For the 95 percent of people in state prisons who will eventually be released and the many others who are returning to communities from local jails, employment can play a critical role in preventing recidivism—but jurisdictions often lack the resources and coordination to effectively connect people with the necessary services to improve employability. To find solutions, beginning in 2015, a team of researchers and policy analysts from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center set out to pilot the Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies (IRES) framework in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and Palm Beach County, Florida. The framework, developed with support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, aims to connect people leaving incarceration to the right reentry and employment services at the right intensity at the right time to reduce their chance of recidivating and improve employment readiness. From October 2017 to March 2018, CSG Justice Center staff assessed the sites’ reentry coordination and service delivery efforts for 521 people assessed to participate in the study.
The IRES Pilot Project Process Evaluation Report details their findings and assesses the sites’ strengths, challenges, and more. Corrections, reentry, and workforce development administrators and practitioners from across the country can use these takeaways to facilitate conversations with key stakeholders about their own ability to integrate the efforts of corrections and workforce development systems to meet the reentry and employment needs of people returning from incarceration.