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Washington State's Corrections Clearinghouse: A Comprehensive Approach to Offender Employment

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
19 pages
Publication Series
The Corrections Clearinghouse (CCH), a unit of the Washington State Employment Security Department, illustrates the State's commitment to preparing offenders for the workplace and finding employment for ex-offenders.
Founded in 1976, the CCH has pursued a broad range of strategies: (1) providing some direct services, for example, teaching job readiness courses in prisons and contracting with community-based organizations to provide job search assistance to ex-offenders; (2) brokering services available from other agencies, for example, bringing a community college and the State Department of Social and Health Services together to set up a for-credit college program that integrates job search assistance with substance abuse treatment for ex-offenders in recovery; and (3) coordinating activities across agencies, for example, arranging for inmates to produce and distribute the statewide computerized Case Management Resource Directory. The CCH attempts to provide a continuum of services to prison inmates that begins with an employability assessment during incarceration and ends with job placement and ongoing assistance after employment. The program adds transitional elements, including work ethics training, to meet the needs of different correctional institutions. In fiscal year 1997, almost 3,100 inmates completed a CCH employment or training activity available in 5 of the State's 15 correctional institutions. Through contracts with community-based organizations, the CCH provided job search assistance to more than 1,300 ex-offenders; 60 percent were placed in jobs at an average cost of $276 per client. After 45 days, 68 percent were still working. About 15 percent returned to custody after 5 years, compared to a rate of 30 percent for all releasees. The CCH also provides programs in Washington's juvenile facilities and assists local jails in establishing jail industries and other employment training programs. 4 notes, 4 exhibits, and 4 photographs

Date Published: July 1, 1999