Criminal Justice

Individuals who have been incarcerated face daunting challenges as they re-enter society. Many lack education, work experience, family support, and housing. In addition, substance abuse and mental health problems are common. Without adequate supports, recidivism is likely.

We study programs and services to improve employment outcomes, strengthen family relationships, and provide health and financial supports for individuals involved with the justice system. Our team is evaluating initiatives for youth offenders, individuals housed in correctional facilities who need stronger links to public workforce systems, and projects providing employment, mentoring, and housing assistance to former offenders.

Because strengthening family relationships is key to many support programs, our Parents and Children Together evaluation is looking at ways to support fathers, including many participants who are ex-offenders, to help build healthy relationships with their children and partners. In addition, we are testing the effectiveness of programs that aim to increase employment for noncustodial parents—including many ex-offenders—with substantial child support arrears. We have also examined efforts such as Health Link, which help connect female and adolescent male inmates to health services.

Our Work