The National Reentry Resource Center, an initiative of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, is launching a pilot reentry project designed to aid former prisoners in finding employment in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.
The pilot program, called the Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Pilot Project, will roll out over the course of three years and focus on maximizing the impact of area resources in Milwaukee and Philadelphia to produce programming that reduces recidivism and leads to better employment outcomes for former prisoners.
As detailed in an article by the Milwaukee Business News, the first phase, according to Phoebe Potter, director of the behavioral health program at th
e CGS Justice Center, will focus on researching what a good “client matching system” among prisoners and area agencies would look like. They will also study area providers in both counties that specialize in workforce reentry for former prisoners to gauge how well the providers can meet workforce development needs.
During the implementation phase, the NRRC will provide training and assistance to area providers who need support improving their services, while the final year will center on evaluating changes in client outcomes.
The NRRC would like other counties who have limited resources for reentry services to be able to learn how to maximize their own impact from the pilot.
Finding employment following release from prison is crucial, with Potter referring to former prisoners as an “untapped resource of labor.” Studies have shown that employment is a big step in reducing recidivism because it provides former prisoners with stability at the same time that it allows them to support themselves and their families.
Many former prisoners have stated anecdotally that employment gives them purpose and helps them feel like they belong to their communities.
GEO Reentry Services works with many counties in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia County, to provide reentry programming that targets changing criminal behavior while emphasizing finding employment.
Our Pennsylvania reentry centers work with community area providers to provide participants with services designed to give them the best foot forward following their release from prison.
To read more about our approach, click here.
To read a white paper from the CSG that outlines the pilot program, click here.