Aug 18, 2014
Gainful employment has been recognized as a key factor in efforts to reduce recidivism and promote successful reentry. However, returning citizens who were incarcerated in federal prisons face significant barriers to employment. Researchers convened a workshop to explore challenges and opportunities associated with improving employment outcomes among these individuals. This report summarizes needs identified by workshop participants.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 159,000 individuals. This responsibility includes safe and secure housing in correctional facilities located across the United States. Equally important is its responsibility to provide programming and support to help ensure that individuals released from federal custody are able to successfully transition from prison to the community and refrain from criminal activity. This transition can be challenging, and, for a variety of reasons, many returning citizens ultimately reengage with the criminal justice system at some point.
Gainful employment has been recognized as a key factor in efforts to reduce recidivism. However, returning citizens who were incarcerated in federal prisons, particularly individuals with limited work histories or who have been out of the labor market for several years, face significant and well-documented barriers to employment. Preparing returning citizens for employment and supporting them through the reentry and employment processes can improve reentry outcomes and strengthen communities.
To explore challenges and opportunities associated with improving employment outcomes among BOP releasees, the National Institute of Justice — supported by the RAND Corporation, in partnership with the University of Denver — hosted a virtual workshop of BOP staff, community-based reentry service providers, researchers, national employers, and other experts. This report summarizes discussion points from the workshop and presents a wide-ranging set of needs identified by workshop participants.