National Institute of Justice National Institute of Justice. Research. Development. Evaluation. Office of Justice Programs
Crime Solutions.gov
skip navigationHome  |  Help  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map   |  Glossary
Reliable Research. Real Results. skip navigation
skip navigation Additional Resources:

skip navigation

Program Profile: EMPLOY (Minnesota)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on March 13, 2017

Program Summary

This is a prisoner-reentry employment program designed to reduce recidivism by helping participants find and retain employment after release from prison. It provides participants with employment assistance during the last several months of confinement through the first year following their release from prison. The program is rated Promising. Results suggested that participants in the program reported significantly lower rates of recidivism and higher rates of employment post-release.

Program Description

Program Goals
In 2006, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC) implemented EMPLOY, a prisoner-reentry employment program. The program was designed to help prisoners take advantage of the work experience and job skills gained through employment with Minnesota Correctional Industries (MINNCOR), the state’s prison industry program. In an effort to reduce recidivism, EMPLOY helps offenders locate, secure, and retain employment. Moreover, the program provides inmates with assistance to improve their readiness for post-release employment and offers community support for 1 year following release from prison.
 
Targeted Population/ Eligibility
EMPLOY is a voluntary program for inmates. Those interested in the program must submit an application and meet the following requirements: 1) have applied for the program within the last 5 years of their prison sentence, 2) have at least 6 months of current or prior MINNCOR work experience, and 3) have never been terminated as a result of negative terms from their MINNCOR position. Applicants who were terminated from their position with MINNCOR due to a lay off or transfer to another facility are still considered eligible for EMPLOY, if they have the required 6 months of experience.
 
Participants are generally not accepted into the program if they were placed in segregation in the previous year, or if they had any disciplinary convictions in the 6 months preceding the start of the program. Once accepted into EMPLOY, participants are expected to maintain a clean disciplinary record. If inmates are placed in segregation during the last year of their confinement or face a disciplinary conviction during the last 6 months of their confinement, then they must submit a one-page letter explaining changes they would make to ensure future success. Participants are given only one opportunity to write a letter explaining their actions; any further disciplinary convictions prior to their release results in automatic termination from the program.
 
Program Components
Once accepted into the program, participants meet with a job training specialist 60 to 90 days prior to their scheduled release date for two sessions. Inmates meet for two job sessions. Each session is 8 hours long and typically takes place in group settings, involving four to six participants. During the job sessions, the job training specialist focuses on skills assessments, drafting resumes, job-searching techniques, and interviewing skills. To remain in good standing with the program, participants must attend the job sessions and complete a resume.
 
One week prior to a participant’s release from prison, a job development specialist identifies jobs for the inmate, based on the individual's skills, work experience, and intended geographic area post-release. The job development specialist informs potential employers about the participant’s skills, work history, and criminal background. Moreover, the job development specialist inquires about the potential employer’s policy regarding individuals with felony backgrounds, and informs the potential employer that they are eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit if they decide to hire an EMPLOY participant.  Additionally, potential employers are also given information about the Minnesota Federal Bonding Service, which would protect employers in the event of employee theft of money or property.
 
Immediately after release, a retention specialist meets with the participant in the community and provides an employment portfolio. This portfolio contains copies of the participant’s resume, any certifications obtained, potential job leads, and any additional resources or tools (e.g., bus fare, clothing, supplies) to assist with job search. The retention specialist conducts follow-up meetings with participants, according to the following schedule: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after their release from prison. Participants who do not keep in contact with their assigned retention specialist are dropped from the program; participants who remain in contact for 1 full year after release from prison are considered program completers, regardless of whether they obtained employment.

Evaluation Outcomes

top border
Study 1
Reconviction
Duwe (2015) found that EMPLOY participants were significantly less likely to be reconvicted, compared with nonparticipants. Participation in EMPLOY reduced the likelihood of reconviction by 32 percent.
 
Rearrest
EMPLOY participants were significantly less likely to be rearrested, compared with nonparticipants. Results indicated that participation in EMPLOY reduced the likelihood of rearrest by 35 percent.
 
Reincarceration
EMPLOY participants were significantly less likely to be reincarcerated for a new sentence, compared with nonparticipants. Participation in EMPLOY reduced the likelihood of reincarceration by 55 percent.
 
Revocation
EMPLOY participants were significantly less likely to have their supervised release revoked for a technical violation, compared with nonparticipants. Results indicated that participation in EMPLOY reduced the likelihood of technical violation revocations by 63 percent, compared with nonparticipants in the comparison group.
 
Employment
Participation in EMPLOY significantly increased the chances of securing employment within the first 12 months after release from prison by 72 percent.
 
