Reducing Recidivism and Increasing Opportunity
Benefits and Costs of the RecycleForce Enhanced Transitional Jobs Program
RecycleForce, a social enterprise that provides electronic recycling services in Indianapolis, was one of seven sites that received funding and was evaluated as part of the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD), sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor. RecycleForce provided subsidized jobs at a recycling plant to formerly incarcerated men and women. In addition to placing participants in jobs where they learned work skills in the recycling business, the program provided them with case management, peer mentorships, job development (outreach to employers), and assistance with issues related to child support orders and arrears.
This brief provides analysis of the financial benefits and costs of RecycleForce’s ETJD program. The overall benefits to society from RecycleForce — from reduced recidivism and increased employment — outweighed program costs by about $2,200 per person. The benefit-cost ratio for the program from society’s perspective was 1.20; that is, for every dollar invested in RecycleForce, $1.20 was generated. Participants benefited from increased earnings, while potential victims of crime benefited from reduced victimization. From the government’s perspective, the benefits of the program did not outweigh the cost of operating the program. However, there may have been additional benefits that were not quantified as part of this analysis.