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From Options to Action - A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work, PPV, 2008

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From Options to Action
A Roadmap for City Leaders to
Connect Formerly Incarcerated
Individuals to Work

Laura E. Johnson and
Renata Cobbs Fletcher
with Chelsea Farley

Pub l i c/ Pri v at e Vent ure s

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

Public/Private Ventures is a national nonprofit organization
that seeks to improve the effectiveness of social policies and
programs. P/PV designs, tests and studies initiatives that
increase supports, skills and opportunities of residents
of low-income communities; works with policymakers to
see that the lessons and evidence produced are reflected
in policy; and provides training, technical assistance and
learning opportunities to practitioners based on documented
effective practices.


Board of Directors

Research Advisory

Matthew McGuire, Chair
Vice President
Ariel Capital Management, Inc.
Frederick A. Davie
Public/Private Ventures
Yvonne Chan
Vaughn Learning Center
Jed Emerson
Advisor on Blended Value Investing and
The Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes
Judge, Court of Common Pleas
The First Judicial District,
Philadelphia, PA
Christine L. James-Brown
President and CEO
Child Welfare League of America
Robert J. LaLonde
The University of Chicago
John A. Mayer, Jr.
Retired, Chief Financial Officer
J.P. Morgan & Co.
Anne Hodges Morgan
Consultant to Foundations
Siobhan Nicolau
Hispanic Policy Development Project
Marion Pines
Senior Fellow
Institute for Policy Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Clayton S. Rose
Retired, Head of Investment Banking
J.P. Morgan & Co.
Cay Stratton
National Employment Panel
London, U.K.
Sudhir Venkatesh
Associate Professor
Columbia University
William Julius Wilson
Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University
Harvard University

Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Chair
University of Michigan
Robinson Hollister
Swarthmore College
Reed Larson
University of Illinois
Jean E. Rhodes
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Thomas Weisner

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

We would like to thank The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), the Robert F. Wagner Graduate
School of Public Service at New York University and the City of New York for their leadership and for helping us
transform the idea of a Mayors Summit on Reentry into reality.
We would also like to recognize the participation of the following mayors, deputy mayors, city leaders and others,
who made time to attend the event and serve as roundtable panelists, working group chairs, presenters and/or
moderators; their contributions were invaluable.
Mayors and Deputy Mayors:
Mayor Gregory A. Ballard, Indianapolis, IN
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York, NY
Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Elizabeth, NJ
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., New Haven, CT
Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, New York, NY
Mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr., Philadelphia, PA (1984-1992); Senior Advisor to P/PV
Mayor Willie W. Herenton, Memphis, TN
Deputy Mayor of Community and Human Development Salima Siler Marriott, Baltimore, MD
Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, Trenton, NJ; President of USCM
Mayor Wayne Smith, Irvington, NJ

State and City Leaders:
George B. Alexander, Chairman of the New York State Board of Parole
Conny Doty, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Jobs and Community Services, Boston
Martin F. Horn, Commissioner, New York City Departments of Correction and Probation
Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Kings County, NY
Jean Lewis, Deputy Director, Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, Baltimore
Kimberly Pelletreau, Deputy Director of Youth Opportunity, Boston
Yolette Ross, Vice Chairwoman, New Jersey State Parole Board
Angela Rudolph, Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago
Robert W. Walsh, Commissioner, New York City Department of Small Business Services
Academics, Practitioners and Funders:
Ira Barbell, Senior Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Tom Cochran, Executive Director and CEO of the United States Conference of Mayors
Fred Davie, President, P/PV
Renata Cobbs Fletcher, Vice President for Public Policy and Community Partnerships, P/PV
Gene Guerrero, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute
Michael P. Jacobson, Director, Vera Institute of Justice
Wendy McClanahan, Vice President for Research, P/PV
Ellen Schall, Dean, NYU Wagner
Mindy Tarlow, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, the Center for Employment Opportunities, New
York, NY, and Adjunct Associate Professor, NYU Wagner
Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

In all, representatives from the following cities participated in the Summit and/or provided input on
this publication, enriching the conversation immeasurably: Albany, NY; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL;
Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Elizabeth, NJ; Hartford, CT; Indianapolis, IN; Irvington, NJ; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Milwaukee, WI; New Haven, CT; Newark, NJ; New
York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Trenton, NJ;
and Washington, DC.
Finally, several individuals played a central role in planning the Summit, most notably Previn Warren and
Vaughn Crandall of the City of New York, Ed Somers of USCM, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Rogan Kersh of the Wagner Graduate School at NYU. Keri Faulhaber, Eric Colchamiro, Jamie Furgang,
Pam Block and Fenton Communications also provided critical support for the event. Sheila Maguire,
Carol Clymer, Marty Miles, Richard Greenwald and Liz London served as facilitators for the Summit’s
working group sessions. Kim Enoch was instrumental in both planning the Summit and in conducting
research for this publication. Fred Davie lent overall vision and guidance in the execution of the Summit
and the creation of this report.
Roberta Meyers-Peeples, of the National H.I.R.E. Network, reviewed a draft of the report, and Joe Chandler, of the State of North Carolina, and Don Murray, of the National Association of Counties, provided
helpful information on the Second Chance Act. Photos of the Summit are courtesy of Spencer T. Tucker.
Glenn Martin, of the Fortune Society, and Melissa Chalmers Broome, of Job Opportunities Task Force,
allowed us to reprint examples of their organizations’ public marketing campaigns. Penelope Malish
designed the report. Thanks to them all.


