More than 2,000 recently released offenders took part in a field test designed to determine whether the provision of intensive followup after job placement would significantly increase the effectiveness of employment programs for ex-offenders.
The test involved three ongoing and reputedly exemplary employment services programs located in Boston, San Diego, and Chicago. The experiment compared randomly assigned groups of ex-offenders who had been recently released from adult correctional facilities and who had committed mainly income-producing offenses. The experimental group received both comprehensive employment-related services like job counseling and placement assistance as well as special followup services for 6 months after placement. The control group received normal services only. Comparison groups consisting of program participants who did not receive job placements were also formed to assess the general value of employment services. The special followup services did not reduce the chances of long-term criminal recidivism. However, employment itself was a factor in decreasing recidivism, according to the results from Chicago. Older and married individuals had significantly lower recidivism rates, while past substance abusers and individuals with longer criminal histories had higher recidivism rates. Figures, tables, notes, and 87 references are included. (Author abstract modified)