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Texas' Project RIO (Re-Integration of Offenders)

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages
Publication Series
From its beginning as a two-city pilot program in Texas in 1985, Project RIO (Re-Integration of Offenders) has become one of the most ambitious State government programs devoted to placing parolees in jobs in the United States.
Project RIO operates through the Texas Workforce Commission and has more than 100 staff members in 62 offices who provide job placement services to nearly 16,000 parolees each year in every county of the State. In addition to its statewide coverage, Project RIO is unusual in several other respects. The program provides job preparation services to inmates while they are still incarcerated in State prisons so they will have a head start in postrelease job hunting. The program involves the close collaboration of two State agencies, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Project RIO has developed a pool of more than 12,000 employers who have hired parolees referred by the program. A 1992 evaluation of the program showed 69 percent of participants found employment, compared with 36 percent of a matched group of non-RIO parolees. One year after release, participants had worked at some time during more 3-month intervals than comparison group members. During the year after release, only 23 percent of high-risk participants returned to prison, compared with 38 percent of a comparable group of non-RIO parolees. Because Texas had the second-largest prison population in the United States in 1996, the Texas legislature increased Project RIO's budget to nearly $8 million. The link between employment and recidivism is discussed, and guidance for other States interested in setting up a similar program is offered. 6 notes, 3 exhibits, and 4 photographs

Date Published: January 1, 1998