Providing Services in a Jail-Based American Job Center

Issue Brief, Lessons from LEAP
Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
May 31, 2018
Jennifer Henderson-Frakes

Key Findings:

  • Jail-based AJC services addressed diverse but interrelated aspects of both job and life skills.
  • Work readiness training, workforce information services, and career/life skills counseling were the most common pre-release services.
  • Participants valued opportunities to gain marketable skills, such as Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) certification, and to obtain supportive services, such as assistance getting official identification.
  • Staff felt that refresher activities just before release for participants who had completed pre-release programming with time left in jail could boost participants’ chances for post-release success.

In 2015, 20 LEAP grantees established jail-based AJCs to offer employment-related services to incarcerated individuals and connect them to further support immediately upon their release into the community. The jail-based AJCs provided participants with comprehensive case management; job-seeking services; and assistance with education or training. This brief discusses how jail-based AJC staff assessed inmates’ needs and goals, prepared employment and service plans, and delivered services to address participants’ barriers before their transition to the community and the workforce.