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	


Acknowledgments................................................................................................................... 3
Foreword: A Call to Act.......................................................................................................... 6
Executive Summary................................................................................................................ 7
Introduction............................................................................................................................ 10
1.	 Getting the Lay of the Land.......................................................................................... 13
Review the Research..............................................................14
Identify the Stakeholders........................................................14
Identify the Need....................................................................15
Leverage the Mayor’s Support...............................................16
Develop a Messaging Platform...............................................18
2.	 Assembling a Task Force.............................................................................................. 21
Convene the Members...........................................................22
Establish a Framework...........................................................23
Learn from Other Cities’ Experiences.....................................23
3.	 Making Collaboration Work.......................................................................................... 26
Collaborate Within City Government.......................................28
Collaborate With County, State and Federal Agencies............29
Foster Partnerships Between City Agencies and
CBOs and FBOs...........................................................31
Coordinate Data Collection and Analysis................................32
4.	 Addressing City-Level Barriers to Employment.......................................................... 35
Take an Inventory of Legal Barriers to Employment................36
Ensure Fair Hiring Practices in Your City.................................36
5.	 Engaging the Business Community............................................................................. 38
Educate Employers About Existing Incentives........................39
Provide City-Level Incentives..................................................39
Encourage a Business-Friendly Approach to Job Placement.39
Foster a Demand-Led Strategy..............................................40
Focus on Jobs That Stick......................................................40
6.	 Taking It to the Next Level............................................................................................ 41
Advocate for State and Federal Policy Change......................42
Recent Legislative Developments...........................................43
Conclusion............................................................................................................................. 44
Endnotes................................................................................................................................ 47
Appendix: Reentry Resources............................................................................................. 50


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	


Foreword: A Call to Act
by Fred Davie, President, Public/Private Ventures

The prison crisis is greater than ever, but so is our will to solve it.
The US incarcerates a greater percentage of our citizens than any other country—while we have only 5 percent of the world’s population, we have almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.1 Being the world’s leader in
incarceration is a dubious distinction indeed, and the churning in and out of prisons and jails undermines
programs established to lift up low-income communities, makes cities less safe and adds to the taxpayer burden. If we don’t implement solid strategies to help get former prisoners back on their feet, most will end up
back behind bars.
Thankfully, some of our nation’s leaders are beginning to take important steps toward addressing reentry issues, and mayors are leading the charge. This leadership was made clear on February 28, 2008, when
150 mayors and city leaders, funders, academics and practitioners from more than 20 cities joined us at a
national summit convened to tackle the challenges posed by prison and jail reentry. Because most inmates
come from—and return to—urban neighborhoods, it is city lawmakers who witness the devastating toll of
mass imprisonment and recidivism most vividly. The experiences and ideas that they shared at the Summit
inspired and informed this report.
Many states have also begun to make progress on the issue, and there is momentum at the federal level as
well, evidenced by the April 9, 2008, signing of the Second Chance Act. This legislation authorizes a new
stream of funding for reentry programs and was finally passed, thanks to years of hard work by a bipartisan
group of lawmakers in Washington.
These are promising developments, and we must seize the moment to push for further reforms.
Our goal should be to cut the national recidivism rate in half by 2012 by ensuring that formerly incarcerated
people have access to the resources they need to successfully reintegrate into society. Urban policymakers
need to make reentry a long-term priority: Cities should learn from one another’s experiences, partner with
the right groups, work for change at the state and federal level, and invest in research to ensure reentry programs’ effectiveness.
While America is a proud leader in many things, let’s make sure incarceration is no longer one of them.

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

Executive Summary


From Options to Action: Executive Summary	


n February 28, 2008, a group of 150
mayors, city leaders, funders, academics and practitioners from more than 20 cities gathered to share
effective strategies for connecting formerly incarcerated individuals to work.2 The same day the Mayors
Summit on Reentry and Employment convened
in New York, The Pew Charitable Trusts released
a sobering new report on incarceration rates that
gained media attention across the nation: “For the
first time, more than one in every 100 adults is now
confined in an American jail or prison.”3
This year, some 750,000 men, women and teens will
return from state and federal facilities—and many
more from city and county jails nationwide—most
to already fragile communities, with few social supports, job leads or marketable skills. Not surprisingly, the number who end up back behind bars is
staggering, and this cycling in and out of prisons
and jails takes a heavy toll on the American public.
Taxpayers currently spend over $60 billion per year
on corrections. But the costs are not all financial:
High recidivism rates strain already vulnerable
urban communities by creating crime and safety
issues, damaging families and proliferating an intergenerational cycle of crime.


Mayors Summit on Reentry and Employment, February 28, 2008.

While the costs of incarceration are spread across
local, state and federal governments, cities bear the
brunt of the expense for policing struggling communities. People returning from jails and prisons are
concentrated in urban neighborhoods—for example, in 2001, of the prisoners released in Maryland,
almost 60 percent returned to Baltimore City,4 and,
last year, approximately 70 percent of prison releases
in New York State returned to New York City.5
In light of this reality, city leaders have begun to
address reentry at the municipal level, developing
new collaborative approaches to curbing recidivism. This report was inspired by discussions about
these promising strategies that took place at the
Mayors Summit, as well as P/PV’s experience in the
reentry field and a review of relevant literature. It
is meant to provide a framework for reentry efforts
and includes guidance for cities in early planning phases as well as those implementing more
advanced strategies. The report presents six practical steps for achieving a more coordinated, comprehensive approach to reentry at the city level:

From Options to Action: Executive Summary	

1.	Getting the Lay of the Land. The planning phase

of any citywide reentry initiative involves crucial
early steps: reviewing pertinent research; identifying reentry stakeholders; evaluating areas and
populations most in need; leveraging mayoral
support; and developing a strong messaging
platform to build political will and momentum
for reentry efforts. These steps will create a solid
foundation for the work to come.
2.	Assembling a Task Force. Cities should develop

a reentry task force that includes a broad range
of partners—including state and county officials,
community- and faith-based organizations, local
educational institutions, business associations
and employers, and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families—that come together
regularly to share data and address challenges
and opportunities. To ensure the effectiveness of
this task force, it is critical to establish: a stated
focus, a clear timeline and set of goals, common
measures of success, designated roles and responsibilities, and ongoing communication.
3.	 Making Collaboration Work. Collaboration among

city agencies, state and county governments, and
community- and faith-based organizations is crucial for successful reentry efforts. City leaders are
in a position to convene these partners and collectively devise workable strategies. They can also
reinforce the importance of coordinated data collection and analysis among these entities.
4.	Addressing City-Level Barriers to Employment.

