Pathway Home Evaluation Brief: Establishing Grant Programs Inside Correctional Facilities

Pathway Home Evaluation Brief: Establishing Grant Programs Inside Correctional Facilities

Published: Aug 01, 2023
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Evaluation of the Pathway Home Grant Program

Time frame: 2020-2025

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Labor


Ivette Gutierrez

Skye Allmang

Maddhi Jayagoda

Key Findings
  • The grantees described engaging in several activities with their partners during the planning phase such as visiting correctional facilities, meeting with facility staff, developing partnerships with facility and training provider partners, and creating informational materials to share with their facility partners. They recommended meeting with facility partners and other key partners early and frequently.
  • To integrate Pathway Home programs within correctional facilities, the grantees reported having to coordinate with their facility partners to understand their facility policies and to tailor their programs to each correctional facility’s preferred approach and practices.
  • Grantees faced challenges—including COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and correctional facility staff shortages—when implementing Pathway Home services within facilities. They worked to overcome challenges by improving their communication with facility partners and adapting their service delivery plans, such as by moving to virtual services.
  • Despite obstacles, the majority of grantees and subgrantees reported providing case management services (82 percent), and grantees provided pre-release employment services such as developing individualized career plans and identifying employment barriers. The majority of grantees provided job and work readiness training (82 percent), and a little over half provided occupational and vocational skills training (59 percent).

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funded Mathematica and its partner, Social Policy Research Associates, to conduct an evaluation of the Pathway Home grants. This brief focuses on the 22 Pathway Home grants awarded in 2021 and describes their experiences establishing the pre-release components of their programs during their first year of implementation.

Prior evaluations of reentry grants funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) highlight the many challenges community service providers faced when integrating workforce development programs inside correctional facilities. Such challenges include limited physical space, restricted staff and participant movement within the facility, the culture of corrections, recruiting and hiring qualified program staff who can pass background checks, and sharing data across partners. The COVID-19 pandemic posed additional challenges to providing in-person pre-release services given restrictions on entering facilities. This brief describes how the Pathway Home grantees awarded by DOL in 2021 established programs within correctional facilities, including the challenges they encountered and the solutions they identified to address those challenges.

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