Cover: Implementation and Outcome Evaluation of Project imPACT — A Proposition 47–Funded Program in Los Angeles

Implementation and Outcome Evaluation of Project imPACT — A Proposition 47–Funded Program in Los Angeles

Cohort 2 Final Evaluation Report

Published May 12, 2023

by Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Katya Migacheva, Amy Goldman, Veronica Awan, Nicole Bracy, Sarah B. Hunter

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Research Questions

  1. How many Fellows were served by Project imPACT?
  2. What types of services did participants receive? How many sessions or hours of services did they receive?
  3. What implementation challenges and successes were observed?
  4. Were services provided with fidelity and consistent with the program's guiding principles (e.g., community partnerships and collaboration, trauma-informed care, culturally competent care, focus on the Fellow)?
  5. Were Fellows satisfied with their experience in Project imPACT?

Project imPACT is a reentry program designed by the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office and funded through Proposition 47 funds by the California Board of State and Community Corrections. The program initially received funds in 2018 and was awarded additional funds in 2020 to continue and expand the program through February 15, 2023. Project imPACT provides employment, behavioral health, and legal services to individuals in four regions across Los Angeles, with the goal of improving employment outcomes as a way to reduce future criminal justice system involvement. The additional funding allowed the program to add a transition-age youth pilot and housing services support.

The RAND Corporation and Harder+Company conducted a mixed methods process and outcome evaluation of Cohort 2. This report presents findings related to individuals served between June 2020 (when Cohort 2 began enrolling Fellows) through September 2022. The process evaluation focuses on the implementation of Project imPACT, and the outcome evaluation examines whether the program achieved expected short-term and intermediate outcomes.

Fellows achieved several of the program goals through their work with the Project imPACT providers: About 52 percent of Fellows obtained employment and 53 percent of employed Fellows remained employed one year after starting the program. Of the 87 individuals who were in unstable housing settings when they entered the program, 64 percent had moved into a more stable setting by the time they exited the program. Only 22 enrolled Fellows were convicted for a new arrest after their enrollment.

Key Findings

  • Project imPACT enrolled 384 individuals between June 2020 and September 2022.
  • Fellows received employment services, of which career readiness assessments and job coaching were the most common services; behavioral health services, especially individual counseling sessions; legal services, with counsel and advice as the most common legal service received; and housing services, which were added in Cohort 2.
  • Implementation facilitators included providers' ability to draw on their Cohort 1 experience; the teamwork, commitment, and professionalism of Project imPACT staff members; providers' ability to draw on the strengths of the lead employment agency in each region; the wraparound nature of the services; and having staff members with lived criminal justice experience.
  • Implementation barriers included the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (e.g., reduced availability of jobs, need to provide remote services early in Cohort 2, and associated communication challenges between Fellows and staff members); staff turnover; limited availability of training for staff; and limitations with the available shared housing setting.
  • Despite implementation barriers, there was evidence that the program was being implemented in a manner consistent with the guiding principles (e.g., culturally competent and trauma-informed care), and Fellows reported that they were largely satisfied with how services were provided, highlighting the dedication of the Project imPACT staff in supporting them as they worked toward their goals.
  • About 52 percent of Fellows obtained employment, and 53 percent of employed Fellows remained employed one year after starting the program. Only 22 enrolled Fellows were convicted for a new arrest after their enrollment.

Recommendations

  • Identify ways to address staff turnover and its impact on program implementation and outcomes.
  • Expand the housing supports available to Fellows.
  • Address barriers to program participation.
  • Assess the experiences of Fellows who are employed and provide additional supports as needed.

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.

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