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Promote Workforce Strategies for Reintegrating Ex-Offenders

Strategies Success Stories

What Can Policymakers Do?

  • Enhance workforce preparation during incarceration . In an increasingly competitive labor force, all individuals need marketable skills in order to secure a job and to maintain employment. Policymakers can promote education and training for incarcerated individuals so that when they are released from prison, they enter the workforce with the training and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency. It is important that training includes credentials such as a high school diploma or GED and soft-skill development, such as effective communication skills and the appreciation of professional norms, which will assist ex-offenders in finding and maintaining work.   
  • Improve placement services . Even with marketable skills, people who are released from prison often need information and guidance to navigate the job market.  To serve the needs of businesses and individuals, policymakers can promote effective placement services for reintegrating ex-offenders by expanding the states partnerships with employers, expanding incentives for employers who hire ex-offenders and improving the range of placement options. 
  • Remove barriers to employment for ex-offenders . States can reduce statutory prohibitions that may unnecessarily prevent ex-offenders from obtaining professional licenses or serving in certain industries.  By lifting unnecessary restrictions and/or providing certificates of rehabilitation, policymakers can improve the placement options for ex-offenders and remove central barriers to reentering the workforce.
  • Improve access to work supports .  Ex-offenders often struggle to obtain housing, transportation and healthcare, which are critical to their ability to gain and maintain employment.  By improving access to work supports, policymakers enable ex-offenders to better maintain employment and thereby contribute more productively to their communities.

A report by MDRC shows that a program designed to help former prisoners increase longer-term employment reduced recidivism.


Washington State lawestablished the Community Transition Coordination Networks (CTCN) to provide offenders leaving prison or jail with coordinated supervision and services and required criteriato be developed.


Project Return in Milwaukee provides job training along with parenting and relationship support to effectively support returning ex-offenders in their transition back to the community and family.