The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.
The Opportunity to Succeed (OPTS) program was designed to reduce substance abuse relapse and criminal recidivism by providing comprehensive, case-managed reentry services to felony offenders who had drug offense histories. This article describes how a process and impact evaluation of the multisite OPTS program illuminates the importance of employment and related services for returning prisoners. The process component documented high levels of employment service utilization and referrals. The impact componentwhich utilized an experimental designfound that compared to probation and parole clients under routine supervision, OPTS clients had significantly higher levels of full-time employment during the first year after prison release. In turn, high levels of employment were associated with reductions in self-reported commission of person and property crimes, as well as reductions in drug dealing during a one-year follow-up period.
The article highlights the evaluation findings and discusses challenges that may be encountered in providing employment services, and suggests avenues that should be considered to enhance reentry success.
The citation for this paper is:
Rossman, Shelli B. and Caterina Gouvis Roman. 2003. "Case-Managed Reentry and Employment: Lessons from the Opportunity to Succeed Program." Justice Research and Policy, 5(2).
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