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Project Re-Enterprise: A Texas Program

NCJ Number
161448
Date Published
1996
Length
16 pages
Author(s)
M C Moses
Agencies
NIJ
Publication Series
Publication Type
Program/Project Evaluation
Annotation
Project Re-Enterprise (PRE), a Texas-based program administered by the Crime Prevention Institute, enlists the participation of local business leaders in an educational initiative to hone the job-seeking skills of inmates.
Abstract
PRE recognizes that the success of efforts to turn the lives of offenders around depends on the understanding and cooperative involvement of many individuals and groups. Those engaged in the difficult business of rehabilitation recognize that offenders released into the community have little chance of remaining there unless they have an opportunity to become productive members of mainstream society. PRE began as an experiment by two criminal justice innovators to interrupt the cycle of repeat offending to which drug offenders and other inmates are doomed unless they have viable employment prospects after release. In 4 years, the PRE program has grown from a pilot project involving one correctional institution and nine participating employers to a program that involves more than 300 businesses in several correctional institutions throughout Texas. Employers who participate in PRE are not pressured to hire inmates they agree to interview, and employers are not asked to change company personnel policies or make any commitment beyond involvement in mock job fairs. Some employers, however, have voluntarily altered their policies and practices with regard to hiring ex-offenders. Participation in PRE has helped them see that crime adversely affects businesses and communities, served to "humanize" criminals and corrections, and placed the corporate community in a position to effect social change. Although other corrections departments have indicated an interest in replicating PRE, they should be aware of the costs and time involved. PRE's employer recruitment has been labor intensive, with more than 70 percent of the operating budget allocated to salaries and benefits of staff and contractual employees. PRE has also required a leader with charisma and connections to the business community and public funding sources. 22 notes, 2 exhibits, and 4 photographs
Date Created: August 14, 2000