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Formerly Incarcerated/Reentering

Breaking the homelessness–jail cycle in Denver

Individual Author: 
Gillespie, Sarah
Hanson, Devlin
Cunningham, Mary K.
Pergamit, Mike
Kooragayala, Shiva

An experiment in supportive housing is beginning to pay off for the city of Denver, its homeless residents, and a group of investors banking on social impact. This fact sheet highlights early results from the Denver Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Initiative. (Author abstract)


Employment after prison: A longitudinal study of releasees in three states

Individual Author: 
Visher, Christy
Debus-Sherrill, Sara
Yahner, Jennifer

In this brief, we explore the reality of finding employment after prison from the perspective of 740 former male prisoners in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. Interviews were conducted as part of a comprehensive, longitudinal study entitled Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. Eight months after prison, 65 percent of respondents had been employed at some point, but only 45 percent were currently employed. Those who held a job while in prison or participated in job-training programs had better employment outcomes after release.

Ex-offenders and the labor market

Individual Author: 
Schmitt, John
Warner, Kris

We use Bureau of Justice Statistics data to estimate that, in 2008, the United States had between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly lowers ex-offenders’ prospects in the labor market, we estimate that this large population lowered the total male employment rate that year by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points. In GDP terms, these reductions in employment cost the U.S. economy between $57 and $65 billion in lost output. (Author introduction)

Investigating prisoner reentry: The impact of conviction status on the employment prospects of young men

Individual Author: 
Pager, Devah
Western, Bruce

The study found a strong reluctance among employers to hire applicants with criminal records, especially Black ex-offenders; however, employment prospects improved significantly for applicants who had an opportunity to interact with the hiring manager, particularly when these interactions elicited sympathetic responses from the manager. Although individual characteristics of employers were significant for outcomes, researchers concluded that the personal interaction between the applicant and prospective employer was in itself a key factor in a successful hiring.

Employment pathways for boys and young men of color: Solutions and strategies that can make a difference

Individual Author: 
Bird, Kisha
Okoh, Clarence

Employment is an important part of youth development and the successful progression into young adulthood. Young people learn important communication and social skills, and are also exposed to careers, workplace culture, and opportunities to hone problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Research reinforces the importance of early work experience, especially for poor and low-income youth. Youth employment strategies, including summer jobs, paid internships, and year-round subsidized work experiences, can be linked to a broader approach to address poverty.

Don't forget dad: Addressing women's poverty by rethinking forced and outdated child support policies

Individual Author: 
Hatcher, Daniel L.

In the dialogues regarding reducing poverty among women, especially mothers, the inextricably linked issues surrounding low-income men must be simultaneously considered. In social policy addressing women’s poverty, poor fathers have too often been considered primarily as an enemy to be pursued rather than a fellow victim of poverty’s wrath, and potential partner towards the cure. We want someone to blame, and many assume that poor single mothers are best served by always being encouraged — and even forced — to pursue the noncustodial fathers for financial support through adversarial means.

Work and opportunity before and after incarceration

Individual Author: 
Looney, Adam
Turner, Nicholas

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.