Individuals who have been incarcerated face many challenges when seeking to reenter the job market after their release from prison. This report outlines and evaluates the results of the Center for Employment Opportunity program in assisting former prisoners at improving their job prospects and reducing the likelihood they will return to prison.
Transitional job programs may provide help and hope to former prisoners
Findings & Stats
Program participants who joined CEO within three months after their release from prison had a 16 to 22% lower rate of arrest, conviction or incarceration compared to the control group.
High Risk, High Reward
Sample group members deemed to be at highest risk of recidivism experienced the strongest positive results from CEO; the rate of convictions for new crimes dropped nearly 13 points for those with four or more prior convictions.
The estimated net benefit to taxpayers of the CEO program was around $8,300 per participant for those who enrolled within three months of release from prison; the net benefit to taxpayers for all program participants was $4,100 per participant.
Statements & Quotations
Even when the most conservative assumptions are applied simultaneously, CEO appears to be a cost-effective option. Under a wide range of assumptions, the program generates between $1.26 and $3.85 in benefits per $1.00 of cost.
One hypothesis for why the CEO model produced stronger impacts on recidivism than the TJRD models is that the CEO model — particularly its small work crews — encouraged a mentoring type of relationship to develop between participants and CEO staff, particularly work site supervisors. Survey results show that program group members were more likely than control group members to feel connected with staff. The work crew model also gives participants the opportunity to interact with peers in a positive environment, which may have affected their attitudes and behaviors.
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