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Minnesota's Affordable Homes Program: Evaluating the Effect of a Prison Work Program on Recidivism, Employment and Cost Avoidance

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 23 Issue: 3 Dated: 2012 Pages: 327-51
Miriam Northcutt Bohmert; Grant Duwe
Date Published
25 pages

The authors report on the impacts of the Affordable Homes Program, aimed at lowering recidivism and increasing employment rates for people who have been released from correctional facilities.


The Affordable Homes Program (AHP) is a prison work crew program managed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC). To examine whether AHP has increased post-release employment, lowered recidivism, and reduced costs to the State of Minnesota, this study uses a retrospective, quasi-experimental design in which propensity score matching was used to control for observable selection bias. The results show that during the 1998-2008 period, AHP accomplished the following: built 285 affordable homes; significantly increased offenders’ odds of obtaining post-release employment in the construction field; and produced US$13.1 million in costs avoided. It did not, however, significantly reduce recidivism.