Each year more than 700,000 individuals are released from prisons nationwide. Among released prisoners, younger males with extensive criminal histories are often at greatest risk of future recidivism. Social control theories suggest that employment helps prevent criminal activity by providing individuals with legitimate ties to conventional society. However social capital theorists argue that the interpersonal relationships individuals form through employment can aid desistance from criminal behavior. Using a multistate longitudinal design, Visher and colleagues found that former prisoners who worked more weeks and had higher earnings the first few months after release were likely to be incarcerated 1 and 3 years after release. Results from previous evaluation efforts have shown that such employment programs have limited ability to reduce recidivism. Meta-analyses of employment programs for former prisoners have found little if any effect on post-prison criminal activity. The evaluation of the New York City based Center for Employment Opportunities is particularly relevant and important. The program is designed to help former prisoners obtain earnings and work experience soon after release and to obtain permanent unsubsidized employment, in order to improve long term recidivism outcomes. The long term random assignment is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human services and the U.S. Department of Labor. The evaluation led by MDRC and the urban institute, assesses the impact of CEO on employment and recidivism for program participants compared with control group participants. The CEO Program Evaluation
The goal of the CEO program model is to provide former prisoners with: a. Immediate work and pay through a day labor approach
b. Necessary work experience for finding more permanent jobs c. A way to build work related soft skills
The focus is not on training clients, but instead it provides participants the...