Can We Close the Revolving Door?

Brief

Can We Close the Revolving Door?

Recidivism vs. Employment of Ex-Offenders in the U.S.
May 19, 2003

The Reentry Roundtable entitled, The Employment Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry: Understanding the Nexus between Prisoner Reentry and Work, was held on May 19-20, 2003 in New York City. The Roundtable focused on several aspects of the employment-reentry link, including the employment profile of the prison population; the work experience in prison; applicable lessons from welfare to work; the employment barriers ex-offenders face; and the potential linkages between correctional systems, intervention programs, and private employers. The meeting aimed to identify policy and research opportunities geared to improving the employment prospects, and thereby the chances of successful reintegration, for thousands of people leaving prison each year. This paper summarizes the basic facts about the characteristics of prisoners and ex-offenders, the rate of recidivism in recent years and the skill deficits and employer decisions that limit the employment prospects of ex-offenders.

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