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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Lynch, Mathew; Astone, Nan Marie ; Collazos, Juan; Lipman, Micaela; Esthappan, Sino
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This report evaluates the New York City-based Arches Transformative Mentoring program, finding that participation in the program reduces one-year felony reconviction by over two-thirds, and reduces two-year felony reconviction by over half, with especially profound impacts for the youngest program participants. The program's evidence-based curriculum is completed over a 6-12-month period and delivered in a group setting by "credible messengers," direct service professionals with backgrounds similar to the populations they serve. The evaluation recommends continuing and even growing the Arches program by tailoring the curriculum to align with participant experiences, providing more mentor training, offering opportunities for full-time employment, and expanding the program's length, alumni engagement, and age range. (Author abstract) 

    This report evaluates the New York City-based Arches Transformative Mentoring program, finding that participation in the program reduces one-year felony reconviction by over two-thirds, and reduces two-year felony reconviction by over half, with especially profound impacts for the youngest program participants. The program's evidence-based curriculum is completed over a 6-12-month period and delivered in a group setting by "credible messengers," direct service professionals with backgrounds similar to the populations they serve. The evaluation recommends continuing and even growing the Arches program by tailoring the curriculum to align with participant experiences, providing more mentor training, offering opportunities for full-time employment, and expanding the program's length, alumni engagement, and age range. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Looney, Adam; Turner, Nicholas
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The tax code provides subsidies for employers to hire ex-felons, to promote employment among low-income workers, and to encourage economic opportunity in distressed areas. These incentives are motivated to different degrees by a belief that economic opportunity facilitates successful reintegration of ex-felons and deters entry into crime. In this paper, we offer a more comprehensive view of the labor market opportunities of ex-prisoners in the U.S. by linking data from the entire prison population to earnings records over a sixteen year period. These data allow us to examine employment and earnings before and after release and, for younger prisoners, their family income and neighborhood in childhood. After release, only 55 percent of former prisoners have any earnings and those that do tend to earn less than the earnings of a full-time job at the minimum wage. However, their labor market struggles start earlier, with similarly high rates of joblessness prior to incarceration and with most prisoners growing up in deep poverty. For example, boys who were born into families in the...

    The tax code provides subsidies for employers to hire ex-felons, to promote employment among low-income workers, and to encourage economic opportunity in distressed areas. These incentives are motivated to different degrees by a belief that economic opportunity facilitates successful reintegration of ex-felons and deters entry into crime. In this paper, we offer a more comprehensive view of the labor market opportunities of ex-prisoners in the U.S. by linking data from the entire prison population to earnings records over a sixteen year period. These data allow us to examine employment and earnings before and after release and, for younger prisoners, their family income and neighborhood in childhood. After release, only 55 percent of former prisoners have any earnings and those that do tend to earn less than the earnings of a full-time job at the minimum wage. However, their labor market struggles start earlier, with similarly high rates of joblessness prior to incarceration and with most prisoners growing up in deep poverty. For example, boys who were born into families in the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution (families earning about $14,000 per year) are about 20 times more likely to be in prison in their 30s, compared to boys born into families in the top 10 percent (families earning more than $143,000 per year). A disproportionate share grew up in neighborhoods where child poverty rates are high, most parents are unmarried, few men are employed, and where most residents are African American or American Indian. The combination of high rates of incarceration and low employment rates among ex-prisoners implies that roughly one third of all not-working 30-year-old men are either in prison, in jail, or are unemployed former prisoners. We discuss the implications of these findings for the design of policies intended to encourage employment and rehabilitation of individuals with a criminal record. (Author abstract)  

  • Individual Author: Murphy, Lauren; Zief, Susan; Hulsey, Lara
    Reference Type: Report, Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2018

    Introduction

    This brief summarizes key characteristics of programs funded through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) that reported at least half of the youth they served were adjudicated youth. PREP, which aims to reduce teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and associated risk behaviors, is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is awarded to states and territories through formula grants (State PREP), and through a competitive process to tribes and tribal entities (Tribal PREP) and to direct service providers in states and territories that did not take State PREP funding (Competitive PREP).

    Purpose

    This brief is one in a series that will inform stakeholders and the public about the PREP program.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    Seventy-two programs across 24 states and territories reported primarily serving adjudicated youth. These...

    Introduction

    This brief summarizes key characteristics of programs funded through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) that reported at least half of the youth they served were adjudicated youth. PREP, which aims to reduce teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and associated risk behaviors, is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is awarded to states and territories through formula grants (State PREP), and through a competitive process to tribes and tribal entities (Tribal PREP) and to direct service providers in states and territories that did not take State PREP funding (Competitive PREP).

    Purpose

    This brief is one in a series that will inform stakeholders and the public about the PREP program.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    Seventy-two programs across 24 states and territories reported primarily serving adjudicated youth. These programs served about 8,000 youth each year, largely through juvenile detention centers. Most youth in these programs reported being White or Black or African American, and most were ages 15 to 18. About three-quarters of youth reported being sexually active before entering the program. After PREP, more than one-third of the youth in these programs reported they were less likely to have sex in the next six months, and a large majority reported they were more likely to use condoms and birth control if they have sex.

