Using a Systems-Level Approach to Improve Reentry and Employment Outcomes for People Returning to Their Communities after Incarceration
The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies (IRES) framework, published in 2013, was developed to help policymakers, system administrators, and practitioners collaboratively determine whether resources are being efficiently used to connect the right people to the right interventions at the right time.
People returning to the community after incarceration have a variety of needs; this population is diverse, and as such, require tailored services. The Resource-Allocation and Service-Matching tool (below) focuses on the use of assessments to determine the likelihood that a person will reoffend and his or her level of job readiness. As a result of these two assessments, four groups are created, each requiring distinct employment services delivered in distinct ways.
The Resource-Allocation and Service-Matching Tool
Testing the Model in Two Sites
The IRES pilot project is designed to test innovative strategies to reduce recidivism and increase job readiness for individuals with criminal records. The pilot project focuses on operationalizing a level of cross-systems coordination among corrections, workforce development agencies, and community-based service providers on a scale rarely seen in the field. The theory being tested is that by applying resources based on an assessment-driven referral process, recidivism and employment outcomes will improve. Thus, the IRES pilot project has the potential to influence both correctional and workforce programming across the country by providing a replicable framework for organizing systems in a costeffective way. The project is being supported through a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The three-year IRES pilot project is underway in two sites:
Technical Assistance Approach
The National Reentry Resource Center, a project of The Council of State Governments Justice Center, is working with a team of expert partners to provide technical assistance to both pilot sites for up to three years. The first year includes information gathering and planning activities, followed by an implementation year. Finally, a process and impact evaluation will be conducted to ensure that the larger field benefits from the lessons learned from the pilot sites.
The NRRC technical assistance team brings together individuals with extensive experience in policy analysis, program development and implementation, and research. The project also includes assistance from expert consultants, including the Heartland Alliance National Transitional Jobs Network and the National Institute of Corrections.
The Heartland Alliance National Transitional Jobs Network is providing support assessing the capacity of service providers in Milwaukee and Palm Beach Counties, and determining the most appropriate factors to be considered in evaluating job readiness. The National Institute of Corrections will provide capacity-building training to service providers during year two.
Interim touchpoints will be held with both sites to review findings to date and explore initial recommendations. Final reports, including recommendations for implementation, will be presented to local and executive leaders in Wisconsin and Florida in March 2016.