An experimental evaluation of a nationally recognized employment-focused offender reentry program
- 1.3k Downloads
The need for re-entry assistance is widely acknowledged, but specifics about what services actually lead to reduced recidivism are hard to find—at least among rigorous studies. This is a critical issue: at a time when there appears to be unprecedented support for expanding rehabilitative programs for offenders, there is a dearth of rigorously vetted program options from which to choose.
Collaborating with a nationally known employment-focused reentry program in Southern California, the authors compared employment, housing, and recidivism outcomes of reentering offenders (n = 217) who were either randomized into the program or simply provided with a list of community resources. This approach was possible because the number of applicants at the time exceeded program capacity. Outcomes were based on self-report interviews conducted 1-year post-randomization and arrest records reflecting a 2-year follow-up period. The follow-up rate for interviews was 87 %.
No significant differences were found for any of the between-group comparisons on any of the major intervention outcomes.
Findings from the study suggest a greater need to apply randomized designs to more carefully evaluate current reentry efforts. Methodological challenges of field experiments are also discussed.
KeywordsExperiment Ex-offender Reentry Employment
This study was funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation (Grant No: 2008: 7752).
- Archibald, R. C. (2010, March 24). California, in financial crisis, opens prison doors. New York Times, A14.Google Scholar
- Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2011). Prisoners in 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice [NCJ 236096].Google Scholar
- Farabee, D., & Zhang, S. (2012). Effect-size inflation of post-hoc versus intent-to treat analyses of experimental offender interventions. Presented at the Stockholm Criminology Symposium, June 13, 2012. Stockholm, Sweden.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, E., & Western, B. (2007). Report on the evaluation of the ComALERT prisoner reentry program. Brooklyn: Kings County District Attorney’s Office.Google Scholar
- Langan, P. A., & Levin, D. J. (2002). Recidivism of prisoners released in 1994. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- Lattimore, P., & Visher, C. A. (2009). The multisite evaluation of SCORI: Summary and synthesis. Research Triangle Park: RTI International.Google Scholar
- Lattimore, P. K., Barrick, K., Cowell, A. J., Dawes, D., Steffey, D. M., Tueller, S. J., et al. (2012). Prisoner reentry services: What worked for SVORI evaluation participants? Prepared for National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
- Petersilia, J. (2006). Understanding California corrections. Irvine: California Policy Research Center, University of California, Irvine.Google Scholar
- Redcross, C., Bloom, D., Jacobs, E., Manno, M., Muller-Ravett, S., Seefeldt, K., et al. (2010). Work after prison: One-year findings from the transitional jobs reentry demonstration. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.Google Scholar
- Redcross, C., Millenky, M., Rudd, T., & Levshin, V. (2012). More than a job: Final results from the evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) transitional jobs program. OPRE report 2011–18. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/full_451.pdf.Google Scholar
- Sampson, R., & Laub, J. (1997). A life course theory of cumulative disadvantage and the stability of delinquency. Advances in Criminological Theory, 7, 133–161.Google Scholar
- Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Travis, J. (2005). But they all come back: Facing the challenges of prisoner reentry. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
- Wright, B. J., Zhang, S. X., Farabee, D., & Braatz, R. (2013). Prisoner reentry research from 2000 to 2010: results of a narrative review. Criminal Justice Review. doi: 10.1177/0734016813501192.