Cities should take a comprehensive inventory of
legal barriers to employment, such as licensing
bans that prevent former prisoners from working in certain industries, and eliminate those
that have no relationship to the types of crimes
committed. Cities should also lead by example—ensuring that their own hiring practices
don’t unfairly discriminate against people with
criminal records.
5.	Engaging the Business Community. Cities can

play a key role in encouraging employers to hire
formerly incarcerated people by educating them
about existing federal and state incentives, such
as tax credits and bonding insurance; by creating
new city-level incentives, such as wage reimbursements; or by partnering with local businesses to
create ongoing employment opportunities that
benefit all parties.


6.	Taking It to the Next Level. Although cities play

a pivotal role in shaping effective reentry policies, they are bound by state and federal laws.
City leaders should work together with state and
federal officials to influence policies that affect
them. Thoughtful policies concerning access to
Pell grants for incarcerated students, payment of
child support arrearages accrued during incarceration or access to government benefits and
work supports may go a long way in helping people succeed after they are released from prison.
By taking the steps outlined above, cities can make
significant progress in creating a more coordinated,
intentional approach to reentry that will foster
long-term solutions. The benefits of creating and
maintaining effective reentry policies cannot be
overstated; they include saving taxpayers money,
enhancing public safety, attracting investment,
strengthening families and improving the lives of
children who are adversely impacted when a parent
is incarcerated.
With rates of incarceration that greatly exceed those
of any other industrialized nation and at any other
time in US history,6 America is certainly far from
where we need to be, but there is hope. Public support for reentry initiatives is growing, and the February 28 Summit was a testament to the leading role
that mayors and cities are playing in the creation
of effective policies. The discussions at the Summit
made it clear—the more cities do to make reentry a
long-term priority by benefiting from the lessons of
other cities and continuing to learn from their own
experience, the more effective services will become.
Cities must partner with the right groups, actively
advocate for needed changes at state and federal
levels, and continue efforts to rigorously determine
what works and what doesn’t.
Because cities are confronted with the day-to-day
reality of reentry and see its detrimental effects in
their communities, mayors and other municipal
leaders have already begun to actively seek out, test
and refine lasting solutions. And, if states and the
federal government provide much needed support,
there is every reason to think that these leaders will
be able to make considerable progress toward the
kind of long-term change that is needed.

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	



From Options to Action: Introduction	


n February 28, 2008, a group of
150 mayors, city leaders, funders, academics and
practitioners from more than 20 cities gathered for
the Mayors Summit on Reentry and Employment
to share effective strategies for connecting formerly
incarcerated individuals to work.7 The same day, The
Pew Charitable Trusts released a sobering report that
included new statistics on incarceration rates that
gained media attention across the nation: “For the
first time, more than one in every 100 adults is now
confined in an American jail or prison.”8
Summit participants were well aware of the grim
statistics. “Every year, since 1972, in times of war, in
times of peace, in good economic times, in bad economic times, when crime is going up, when crime
is going down, every year, we have put more people
in prison,” Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay
College of Criminal Justice, noted in his opening
remarks. “We also tend to forget as a nation that,
with the exception of those few who die in prison,
they will all come back.” This year, some 750,000
men, women and teens will return from state and
federal facilities—and many more from city and
county jails nationwide—most to already fragile
communities, with few social supports, job leads or
marketable skills.
Not surprisingly, the number who end up back
behind bars is staggering: Approximately two out of
three returning inmates are rearrested within three
years of their release; just over half are reincarcerated.9 These high rates of recidivism contribute to
escalating federal and state prison spending: Currently, American taxpayers spend more than $60
billion a year on corrections.10
While the costs of incarceration are spread across
local, state and federal governments, cities bear the
brunt of the expense for policing struggling communities. People returning from jails and prisons
are concentrated in urban neighborhoods—for
example, in 2001, of the prisoners released in
Maryland, almost 60 percent returned to Baltimore
City11 and, last year in New York State, approximately 70 percent of prison releasees returned to


New York City12. Beyond direct financial costs, there
are also “opportunity costs” associated with broad
swaths of unemployed, unproductive citizens who
have few options for creating better lives for themselves and their families.
To address this reality, Public/Private Ventures
(P/PV), The United States Conference of Mayors
(USCM), the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of
Public Service at New York University and the City
of New York convened “From Options to Action:
The Mayors Summit on Reentry and Employment”
to begin a dialogue among city leaders about effective reentry strategies. The Summit opened with an
address from Jeremy Travis, followed by presentations from New York City, Chicago, Boston and
Baltimore about their approaches to reentry, along
with discussions of federal and state advocacy and
strategies to reduce legal barriers to employment
led, respectively, by Gene Guerrero of the Open
Society Institute and Ira Barbell from the Annie E.
Casey Foundation. These presentations were delivered to a panel of academics and city leaders (mayors, deputy mayors and one district attorney), who
were able to engage in a productive dialogue with
the speakers that continued into afternoon working
group sessions. Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, the
current president of USCM, provided critical leadership throughout the day, and Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg of New York delivered a powerful keynote address. The Summit closed with reflections
on the day from Michael Jacobson, the director of
the Vera Institute of Justice.
Tom Cochran, the executive director and CEO of
USCM, asserted in his opening remarks, “The success of this meeting will be what you take home.”
We hope this publication will allow city leaders to
build on the ideas shared at the Summit—to begin
meaningful dialogue about reentry in their cities
or to strengthen existing efforts. This report is not
meant to be exhaustive but is intended to give cities
a roadmap that points them to the many resources
available from P/PV and countless other organizations that have sought out and tested effective
reentry strategies. In addition to links throughout