    Methods

    PREP grantees submit performance measures data to ACF each year. These findings are based on performance measures data submitted by State PREP, Tribal PREP, and Competitive PREP grantees for the 2014–2015 reporting period. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Murphy, Lauren; Zief, Susan; Hulsey, Lara
    Reference Type: Report, Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2018

    Introduction

    This brief summarizes key characteristics of programs funded through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) that primarily served highly vulnerable populations. Programs that “primarily served” a highly vulnerable population are defined as those that reported at least half of the youth they served were from one or more of the following populations: youth in foster care; youth in adjudication systems; homeless or runaway youth; pregnant or parenting youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth; youth in residential treatment for mental health issues; and youth who have trouble speaking or understanding English. PREP, which aims to reduce teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and associated risk behaviors, is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is awarded to states and territories through formula grants (State PREP), and through a competitive process to...

    Introduction

    This brief summarizes key characteristics of programs funded through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) that primarily served highly vulnerable populations. Programs that “primarily served” a highly vulnerable population are defined as those that reported at least half of the youth they served were from one or more of the following populations: youth in foster care; youth in adjudication systems; homeless or runaway youth; pregnant or parenting youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth; youth in residential treatment for mental health issues; and youth who have trouble speaking or understanding English. PREP, which aims to reduce teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and associated risk behaviors, is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is awarded to states and territories through formula grants (State PREP), and through a competitive process to tribes and tribal entities (Tribal PREP) and to direct service providers in states and territories that did not take State PREP funding (Competitive PREP).

    Purpose

    This brief is one in a series that will inform stakeholders and the public about the PREP program.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    One hundred forty-one programs across 33 states and territories reported primarily serving at least one highly vulnerable population. These programs served about 15,500 youth each year, and most operated in out-of-school settings. Most programs primarily serving highly vulnerable populations reported serving primarily youth in foster care or in adjudication systems. Most youth in these programs were ages 15 to 18 and were sexually active before entering the program. After PREP, about half the youth in these programs reported they were less likely to have sex in the next six months, and a large majority reported they were more likely to use condoms and birth control if they have sex.

    Methods

    PREP grantees submit performance measures data to ACF each year. These findings are based on performance measures data submitted by State PREP, Tribal PREP, and Competitive PREP grantees for the 2014–2015 reporting period. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Oster, Maryjo M.
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Maryjo M. Oster, Ph.D., Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Paying one’s “debt to society” for criminal behavior does not end after serving a prison sentence. Incarceration has immense implications for one’s labor market prospects, and by extension, one’s economic self-sufficiency. Roughly half of all ex-prisoners remain jobless a year after their release. Many of these individuals return to criminal activity, perceiving it as their only viable option to financially support themselves and their families, which contributes to a cycle of recurring imprisonment that fails to rehabilitate offenders and harms communities.

    A 2014 report by the National Research Council identified...

    Posted by Maryjo M. Oster, Ph.D., Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Paying one’s “debt to society” for criminal behavior does not end after serving a prison sentence. Incarceration has immense implications for one’s labor market prospects, and by extension, one’s economic self-sufficiency. Roughly half of all ex-prisoners remain jobless a year after their release. Many of these individuals return to criminal activity, perceiving it as their only viable option to financially support themselves and their families, which contributes to a cycle of recurring imprisonment that fails to rehabilitate offenders and harms communities.

    A 2014 report by the National Research Council identified three primary mechanisms that help explain the poor employment outcomes for former prisoners: selection, transformation, and labeling. Selection refers to the fact that many of the same factors that increase risk for incarceration are also associated with poor labor market outcomes. Examples include lower levels of educational attainment and functional literacy, and increased rates of mental illness and drug addiction. No specific claims of causality can be made, given the complex interplay of psychosocial factors, but the associations are nevertheless relevant when considering the employment struggles of former prisoners. The second mechanism, transformation, refers to the experience of imprisonment that negatively affects job readiness, such as deterioration of job skills, and failure to obtain useful work experience. The third mechanism is labeling—that is, the stigmatization of ex-prisoners; many employers formally prohibit individuals with criminal records from employment, and many others employers are reluctant to hire former prisoners, even in the absence of formal legal restrictions.

    Studies demonstrate that the economy could benefit substantially if the impediments to employment for former prisoners were removed. A 2010 Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) report estimated that in 2008 there were between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly reduces an individual’s labor market prospects, CEPR estimated the total male employment rate was lowered by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points. These reductions in employment resulted in a loss of between $57 and $65 billion in gross domestic product.

    Improving the employment prospects and economic mobility of former prisoners is in society’s best interest. As a 2010 report from the Pew Charitable Trusts notes, “when returning offenders can find and keep legitimate employment, they are more likely to be able to pay restitution to their victims, support their children, and avoid crime.” Further, data indicate that the children of incarcerated parents suffer psychologically, educationally, and financially. A former prisoner’s ability to obtain gainful employment, therefore, has implications for the future prospects of his or her children, as well, given that educational attainment and parental income are both predictors of economic mobility.

    The National Research Council offers two categories of evidence-based policy and program recommendations to improve the employment prospects and outcomes of former prisoners. The first is to implement employment re-entry programs, including transitional employment programs, residential and training programs for disadvantaged youth, prison work and education programs, and income supplements that pay unemployment benefits to released prisoners to spur economic opportunities. Their second recommendation is to limit inquiring about criminal records (e.g., the “Ban the Box” campaign to eliminate questions on job applications about previous felony convictions and/or imprisonment). Additionally, Pew finds that, while incarceration is undoubtedly necessary for some criminals, it is immensely costly and not necessary for managing many non-violent and lower-risk offenders. Pew suggests that lower-risk offenders could be redirected to high-quality community supervision programs, which reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, and are far more cost-effective.

    The SSRC Library contains numerous evaluation reports and stakeholder resources on incarceration, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC, or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you, and more.

     

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