The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Pilot Project

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Introduction

Employment can play a critical role in reducing recidivism, but some communities simply do not have enough resources for corrections, reentry, and workforce development practitioners to provide every adult leaving prison or jail with the services they need to reduce their likelihood of reoffending and increase their level of job readiness.

Some jurisdictions have made significant progress in implementing both recidivism-reduction and employment strategies, but these efforts are often made with limited coordination. An integrated approach is needed to ensure that criminal justice and workforce development systems utilize their available resources in ways that reduce recidivism and improve the employability of their shared population. The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies (IRES) white paper helps policymakers, administrators, and practitioners collaboratively determine if resources are focused on the right people, using the right interventions, at the right time.

The IRES pilot project was designed to test innovative approaches to reducing recidivism and increasing job readiness for people returning from incarceration and to identify successful strategies for integrating reentry and employment programming. The pilot project focuses on operationalizing a level of cross-systems coordination among corrections, reentry, and workforce development agencies on a scale rarely seen in the field. The theory being tested is that by applying resources based on an assessment- driven referral process, recidivism and employment outcomes will improve. Thus, the pilot project has the potential to influence both correctional and workforce development programming across the country by providing a replicable framework for organizing cross- systems coordination in a cost-effective way.

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