Structuring Employment-Based Services Within Jail Spaces and Schedules

Issue Brief: Early Lessons from LEAP
Publisher: Princeton, NJ, and Oakland, CA: Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research Associates
Nov 02, 2016
Authors
Jennifer Henderson-Frakes

Key Findings:

  • The particular facility or area within the facility where the jail-based American Job Center (AJC) was located, along with its associated reentry focus and security level, significantly influenced the development of the AJC, the process for participants to access the space, and the negotiations around scheduling of AJC services.
  • Early onsite time with jail leadership and staff was critical for understanding space and scheduling parameters, assessing what was feasible, and making necessary adjustments.
  • Securing the buy-in of corrections officers was just as important as buy-in from jail administrative staff, given the considerable logistics involved with inmate movement and the complexity of daily jail schedules.
Workforce development agencies must navigate jail spaces and inmate schedules to provide American Job Center (AJC) services effectively to inmates transitioning back to the community. The rules guiding the use of jail space and the scheduling of inmate activities can be complex and vary considerably based on each jail’s structure, security level, reentry focus, and existing programming. This brief discusses how LEAP workforce development staff worked with jail administrators to gain access to jail space and their strategies for scheduling services inside the jail-based AJC. It relies on data gathered through site visits to eight LEAP sites during the planning period for LEAP, as well as tours of all 20 jail-based AJCs being implemented by grantees.