Panel: Providing Services Pre- and Post-Release to Improve Employment and Other Outcomes for People with Justice Involvement
(Crime, Justice, and Drugs)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
8226 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Megan E. Lizik, U.S. Department of Labor
Discussants:  Christy Visher, University of Delaware

Key Findings from the Impact Evaluation of the Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Program
Ronald D’Amico and Christian Geckeler, Social Policy Research Associates

Successes and Challenges in Jail-Based American Job Center Service Provision: Findings from the Department of Labor’s Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release Evaluation
Samina Sattar1, Alix Gould-Werth2, Ivette Gutierrez3, Jennifer Henderson-Frakes3 and Jillian Stein1, (1)Mathematica Policy Research, (2)Washington Center for Equitable Growth, (3)Social Policy Research Associates

Urban Institute’s Fatherhood Reentry Implementation Evaluation
Jocelyn Fontaine and Lindsey Cramer, Urban Institute

In the United States, over two million people are incarcerated in jails and prisons, and most will return to the community. Former inmates face serious obstacles to successful re-entry: difficulty finding employment, housing, transportation, and health care. Many face challenges reuniting with their families.

To overcome these re-entry challenges, some service providers use a promising linked service model: service provision begins during incarceration and continues after release. Linked services allow participants to develop relationships with service providers, who begin addressing participant needs during incarceration and help participants prepare for release. Federal agencies have funded a number of pilot programs incorporating linked service provision.

This panel presents quantitative and qualitative evidence describing the challenges associated with re-entry and shares best practices from federally-funded initiatives that used linked service provision to address them.

The panel’s first paper uses a novel dataset: over 8,000 real-time, self-reported observations obtained via smartphone from men returning from prison. Naomi Sugie will present her findings which reveal patterns of employment challenges at re-entry. Her study shows that respondents typically abandon searches for formal employment and instead maintain a state of sporadic/temporary work, setting the stage for the following papers, which evaluate pre- and post-release employment-focused interventions.

The second paper describes a randomized control trial of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Program. Participants assigned to the SCA group received pre-and post-release case management, education and training, employment assistance, and other supportive services from SCA grantees including state departments of corrections, social services, and other local government agencies. Christian Geckeler will present on the recidivism, employment, and earnings findings from this impact study, discuss how program factors may have influenced the observed impacts, and explain what the results suggest about designing effective re-entry programs.

The third paper presents findings from an implementation study of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) grants. Twenty local workforce investment boards used LEAP funding to pilot jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) that support the successful reentry of participants and directly link them to community-based AJCs upon release. Samina Sattar will discuss findings in three areas that emerged as crucial aspects of providing linked services in the jail context: strengthening participant engagement, communicating about transitions to the community, and data coordination between jail and workforce entities.

The final paper draws from the evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families’ Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects, which provide soon-to-be and recently released fathers and their families with responsible parenting, healthy relationship, and economic stability services. Jocelyn Fontaine will describe the programs’ approaches to implementing economic stability services and their successes and challenges delivering employment readiness activities.

Expert discussant Christy Visher, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware, will bring the findings of these four papers into conversation with each other and the current re-entry landscape.

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