Issues: Criminal and Juvenile Justice

Corrections and Reentry

Hundreds of thousands of people released from prisons and jails each year face daunting obstacles to successful reentry into their communities. MDRC is testing a range of interventions designed to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for those leaving incarceration. 

The Latest
Issue Focus

In this commentary, which originally appeared in The Crime Report, Sam Schaeffer and Ivonne Garcia describe how temporary cash grants provided by the Center for Employment Opportunities helped more than 10,000 returning citizens transition from prison during the pandemic. They also share findings about the program from MDRC’s recent study.

Report

In April 2020, the Center for Employment Opportunities launched the Returning Citizens Stimulus (RCS), a cash transfer program that offered financial support to people released from prison or jail. The findings in this report suggest that RCS may provide a promising model for smoothing reentry from incarceration.

Key Documents
Report

Final Results from the Evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Transitional Jobs Program

Ex-prisoners who had access to CEO’s transitional jobs program were less likely to be convicted of a crime and reincarcerated. The effects were particularly large for those ex-prisoners who enrolled in the program shortly after release. The recidivism reductions mean that the program is cost-effective — generating more in savings than it cost.

Report

Final Results from the Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration

Transitional jobs programs in four Midwestern cities substantially increased short-term employment by providing jobs to many ex-prisoners who would not otherwise have worked. However, the gains faded as men left the transitional jobs, and the programs did not increase unsubsidized employment nor did they reduce recidivism.

Report

Two-Year Impact Report

RExO increased the number and types of services received by participants and improved their self-reported labor market outcomes as well. But there is little evidence it had any impacts on recidivism or other outcomes. Further, the impacts on employment, while statistically significant, are quite small in practical terms.