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US Department of Labor and Mathematica Release Report on Reentry Employment Support for Returning Ci

Supporting Reentry Employment and Success: A Summary of the Evidence for Adults and Young Adults

For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Labor has supported a system of reentry services for people who are released from an incarceration facility by committing substantial funding toward programs serving justice-involved youth and adults under the Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program. The overarching aim of the REO program is to improve employment outcomes and workforce readiness for the people with prior justice involvement through employment services, case management, and other supportive services, including legal services.

Mathematica, with its partner, Social Policy Research Associates, was contracted by the Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office to design and conduct an evaluation to build evidence about effective strategies and approaches being implemented as part of the REO grant program. The goal of the impact evaluation was to understand how the REO program affects the outcomes of participants.

The research brief reviews research on employment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and case management models for justice-involved adults and young adults and finds:

  • Most prior studies of adult employment reentry programs do not consistently show effects due to variation in program models, implementation quality, and study designs.

  • Reentry programs specifically tailored to young adults often include job training or employment support, but evidence of employment impacts is limited.

  • CBT interventions reduce recidivism for justice-involved adults, but impacts on young adults and on employment outcomes are unknown.

  • The ongoing REO evaluation (2017-2022) has the potential to provide evidence on strategies to reduce recidivism and increase employment for justice-involved individuals.

To read the full report, click here.

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