From Options to Action: Introduction	

the report, we provide an appendix with a more
comprehensive list of resources and organizations
doing reentry work. We also include short “case
studies” submitted by cities that were represented at
the Summit or that we communicated with during
its planning.13
The report is designed to provide cities with a
framework for implementing a more coordinated,
intentional approach to reentry that will foster
long-term solutions. It should be useful to cities at
various stages, from early planning phases to more
advanced collaborative efforts. Not every strategy
or reentry model included here will make sense in
every context, but it is our hope that the ideas presented will provide a menu of options for city leaders determined to interrupt the revolving door of
recidivism—and offer hope to returning prisoners,
their families and communities.


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

1. Getting the Lay of the Land	


From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	


he planning phase of any citywide
reentry initiative involves crucial early steps: reviewing relevant research; identifying reentry stakeholders; evaluating the areas and populations most in
need; leveraging mayoral support; and developing a
strong messaging platform. These steps will create a
solid foundation for the work to come.

Review the Research
As rates of incarceration have continued to skyrocket nationwide, available research on effective
strategies for prison and jail reentry has also grown
tremendously. Before beginning any reentry initiative, city leaders should consult the literature and
potentially engage academics and thought leaders
on the subject of what works and what doesn’t.

Reentry Resources
•	 Center for Law and Social Policy:
•	 The Fortune Society:
•	 Justice Center, The Council of State
•	 The Justice Policy Institute:
•	 Legal Action Center:
•	 MDRC:
•	 National H.I.R.E. Network:
•	 The National Institute of Justice:
•	 Pew Charitable Trusts:
•	 Prisoner Reentry Institute, John Jay College
of Criminal Justice:
•	 Public/Private Ventures:
•	 Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center:
•	 Vera Institute of Justice:
For a more complete list, please see the
Appendix on page 50.


Identify the Stakeholders
As conversations during the Summit made clear,
the first priority for cities beginning to address
reentry is to establish an understanding of the
many players who are involved in reintegrating
formerly incarcerated people into local communities. In addition to those who are already doing
this work, city leaders should think broadly about
who else could be a valuable ally. Along with local
departments of corrections and probation and
community- or faith-based organizations with a
reentry focus, a range of partners should be considered during this planning phase:
•	 City agencies. While cities’ specific agency structures differ, the agencies that oversee corrections,
probation, child welfare, child support, public
housing and public benefits (cash assistance,
food assistance, Earned Income Tax Credits,
etc.) should be brought to the table. It is also
worth including other government entities that
can provide connections to the business community or access to job training, such as Workforce
Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Centers.
•	 State and county officials. In most cities, jurisdiction over the local jail is not a function of city
government, so identifying key collaborators in
the county jail system is a critical step, as is working with state corrections and parole officials.
•	 Community-based organizations (secular and
faith-based). Broadly speaking, these organizations, which have knowledge of and access to the
local community, can provide mentoring, social
services, job training and job placement services.
•	 Local educational institutions. These can include
GED programs; alternative high schools for
delinquent youth; providers of adult basiceducation classes; community colleges; specialized
work-learning programs for youthful offenders;
vocational and technical schools; and training
programs tailored to the reentry population.
Public libraries also play a key role in many communities by helping low-income people access
Internet and job-search resources.

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	

•	 Business associations/employers. Invaluable partners for reentry and employment organizations,
both business associations and individual employers can provide access to jobs and career and
wage advancement.
•	 Universities and academics. Nearby colleges and
universities can help provide research assistance
or form student organizations dedicated to promoting awareness of the issue.
•	 Formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Those who have had firsthand experience
with coming home from prison or jail provide
an important voice in any conversation about
reentry services.
Once a comprehensive list has been established,
city leaders will be able to more accurately assess
the work that is—and is not—already being done
in their city. This process lays the groundwork for
effective collaboration (see Assembling a Task Force
on page 21).

Reentry Mapping Resources
•	 The Reentry Mapping Network, a project of
the Urban Institute, is “designed to create
community change through the mapping
and analysis of neighborhood-level data
related to reentry and community well-being.”
More information, and an “action research
guidebook” on mapping, can be found at:
•	 Since 1997, the National Institute of Justice’s
Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety
(MAPS) program has supported research into
spatial aspects of crime and mapping and
analysis for evaluating programs and policy.
MAPS also develops data sharing, mapping
and spatial analysis tools. More information
can be found at:
•	 The Police Foundation has developed a guide
for outlining spatial trends associated with
reentering populations, including the locations
of returning individuals, reentry services
and resources, and parole offices. Mapping
for Community Based Prisoner Reentry
Efforts: A Guidebook for Law Enforcement
Agencies and Their Partners can be
accessed at:


Identify the Need
Community data mapping can prove useful to cities
trying to effectively target services and programs to
people returning from incarceration. In addition to
the resources provided here, websites of state and
county departments of corrections can provide a
wealth of information.
Targeting Neighborhoods

