This analysis of the impact of job training programs and other programs designed to assist ex-offenders in obtaining employment emphasizes that they have consistently failed to prevent recidivism although they have fostered financial independence for ex-offenders.
It is unclear as to why employment-assistance programs for ex-offenders fail to prevent recidivism. A number of these programs and their evaluation results are described. The programs include Baltimore's Living Insurance for Ex-prisoners (LIFE) experiment, The Transitional Aid Research Project (TARP), The National Supported Work Demonstration project, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), The Jobs Training and Partnership Act (JPTA), Job Corps, the Opportunity To Succeed (OPTS) program, and the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). Although these programs have not proven to be effective in reducing recidivism, this article concludes that they still provide researchers and program designers with the opportunity to set up "learning laboratories" where various types of services can be tested. Rigorous tests administered by independent evaluators at these "laboratories" will provide needed evidence of the specific benefits of these programs and why so many have failed to impact the recidivism of participants. 13 notes