Hours Worked per Quarter
Participation in EMPLOY significantly increased the number of hours worked per quarter, compared with nonparticipants. EMPLOY participants worked 53 more hours per quarter than nonparticipants in the comparison group.
 
Hourly Wage
However, participation in EMPLOY did not have a significant impact on hourly wage.
bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top border
Study 1
Duwe (2015) used a quasi-experimental research design to evaluate the impact of Minnesota’s EMPLOY program on recidivism and post-release employment. The evaluation compared the recidivism rates and employment outcomes of inmates who participated in the program with those of a matched comparison group of nonparticipants who were released from prison between July 2006 and December 2008.
 
Between July 2006 and December 2008, 13,491 inmates were released from Minnesota prisons, including 249 EMPLOY participants and 13,242 nonparticipants. To determine the final sample, inmates who had fewer than 6 months of MINNCOR experience, had been segregated in the final 12 months of their prison stay, or had received a discipline conviction in the last 6 months of their prison stay were removed from the population of interest. To control for pre-incarceration employment history, inmates were matched on the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R). This resulted in a final study sample of 4,191, which included 232 EMPLOY participants and 3,959 nonparticipants (comparison group). Propensity score matching was used to individually match EMPLOY participants with inmates from the remaining 3,959 offenders eligible for the study. The EMPLOY group was approximately 78.5 percent male, 46.1 percent non-white, and had an average age of 37 years. The comparison group was 81.0 percent male, 42.7 percent non-white, and had an average age of 37.5 years. There were no significant differences between the groups on baseline characteristics.
 
The outcomes of interest included recidivism and post-release employment. Recidivism was measured as 1) rearrest, 2) reconviction, 3) reincarceration for a new sentence, and 4) revocation for a technical violation while on supervised release. Post-release employment measures included 1) any employment, 2) total number of hours worked, 3) hours worked per quarter, 4) total wages earned, and 5) hourly wage.
 
Recidivism data was collected through June 2010. The follow-up time for the offenders examined in this study ranged from 16 to 45 months, with an average of 28 months. Data on arrests and convictions was obtained from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, while reincarceration and revocation data was drawn from the Correctional Operations Management System (COMS) database managed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Post-release employment data was obtained from the Minnesota Department of Employee and Economic Development.
 
Cox regression models and survival analysis (hazard ratios) were used to estimate the impact of EMPLOY across the four recidivism measures, while multivariate logistic regression models were used to assess the effectiveness of EMPLOY on finding any employment. Both models controlled for variables that might have had an impact on recidivism and post-release employment such as sex, race, age, prior felony convictions, and length of stay. 
bottom border

Cost

top border
There is no cost information available for this program.
bottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Duwe, Grant. 2015. "The Benefits of Keeping Idle Hands Busy: An Outcome Evaluation of a Prisoner Reentry Employment Program." Crime & Delinquency 61(4): 559–86.

bottom border

Additional References

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Minnesota Department of Corrections. 2011. An Outcome Evaluation of MINNCOR’s EMPLOY Program. St. Paul: Minn. Minnesota Department of Corrections.

http://www.doc.state.mn.us/pages/files/large-files/Publications/03-11EMPLOYEvaluation.pdf
bottom border

Related Practices

top border
Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Correctional Work Industries
Correctional work industries are designed to provide work experiences for inmates while they are incarcerated. The practice is rated Promising for reducing crime and delinquency. Those who participated in correctional work industry programs were significantly less likely to recidivate than those who did not participate.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types



Corrections-Based Vocational Training Programs
Vocational training or career technical education programs in prison are designed to teach inmates about general employment skills or skills needed for specific jobs and industries. The practice is rated Promising in reducing recidivism, and in having a significant impact on participants obtaining employment following release from prison. Their odds were 28 percent higher than inmates who had not participated in training.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Employment & Socioeconomic Status - Job placement



Noncustodial Employment Programs for Ex-Offenders
This practice involves job training and career development for offenders with a recent criminal record in order to increase employment and reduce recidivism. These programs take place outside of the traditional custodial correctional setting, after offenders are released. The practice is rated No Effects in reducing criminal behavior for participants in noncustodial employment training programs compared with those who did not participate.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
bottom border


Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Vocational/Job Training, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Prisoners

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Program Developer:
Brenda Chandler
Vice-President
MINNCOR Industries
2420 Long Lake Road
Roseville MN 55113
Phone: 651.361.7505
Fax: 651.603.6472
Website
Email

Program Director:
JoAnn Brown
EMPLOY Program Supervisor
MINNCOR Industries
2420 Long Lake Road
Roseville MN 55113
Phone: 651.361.7518
Fax: 651.603.6472
Website
Email

Researcher:
Grant Duwe
Director of Research and Evaluation
Minnesota Department of Corrections
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 200
St. Paul MN 55108
Website
Email