Issues: Criminal and Juvenile Justice


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
Working Paper

This study analyzes the per person cost of a subsidized employment program for enrollees in Minnesota’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families who could not otherwise find employment, and the costs of other services that all sample members may have received. The program’s primary goal was to move participants into unsubsidized employment.

Working Paper

A voluntary program in San Francisco arranged interviews for disadvantaged job-seekers and offered employers temporary wage subsidies to hire them. This study analyzes the one-year, per person program costs and the cost of non-program services, including education and training. The analysis indicates that the program was likely cost-beneficial from society’s perspective.

Key Documents

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.


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.


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.