Almost 700,000 people are released from state prisons each year. Ex-prisoners face daunting obstacles to successful reentry into society, and rates of recidivism are high. Most experts believe that stable employment is critical to a successful transition, but ex-prisoners have great difficulty finding steady work.
This report presents interim results from a rigorous evaluation of the New York City-based Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a highly regarded employment program for ex-prisoners. CEO participants are placed in paid transitional jobs shortly after enrollment; they are supervised by CEO staff and receive a range of supports. Once they show good performance in the transitional job, participants get help finding a permanent job and additional support after placement.
CEO is one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The project is being conducted under contract to HHS by MDRC, a nonprofit research organization, along with the Urban Institute and other partners.