Evaluation of the Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Program: Interim Report

| Sengsouvanh (Sukey) Leshnick, Christian Geckeler, Andrew Wiegand, Brandon Nicholson, Kimberly Foley

The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) initiative was launched in 2005 as a joint initiative by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, and the Department of Justice. RExO was set up to strengthen urban communities heavily affected by the challenges associated with high numbers of prisoners seeking to re-enter their communities following the completion of their sentences.

In June 2009, ETA contracted with Social Policy Research Associates, and its subcontractors MDRC and the National Opinion Research Center, to conduct a random assignment impact evaluation of the 24 RExO grantees that had been in operation for more than three years. A critical component of this evaluation is an implementation study, which includes two rounds of site visits to each of the 24 RExO grantees and alternative providers in their communities.

This report summarizes the key findings from this implementation study, including findings on the community context and general structure of the RExO grantees; their recruitment, intake, and enrollment strategies; the random assignment process itself; the services RExO grantees and their partners provide; the specific partnerships in place to provide services; and the services available through alternative providers (to which comparison group members were referred) in the 24 communities. The report provides some context for the upcoming impact analysis by presenting information about the labor market situation in the 24 communities in which programs operated and about the major barriers facing ex-offenders.