In every city, certain neighborhoods absorb more
returning prisoners than others. Generally, these
are low-income communities struggling with a host
of interrelated problems—unemployment, poverty,
crime, social isolation. For example, statistics gathered by the Urban Institute show that, in the state
of Illinois, not only are releases most highly concentrated in Chicago, but a substantial portion (34 percent of those returning to the city) are going back to
6 of 77 Chicago communities.14 In Cleveland, a similar pattern emerges: 28 percent of those returning
go back to only 5 of Cleveland’s 36 communities.15
City leaders may be well aware of the communities
of high-density return, but efforts to quantify and
document these patterns can be valuable: They provide concrete guidance about where to concentrate
efforts and what types of resources exist or must
be developed to do so. The results can also inform
your list of stakeholders—those living and working
in the most affected neighborhoods will be critical
to include in any planning process.
Targeting Populations

Pinpointing specific subsets of the reentry population that are most in need of services can also help
guide how cities should invest. Much research has
been done to identify the distinct needs of these
various groups—and targeted services may be more
effective. Summit participants touched on some of
these distinctions:
•	 Women. Since 1980, the population of women
prisoners has been growing at twice the rate of
men, and, in 2006, it increased at its fastest clip
in five years.16 In addition to the obstacles all
ex-prisoners face, women returning from incarceration often contend with distinct challenges,
including greater pressure to support a family,
child custody issues, fewer economic resources
and histories of sexual and physical abuse.

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	


•	 Jail Population. A report commissioned by the
Urban Institute’s Jail Reentry Roundtable in 2006
notes that jails differ from prisons in their shorter length of stay, higher number of people who
pass through each year, higher rates of recidivism and the greater difficulty of providing prerelease services to this population.17, 18 The Urban
Institute recently released a report profiling 42
jail reentry strategies from across the country,
with an emphasis on community collaboration.
Life after Lockup: Improving Reentry from Jail to the
Community and an accompanying toolkit for jail
administrators are available at
•	 Youth. The Urban Institute has also done work
related to youth reentry. According to research it
released in January 2004, each year approximately
200,000 juveniles and young adults age 24 and
under return from secure juvenile correctional
facilities or state and federal prison.19 The Urban
Institute notes: “Because young people in their
teens and early twenties undergo considerable
physical, mental and emotional changes, the process and experience of youth reentry may fundamentally differ from what adults face.”20
•	 Parents. According to Bureau of Justice statistics
gathered in 2000, on any given day 7.1 million
children have a parent in prison or under state
or federal supervision.21, 22 Returning parents
must deal with child support obligations that
accrue as they serve time, in addition to the challenges of reconnecting with their children and
negotiating complex family relationships.

Leverage the Mayor’s Support
“You don’t have to raise a bunch of money—
it’s a question of leadership on the part of the
—Ira Barbell, senior associate at the
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Mayors have the political capital to make reentry a
part of their cities’ agendas and can hold partners
and city agencies accountable for their successes
and failures. The discussions at the Summit suggested that while reentry may not be an easy issue

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on
Why Cities Should Invest in This Issue
“This is an issue that we all have a stake in.
Because if someone leaving our jails and prisons
decides that the only way he or she can survive
is by breaking the law again, then everyone’s
safety is at risk.… It’s in everybody’s interest to
make sure we do everything we can to get to
these young men and women who go through our
criminal justice system, get them the education
they need, so that’s not the only way that they can
feed themselves…. We have to understand that
people need our help and that we should do it for
compassionate reasons, but there’s also a great
economic reason. If we want to leave our children
a better city, a better country, a better life, we’ve
got to stop this turnstile justice.”

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	

for mayors to tackle, their involvement is essential.
As Mayor Willie Herenton of Memphis asserted,
“The mayor is probably in the most pivotal leadership role to set the tone for acceptance of reentry
than any other political leader in our community. If
that mayor is passionate about it, if that mayor has
authority, if that mayor has connections with the
corporate community—you can make a difference.”
Because citywide reentry initiatives require intense
collaboration among a variety of stakeholders (both
public and private), a clear vision and commitment
from the top will be necessary to inspire action,
monitor results and make midcourse corrections to
the overall strategy. Collectively, mayors may also be
able to advocate for policy changes at the county,
state and federal levels that drastically affect cities’
ability to effectively address the needs of returnees.


Mayors can:
•	 Insist that relevant city agencies make reentry a
•	 Create mechanisms for city agencies to collaborate, and establish goals and benchmarks to
ensure accountability among the partners.
•	 Leverage relationships with the business community, and work reentry issues into existing
economic development efforts.
•	 Urge community-based organizations to play a
role in the city’s reentry efforts.
•	 Be a public champion for the issue, using this
influence to encourage collaboration with
county, state and federal agencies.
•	 Advocate for change, as needed, in county, state
and federal policies.

Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on Why Mayors?
Now, an observer could reasonably ask, why should mayors care about prisoner reentry; after all, aren’t prisons
and parole a function of state government, state legislatures and colleagues at the state level? And in many
jurisdictions, jails and probation supervision are the functions of counties or another form of government. So, why
should a mayor take on issues that are the domain of other elected officials?
I think the answer to these questions is quite simple. Around the country, mayors have decided to get involved in
reentry policy because they recognize that the well-being of their cities and in particular of the communities that are
struggling with the greatest burdens of disadvantage is inextricably linked with the operations of our society’s systems
of incarceration and community supervision.… So the involvement of mayors is an important political development.
Mayors are important for a second reason. They have authority over services that are essential to successful reentry.…
The most robust and interesting innovative models of supervision are now community based, with the [parole or
probation] officer playing [the] role of service broker, combined with network manager—and sometimes even community
organizer. In this model, it is important to bring all the right resources to the table: housing, employment, health care,
child welfare. And the institutions of community: the faith institutions, the civic associations. Many of these, particularly
service agencies, are under mayoral control. So the mayor is important for that reason, as well.
But I want to argue to you that this role of mayor extends far beyond that of a leader or manager. I believe that, to
be effective, the mayor must see the links between incarceration and critical policy goals that are part of his or her
local mandate. An effective mayor, in my view, will realize the following truths:
The truth that to reduce homelessness in his or her city, it is critical to ensure that people not leave prison or jails
and go straight to homeless shelters....The truth that to reduce poverty and improve employment outcomes for those
hardest to employ, we must see the connection between imprisonment and unemployment and develop transitional
job programs to counteract the harmful effects of incarceration on lifetime earnings. The truth that to reduce drug use,
we must recognize that three quarters of the people in prison or in jail have histories of drug addiction—ensure that
they receive treatment while in prison or jail and provide priority access to drug treatment during reentry to reduce the
high rate of relapse. And finally, an effective mayor, interested in reducing crime rates, will understand the importance
of securing the safe return home of thousands of individuals who come back from prison or jail each month….
The involvement of mayors represents a tremendous asset to us (in this work).

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	

Develop a Messaging Platform
“I really feel in many respects this is a political
question…. So, how do you build political
consensus for these things, particularly if you’ve
got different bureaucracies and elected officials
that are not [in] the place where the crime occurs
or where the folks are discharged?”
—Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., New Haven
During the Summit, there was much discussion
about how to build political support for reentry
initiatives. The press has tended to focus on sensationalizing criminals, with an “if it bleeds, it leads”
mentality, reinforcing society’s fears about “ex-cons.”
As the Urban Institute has noted, “For many citizens,
the issue of prisoners and their return to society may
be met with fear; media coverage of released prisoners committing heinous crimes makes up the extent
of many people’s knowledge of criminal offenders.”23 In his keynote address, Mayor Bloomberg
asserted, “This is an issue that most politicians have
traditionally turned their backs on and continue
to neglect…. It’s not just a complex problem.
Politically, it’s a ‘third rail;’ people leaving jails and
prisons are not a powerful constituency.” With this
public opinion backdrop, what is needed to galvanize political support for prisoner reentry programs?
A strong message.
Hone Your Argument

Mayor Palmer of Trenton told a familiar story at
the Summit: “When we started our reentry program, people would come up to me, saying, ‘Well,
I haven’t committed a crime. I haven’t done nothing,’ they said. ‘Mayor, what do I have to do? Rob
somebody to get a job?’” While the reentry issue
poses unique messaging challenges, it is clear from
the dialogue that took place at the Summit that city
leaders have been able to articulate important and
compelling reasons to support prisoner reentry programs, including:
Saving taxpayers’ money. Effective reentry strategies
have the potential to reduce annual incarceration
costs, which range from $44,860 (in Rhode Island)
to $13,009 (in Louisiana),24 with an average cost of


$23,000 per year.25 And, as Gene Guerrero, senior
policy analyst at the Open Society Institute, noted:
“There are 13 states now where they spend more
than a billion dollars a year on corrections. In California, it’s $8.8 billion a year.” Connecting formerly
incarcerated people to the labor market also generates new revenue by turning individuals who might
have been a drain on the economy into taxpaying
citizens. As Linda Gibbs, New York City Deputy
Mayor for Health and Human Services, explained
at the Summit, “The cost of not doing is higher
than the cost of doing. And the investments in the
training, transitional work support and housing
assistance is lower than the cost of reincarceration,
shelter stays and emergency room treatment that
they’ll receive without services.”
Hidden costs of incarceration and recidivism. The
costs aren’t all financial—and aren’t only borne by
those who cycle in and out of the correctional system. As New York City Commissioner of Correction
and Probation Martin Horn noted, “The cost of
these men exiting these communities is devastating
the family structure and forming a whole cascade of
issues around children and academic performance
and their social skills. And I think that there’s good
tracking of how communities have been impacted
by the loss of these men—what it means to their
Public safety. More and more, leaders are realizing
that reentry programs—once denounced by some
policymakers as “soft on crime”—are actually an
indispensable part of any broader effort to promote
public safety. During the Summit, Brooklyn, NY, District Attorney Charles Hynes, who has spearheaded
a number of innovative reentry and diversion programs, asserted: “People have to understand this
is all about public safety: Six out of ten people go
back to prison within three years, and they don’t
go back for jaywalking. They go back because they
reoffend.” Effective reentry programs can prevent
crime and keep neighborhoods safe.
Community benefits. Providing support to this
population results in tangible benefits for the rest
of the community: Commissioner Horn stressed
that reentry must be “in the context of community
building…. Your ability to attract economic development, your ability to attract business, is a function

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	

of your ability to deal with crime. And this is part of
breaking the cycle of criminality…. You have to find
a language to talk about it in that context.”
A good message should be clear, concise and compelling; it should be easy to repeat and for all partners to confidently articulate.
Jean Lewis, Deputy Director of the Mayors
Office on Criminal Justice, on the Reality of
Reentry at Baltimore’s Reentry Center
“I think you only have to go to this place one time
to see how many people there are waiting in line
right at 8:30 in the morning when it opens. How
many people are in the computer labs, I mean,
truly trying to change the path that they were
on. And I think that’s something that can really
combat...this whole notion that it’s not politically
possible to get everybody interested in doing
this...that we’ve got a bunch of couch potatoes
who aren’t trying to change their lives. It’s just not
true for a lot of the people.”

