Discusses how the Beneficiary Choice model affected participant choice and capitalized on the strengths of faith-based and community organizations to improve participant outcomes.
"The Beneficiary Choice model represents a new direction in the provision of services to ex-offenders and, therefore, is likely to pique the interest of policymakers and program administrators alike. Unlike prior prisoner re-entry initiatives, the Beneficiary Choice program involved an indirect funding model in which grantees were expected to engage in performance-based contracts with at least five local faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) acting as specialized service providers (SSPs) to provide a range of employment-focused service options to participants. DOL was interested in knowing how this model affected participant choice and capitalized on the strengths of FBCOs to improve participant outcomes" (p.xiii). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• "Criminal justice administrative data show that 34 percent were re-arrested for a new crime in the 12 months after program enrollment, which is lower than the national rate of 44 percent. • That study also showed a strong relationship between an offender’s age and probability of recidivating, with younger offenders more likely to recidivate than older offenders. This suggests that the re-arrest rate for Beneficiary Choice participants is lower than the national rate for offenders between 18 and 29 years (pp. xvii, xviii). • Despite these successes, many SSPs felt the program model did not fully capitalize on the unique set of services available at FBCOs and resulted in few participants receiving the full range of supplemental services that they needed for successful reentry and long-term avoidance of criminal involvement. As it evolved over time, the program offered relatively light-touch services over a short duration with a work-first approach" (p. xix, xx). (Abstractor: Author)