NEW YORK, NY — Of the roughly 650,000 inmates released from prisons and jails in the United States each year, as many as two-thirds will be arrested for a new offense within three years. But a new Manhattan Institute report shows the positive impact of enhanced job-readiness training and job-search assistance on reducing arrests among ex-offenders.
A randomized controlled trial of ex-offenders conducted at the America Works job-placement agency from June 2009 to December 2010 showed that enhanced job-readiness training and job-search assistance significantly reduced arrests for ex-offenders.
Key findings in the report include:
- Enhanced job-readiness training and job-search assistance helped reduce recidivism among non-violent ex-offenders by one-third, with rearrests dropping from 52% to 35%.
- Enhanced job assistance — which stresses interpersonal communication and soft skills — has no effect on arrests of ex-offenders with violent histories.
- For nonviolent ex-offenders, the social benefits from enhanced job assistance in terms of reduced crime far outweigh the costs of the program (about $5000).
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Aaron Yelowitz is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kentucky. He is also a joint faculty member in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at University of Kentucky, and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute.
Christopher R. Bollinger is a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kentucky and holds a Gatton Professorship in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. He is also the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Econometric Methods.