Be Strategic

Armed with solid arguments, city leaders can generate public support for reentry initiatives. Summit
participants discussed a number of strategies that
can be used as part of an intentional public relations effort to inform citizens, employers and legislators of the benefits of investing in this population.
These include:
•	 Focus on success stories. Encourage media coverage of individuals who have turned their lives
around after incarceration by widely distributing press releases that celebrate success. These
stories help put a “human face” on the reentry
issue, making it easier for the average person to
relate to those returning from incarceration.
•	 Nurture relationships. Reach out to journalists
who cover these issues, as they can be important
allies in promoting reentry strategies. Pitch positive stories, and think broadly about the types of
stories that might have a reentry angle. For example, as part of National Public Radio’s yearlong
series Housing First, ex-prisoners were identified
as a target group that has dire housing needs,
bringing the issue to a national audience.26


•	 Tie reentry to other popular mayoral priorities.
For instance, in Chicago, Mayor Richard M.
Daley has been working to incorporate rehabilitating those returning from prison and jails into
his “green initiatives,” which focus on environmental sustainability.27
•	 Seek out allies. A number of organizations work
to improve public perceptions of formerly incarcerated people and to shed light on successful
reentry initiatives, such as:
•	 The Reentry National Media Outreach
•	 Human Media:
•	 360 Degrees:
•	 Center for Social Media:
Combat “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard)

Even if a strategic messaging campaign is able to
galvanize general public support for reentry initiatives, individual citizens might be reluctant to hire
someone with a criminal record at their own business or support the development of long-term housing for returnees in their neighborhood. Several
promising public outreach and community involvement strategies have emerged to address this issue,
for example:
•	 The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction has established a network of “Citizen
Circles,” with the understanding that “citizen
participation and guidance is essential for correctional practices inside and outside institutions.”
The goal of the Circles is to allow formerly incarcerated individuals and their families to “develop
relationships with members of the community
and together develop a plan to help the offender
become accepted as a productive citizen and
member of the community.”28 See www.drc.state. for more
•	 In 2004, Centerforce, a community-based organization in California, initiated the “Ex-Prisoners
Are Family Too” campaign to combat the social
stigma formerly incarcerated individuals often
face upon their return. The ads feature family

From Options to Action: Getting the Lay of the Land	

members of individuals returning from prison—a
son, a brother and a wife—with slogans encouraging public support for programs that will help
provide “a job, a place to live and healthcare” for
their loved one. The ads appear on billboards,
bus shelters, subway interiors, in print and
online. See
posters.cfm for more information.
•	 The PastForward public marketing campaign
was recently launched by Baltimore’s Job
Opportunities Task Force with the slogan
“Hiring ex-offenders is good business.” Using
a variety of outlets, the campaign’s goal is to
encourage employers to think about employing
formerly incarcerated people as a smart business
decision, not charity. See www.pastforwardmd.
org for more information.

Pastforward marketing campaign.


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

2. Assembling a Task Force


From Options to Action: Assembling a Task Force	


hroughout the country, as the number
of men and women returning from jails and prisons each year continues to grow, many cities have
begun to address the issue by establishing reentry
“task forces.” These task forces have taken a variety
of forms—experts who come together to study the
issue and make official recommendations or groups
that meet regularly to share data and address local
challenges and opportunities.

Convene the Members
Regardless of the structure and explicit purpose set
for the group, any task force should involve the key
stakeholders identified during the planning phase
(see page 14). Summit participants stressed two
groups that tend to be overlooked during this process:
The Business Community

Encouraging local business leaders to serve on your
reentry task force and engaging local employee
associations, such as the local chamber of commerce, can prove critical to success for a variety
of reasons. Aside from providing valuable insight
into the needs of the employers in your city, these
businesses can become active partners to local organizations working to place returning individuals in
jobs—participating in mock job fairs or providing
feedback on program strengths and weaknesses.


They are in a unique position to address potential
anxieties and open doors for returnees, as they can
help introduce other businesses to the benefits of
employing former prisoners.
Washington, DC, has developed a task force that
focuses specifically on engaging the local business community. Spearheaded by Mayor Adrian Fenty in April
2008, the DC Ex-Offender Workforce Development
Taskforce comprises the DC Chamber of Commerce,
area trade unions, retail business establishments and
public stakeholders. The group’s main objectives are to
educate the business community about reentry issues
and build collaborative alliances that will support the
employment of returning residents of the District.29
Beyond engaging local small businesses, there was
much discussion during the Summit about how to
engage “Fortune 500” companies as partners in hiring
formerly incarcerated individuals. Mayor Herenton
of Memphis emphasized, “I have been attempting as
a mayor [to] break the barriers among the Fortune
500 companies…. I think there’s a whole new arena of
partnerships somehow or another.” While several city
leaders and practitioners mentioned that they typically
worked with more small to midsize businesses, taking
such partnerships to the “next level” was certainly of
interest. Together, mayors may be in a good position
to collectively work toward convincing larger businesses of the benefits of partnering with employment
and training organizations to recruit and hire formerly incarcerated people.

Washington DC’s Office on Ex-Offender Affairs (OEOA)
In 2006, city leaders, activists and other concerned District residents advocated for the establishment of an office
at the cabinet level that would be solely responsible for advising the Executive of the interests, cares and concerns
of the District’s formerly incarcerated population. Once elected, Mayor Adrian Fenty, who had worked to develop
the legislation as a City Council Member, established the OEOA in the Executive Office of the Mayor.
The OEOA employs 3 full-time equivalent staff, along with approximately 15 regular and volunteer trained counselors
who provide assistance with housing, employment, education/training, health and substance abuse treatment. The
OEOA has a strong outreach component that involves participation in community and town hall meetings, door-todoor outreach, and establishing and maintaining numerous community partnerships.

