivism, including: employment, education, anti-social cognition, anti-social personality, and anti-social companions. DOC contracts with each of Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Boards (WDB) to provide programs at selected state correctional institutions or county jail facilities in each Workforce Development Board Area.

Pre-Release Services Both individual and group participation begins approximately three to twelve months prior to release from incarceration. The Windows to Work Coach provides participants with classroom training in core curriculum content areas: 1) Cognitive Intervention, 2) General Work Skills and Expectations, 3) Financial Literacy, 4) Community Resources, 5) Job Seeking, Applications, and Resumes. In coordination with the institution social worker and/or community corrections agent, individual release/case planning takes place. Coaches use a variety of assessment tools to assist in determining skill level and career path choices.

Post-Release Services In coordination with the Division of Community Corrections agent, Coaches assist participants with job search and job retention activities for approximately a year after release from incarceration. Participants may receive additional assistance in accessing available community resources to address needs for food, shelter, clothing, transportation and other services depending on the Board Area’s funding.

DAI and DCC Programs and Services

The Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) and the Division of Community Corrections (DCC) offer programs and services for clients and persons in our care. Please follow the links below to see additional information on these programs and services.

DAI Programs and Services

DCC Programs and Services