In November 2005, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) awarded grants to 30 Faith-Based and Community Organizations (FBCOs) to implement a Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative (PRI) Demonstration. The Initiative seeks to strengthen communities affected by large numbers of formerly incarcerated individuals through employment-centered projects that incorporate education, job training, housing referrals, mentoring, and other comprehensive transitional services. The demonstration is based on the core premise that helping formerly incarcerated individuals find and maintain stable and legal employment will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. Recognizing that FBCOs are well respected within their communities, have a long history of providing social services to some of the hardest-to-serve populations, are able to tap into sizable networks of volunteers, and have the enthusiasm to support their undertakings, the Initiative identified FBCOs as the entities to lead the local re-entry projects.
ETA contracted with an evaluation team from Coffey Consulting, LLC and Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the PRI’s 30 demonstration sites and to examine the implementation and outputs of the PRI. In addition, the evaluation will produce an analysis of costs to participating communities for their provision of services to the formerly incarcerated individuals returning to their communities.
This report describes initial observations and findings from site visits that took place several months after projects achieved full operation. The report also provides answers to several of the research questions posed in the evaluation and will serve as a baseline for the final analysis.