Engaging Participants in Workforce Services after Release from Jail
Issue Brief, Lessons from LEAP
Connecting Inmates to Public Workforce Services Prior to Release: The Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release Grants
U.S. Department of Labor
- To increase participant engagement after release, sites focused on developing strong relationships with participants during incarceration, communicating clearly about the transition to the community, and providing supportive services.
- Staff prioritized addressing barriers—such as unstable housing, lack of transportation, and history of substance abuse–that prevented participants from showing up for appointments after returning to the community.
- Staff who primarily served reentering individuals reported providing more intensive case management, more support for wraparound services, and more financial incentives than staff who served all AJC customers.
Reentering the community is a challenging transition for justice-involved individuals who often face numerous barriers in restarting their lives outside of jail. It is similarly challenging for service providers who aid them during this transition—recently released individuals become difficult to contact once outside, are spread over a larger geographic area, and face competing demands on their time. This brief presents lessons on engaging individuals after release from incarceration, drawn from the experiences of workforce and corrections agencies that established AJCs in jails to serve individuals and link them after release to community-based services.