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Manhattan Institute

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America Works' Criminal Justice Program: Providing Second Chances Through Work

issue brief

America Works' Criminal Justice Program: Providing Second Chances Through Work

November 1, 2002
Urban PolicyCrime
OtherPrisoner Reentry

Introduction

This report presents a case study of a new program developed by America Works, Incorporated, to assist released prisoners reenter the world of work. The report describes the substantial problem presented by America’s growing prison population, and the related challenge to society by released prisoners. The costs and benefits of programs to train ex-convicts for jobs are discussed. Finally, a profile of America Works and its efforts to assist released prisoners is provided. The paper concludes that the America Works program has been effective in finding private sector employment for ex-offenders.

Growth in Parolees Poses Significant Social Challenge

The growth of crime in the last decades of the twentieth century led to increased spending on law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration. Criminal statutes provided steeper and mandatory sentences, and the size of the nation’s prison population grew dramatically. This resulted in growing numbers of “ex-cons” or released prisoners seeking reintegration into American society. By the end of 2001, a record 6.6 million people were in the United States correctional system. One in every 32 adults was either in prison or on parole. Almost 4 million people were on probation at the end of 2001...

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