Prison Work-Release Programs and Incarcerated Women's Labor Market Outcomes
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Our analysis finds that regardless of whether women complete their term in an ATC, the longer an inmate spends at an ATC, they accumulate more earnings and experience higher probability of being employed during the time in an ATC. However, after incarceration, the labor market outcomes of ATC assignees (ATC completers and dropouts) incarcerated in Illinois state prison do not improve. Among ATC assignees, only those women who complete their term in an ATC experience earnings and employment gains as a result of their time in the ATC. For them these gains are also proportional to their time spent at the ATC. We interpret this finding as being consistent with the human capita theory of skill formation and job experience. Time in an ATC is valuable both to parolees and to society, because of the work related skills that they acquire.
By contrast, those who drop out from the ATCs and have to return to prison prior to their paroles see no improvement in their post-incarceration earnings and employment as a result of their time in an ATC. These dropouts are different than dropouts from an employment and training program. In this study, women dropout because of a rule infraction at the ATC and are forced to return to prison from where they are paroled. Although we know of no evidence that employers are aware of these failures, their post-prison labor market earnings and employment rates are depressed relative to ATC parolees as well as other paroles from minimum security facilities and in the long run even relative to their pre-prison employment rates.