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The Well-Being Development Model: A Theoretical Model to Improve Outcomes among Criminal Justice System–Involved Individuals

As mass incarceration in the United States gives way to smart decarceration, barriers abound for the formerly incarcerated and recidivism remains a common problem. How can reentry services give formerly incarcerated individuals the best shot at successfully reintegrating into society?

This study proposes a new framework—the Well-Being Development Model (WBDM)—to guide the development, delivery, and evaluation of reentry services and supports. Noting that the best chances for successful reentry come from shifting away from deficits-centered approaches, the authors identify ways to build well-being development into current reentry models and to address disparities in the criminal-justice system. The new model, they suggest, “allows individuals to develop well-being while policy makers promote public health and public safety and work toward racial and economic equity.”

Project: Decarceration


Pettus, C., Veeh, C. A., Renn, T. R., & Kennedy, S. C. (2021). The Well-Being Development Model: A theoretical model to improve outcomes among criminal justice system–involved individuals. Social Service Review, 95(2), 413–468. https://doi.org/10.1086/715852