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Research Questions

  1. How many Fellows were served by Project imPACT, and what types and dosage of services were received?
  2. Were services provided with fidelity, and were they consistent with the guiding principles of Project imPACT (community partnerships and collaboration, trauma-informed care, culturally competent care, focus on the Fellow)?
  3. What implementation challenges and successes were observed?
  4. Were Fellows satisfied with their experience in Project imPACT?
  5. What employment barriers did Project imPACT help Fellows to address?
  6. What employment outcomes were observed among Fellows?

The Proposition 47 grant program, administered by the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC), provides discretionary grant funding to localities to provide community-based supportive services to individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system. In June 2017, the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Reentry was awarded Proposition 47 grant funding under its first cohort of grantees ("Cohort 1") to implement Project imPACT. Project imPACT is a voluntary program designed to serve individuals who were arrested or convicted of a crime in the past year or who are currently on community-based supervision and who also have a history of mental health and/or substance use concerns. This program provides employment, behavioral health, and legal services in an effort to help participants obtain and retain employment and reduce criminal recidivism. Project imPACT serves four regions of Los Angeles: South Los Angeles, Watts, Downtown, and San Fernando Valley.

RAND Corporation and Harder+Company conducted a process and outcome evaluation of the program. This final evaluation report summarizes the authors' findings from a process and outcome evaluation of Cohort 1 of Project imPACT, which provided services from July 2018 to December 2020.

Key Findings

  • The evaluation was based on quantitative data submitted monthly by providers in each region, annual site visits with each program provider, participation by evaluation team members in meetings of the service providers, analysis of quarterly narratives submitted by providers about challenges and accomplishments, and focus groups and interviews with program Fellows and alumni.
  • Project imPACT enrolled 432 individuals across regions. Fellows were largely male; African American/Black or Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish; and determined to be medium or high risk based on a structured risk-needs assessment.
  • Project imPACT provided three core services: employment, behavioral health, and legal services, as well as a group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) curriculum.
  • About 78 percent of enrolled Fellows successfully fulfilled all program requirements. Common services included career readiness assessments and workshops; individual counseling sessions; and legal counsel and advice. Fellows were largely satisfied with the program.
  • Periodic staff turnover, lack of adequate physical space, inadequate access to technology, and limited technological proficiency emerged as prominent barriers to both service delivery and uptake when the COVID-19 pandemic forced office closures and precluded face-to-face communication. Key facilitators included staff dedication and past experience and the regional placement of services.
  • A total of 44.4 percent of Fellows obtained employment, mostly in full-time positions, though there were challenges to obtaining employment data from Fellows who left the program before completing it. Those who completed employment services were more likely to obtain employment. There was also a $2,101.10 increase in monthly income during the program among Fellows with available data.

Recommendations

  • Additional needed support and trainings should be given to Project imPACT providers to address factors that lead to turnover, such as burnout. Additional support staff could alleviate the burden on providers by assisting with such tasks as outreach to participants lost to follow-up and collecting follow-up employment data.
  • Providers could leverage partnerships with other community-based organizations and local agencies that provide low-cost or no-cost services to individuals involved in the justice system as a way to address additional Fellow needs. Fellows would also benefit from additional access to technology and related training.
  • It would be valuable to increase the awareness of the program in the Greater Los Angeles Community through advertising and educating employers on the benefits of employing individuals who have been involved in the justice system.
  • The evaluation team should continue to identify opportunities to reduce the burden of evaluation requirements on providers. Efforts underway include development of a new case management system that is more user-friendly for providers and can be used to extract evaluation data.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Project Description

  • Chapter Two

    Research Design

  • Chapter Three

    Program Description

  • Chapter Four

    Service Utilization Findings

  • Chapter Five

    Provider Perspectives on Program Implementation

  • Chapter Six

    Outcome Evaluation Results

  • Chapter Seven

    Client Perspectives

  • Chapter Eight

    Summary and Conclusion

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Reentry and conducted by the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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