Internet Access for Pre-Release Job Search Training

Issue Brief: Early Lessons from LEAP
Publisher: Princeton, NJ, and Oakland, CA: Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research Associates
Nov 02, 2016
Authors
Hannah Betesh

Key Findings:

  • Given heightened Internet security restrictions in jails, jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) had to be flexible to adapt their pre-release curricula for this environment.
  • Planning for Internet installation soon after grant award was critical, given the inherent delays and complexity of establishing Internet access in previously unwired jail settings.
  • Adequate budgeting for both equipment purchases and space upgrades was essential to support Internet installation and access in jails.
Securing Internet access is a critical planning issue for the creation of a jail-based American Job Center (AJC). Community-based AJCs increasingly offer resources via the Internet, as the majority of job search activities and applications now occur online; however, correctional facilities often do not offer any Internet access for inmates due to security concerns. In jails where Internet access is available, it is generally for purposes unrelated to job search, such as legal research and distance learning, and in designated areas such as a law library or classroom. Arranging Internet access for the purpose of job search inside a jail-based AJC therefore represents a new and complex endeavor in the jail environment. This brief uses data from site visits to 8 of the 20 Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) sites to explore the role of Internet access in pre-release employment services as well as the resources, staffing, and infrastructure needed to establish Internet access for a jail-based AJC.