"The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) initiative was launched in 2005 as a joint initiative by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Department of Justice. RExO was set up to strengthen urban communities heavily affected by the challenges associated with high numbers of prisoners seeking to re-enter their communities following the completion of their sentences.
In June 2009, ETA contracted with Social Policy Research Associates conduct a random assignment impact evaluation of the 24 RExO grantees that had been in operation for more than three years. A critical component of this evaluation is an implementation study, which includes two rounds of site visits to each of the 24 RExO grantees and alternative providers in their communities.
This report summarizes the key findings from this implementation study; including findings on the community context and general structure of the RExO grantees; their recruitment, intake and enrollment strategies; the RA process itself; the services RExO grantees and their partners provide; the specific partnerships in place to provide services; and the services available through alternative providers (to which comparison group members were referred) in the 24 communities. The report provides some context for the upcoming impact analysis by presenting information about the labor market situation in the 24 communities in which programs operated, and the major barriers facing ex-offenders" (p.1) (Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
• "Having a sufficient number of case managers was important to ensure that caseloads were low. Across all grantees, approximately 90 case managers were in place to support RExO participants (an average of 3.75 per grantee). Having a steady pool of case managers allowed many programs to keep the caseloads manageable, though caseloads increased somewhat toward the end of RA. • Through the support of case managers, participants gained access to valuable information about how to prepare for jobs, locate housing, and receive substance abuse treatment and other essential services. Connecting participants to a network of community providers gave RExO programs greater access to resources, thereby increasing their chances of addressing the many barriers to employment that are common among ex-offenders. • Outreach to employers was limited, due to factors such as insufficient job development staffing and the lack of marketing skills among job developers. Far fewer job developers were hired to help participants with job search assistance and job placement compared with the number of case managers available. Many job developers also lacked sufficient training and experience with employer outreach and marketing. • Alternative provider services—other than those involving mentoring—were readily available. The research team identified 97 providers across the 24 grantee communities that offered at least one core RExO service. Each grantee community had between two and eight such providers, and each of the three core RExO services was available through some combination of alternative providers in every grantee community, with many communities having more than one of each. • Alternative provider services, with a few exceptions, were accessible. Respondents noted that alternative provider services generally were visible to the ex-offender population, were located where ex-offenders could reach them relatively easily, used eligibility criteria that left them sufficiently open to those eligible for RExO, and had sufficient capacity to serve control group members. • Within most communities, the quality of alternative provider services was roughly similar to or slightly lower than the quality of similar services offered by the RExO program. The assessment of service quality was based on measurements of the intensity of the services offered and on the views of respondents within grantee communities." (ES, p.14-15) (Abstractor: Author)