Explores key challenges of the implementation of secure internet access for jail-based American Job Centers under the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release grants, such as restrictive internet security, limited bandwidth, and the complexity of internet installation in jails

“This issue brief…explores lessons from the planning phase of the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) grants. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, LEAP pilots the creation of jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) to support the successful reentry of participants and directly link them to community-based AJCs upon release” (p.1).    

“Securing Internet access is a critical planning issue for the creation of a jail-based…AJC…Community-based AJCs increasingly offer resources via the Internet, as the majority of job search activities and applications now occur online; however, correctional facilities often do not offer any Internet access for inmates due to security concerns. In jails where Internet access is available, it is generally for purposes unrelated to job search, such as legal research and distance learning, and in designated areas such as a law library or classroom. Arranging Internet access for the purpose of job search inside a jail-based AJC therefore represents a new and complex endeavor in the jail environment. ”(p.1).  

“This brief uses data from site visits to 8 of the 20…LEAP…sites to explore the role of Internet access in pre-release employment services as well as the resources, staffing, and infrastructure needed to establish Internet access for a jail-based AJC” (p.1).  

“The jail-based AJCs established by LEAP grantees planned to use the Internet for pre-release job search instruction, online basic skills and career interest assessments, and, in some cases, occupational skills training. Half of the jail-based AJCs were also offering or planned to offer formal computer and Internet skills instruction. As grantees discovered, however, Internet security settings inside jails often preclude access to multimedia and private business sites” (p.1).

Note that this issue brief is one in a series of five briefs that explore lessons from the early stages of LEAP.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)