From Options to Action: Assembling a Task Force	

Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

The importance of engaging formerly incarcerated
individuals also should not be overlooked. These
individuals have first-hand experience with the
challenges of reentry—a perspective that can be
invaluable for task forces focused on reentry policy
and programming.
Many city leaders have also applied this logic by
filling positions related to reentry with individuals
who have been in the correctional system. Recently,
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter appointed
Ronald L. Cuie, who was formerly incarcerated, to
serve as the director of the Mayor’s Office for the
Re-Entry of Ex-Offenders. Similarly, in Indianapolis,
Mayor Gregory Ballard selected Rev. Olgen Williams
as his first deputy mayor; Williams, who was incarcerated, has spent the last 12 years running a faithbased organization in Indianapolis that gave him a
second chance.30 In Washington, DC, Mayor Fenty
recently created the Office on Ex-Offender Affairs
and selected Rodney C. Mitchell, who served time
in prison, to act as its director.

Establish a Framework
Regardless of the group’s format and who is
involved, any task force should examine relevant
case studies about promising practices, as well
as credible research about what works and what
doesn’t. In addition, ensuring that the task force
has the following components in place at the start
will be critical to success:
•	 Stated focus. Decide as a group what the task
force will focus on, whether it be one specific
issue, such as health or housing for returning
individuals, or a broader agenda, like assessing
reentry needs for all populations throughout the
•	 Clear set of goals and timeline for when they will
be accomplished. Establish if the task force will
ultimately be responsible for implementation, or
if it will just make recommendations to be carried
out by others. Set a realistic timeline with finite
goals to be accomplished at each point in time.
•	 Common measures of success. Determine how
members of the task force will know when they
have achieved set benchmarks and what measures of success they will use.


•	 Designated roles and responsibilities. Make it
clear who is accountable for what, and who is
ultimately in charge. This will likely depend on
your city’s governance structure, but it should be
someone with substantive experience (especially
if there is an implementation component) as well
as the influence and power to get people in the
room and make things happen.
•	 Ongoing interaction. Regular meetings should be
scheduled for all players both during the planning phases and after recommendations have
been made (or implementation has taken place)
to ensure continued effectiveness.

Learn from Other Cities’ Experiences
Many cities have implemented reentry task forces,
and their experiences provide valuable lessons.
When leaders from different municipalities are
willing to “compare notes” and speak frankly about
what has worked and what hasn’t, their efforts will
be greatly strengthened.
Some examples of city task forces are described
•	 Baltimore, MD. In October 2002, under the
direction of former Mayor Martin O’Malley, the
Mayor’s Office of Employment Development
(MOED) facilitated the creation of the Baltimore
Citywide Ex-Offender Task Force. The Task
Force membership grew to include more than
100 government agencies—state and city—and
community partners. Through work in committees, task force members explored the challenges
formerly incarcerated individuals faced and
presented their findings and recommendations
in a comprehensive report issued by MOED in
December 2003.31 Since that time, Mayor Sheila
Dixon has convened a Mayoral Prisoner Reentry
Implementation Council—a consortium of the
leaders of various local agencies, representatives
of the state criminal justice system, and representatives of several local foundations—that is
charged with implementing the Task Force’s
recommendations. The Council, which is facilitated by the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice,
includes a working jail reentry subcommittee.32

From Options to Action: Assembling a Task Force	

•	 Elizabeth, NJ. In Union County, NJ, where the
city of Elizabeth is located, there are two county
task forces hard at work. One of the task forces
is run by the State Parole Board, and the other
is run by county agencies. These task forces are
focused on specific prisoner reentry issues, such
as driver’s license restitution, criminal record
expungement and expungement of child support arrears. In the years to come, the task
forces “might become more formalized and
focused on developing a countywide strategy for
prisoner reentry and on advocating at the local,
state and national levels for resources to support
this reentry strategy.”33
•	 Newark, NJ. Mayor Cory Booker has assembled
a team of experts to advance the city’s reentry
agenda. With public and private dollars, the city
has already established a One-Stop program at
Essex Community College to deliver needed
social services. Going forward, they plan to work
to build the capacity of local community- and
faith-based organizations to deliver a set of core
services, including case management, employment training and placement, mentoring and
other social supports.
•	 Oakland, CA. The city’s Project Choice program, which provides supports for young returnees, is led by the Reentry Steering Committee
(RSC). In addition to providing guidance for
the program, the RSC also “works to affect the
systems change necessary to create conditions
for success for returning prisoners.” Made up of
representatives from across city, county and state
agencies, the Steering Committee also includes
program participants and their families. Project
Choice is a program of Oakland’s Department
of Human Services.34


•	 Providence, RI. Initiated by the Mayor’s Office,
the Providence Reentry Steering Committee
was established to create a coordinated and
comprehensive approach to delivering services
to formerly incarcerated people. The Steering
Committee plans to establish two types of working groups, one around program areas (such
as housing and employment) and another for
specific communities with high concentrations of
returnees. The working groups will address both
policy and implementation of reentry services.
•	 San Diego, CA. The San Diego Reentry
Roundtable convenes on a monthly basis in
the offices of the San Diego County District
Attorney. Its members “represent every facet of
the criminal justice system—from correctional
institutions, parole, probation, law enforcement,
faith-based and community-based organizations,
to governmental agencies, researchers, universities, former prisoners and family members,
and concerned community members.”35 The
Roundtable does not provide direct services but
aims to “promote best practices and eliminate
barriers to successful reentry.”36
•	 San Francisco, CA. The city of San Francisco
currently has two councils dedicated to prisoner
reentry. The first council, the San Francisco
Reentry Council (SFRC), is made up of agencies
from across the city and focuses on employment,
working with the local business community to
connect nonviolent offenders with training and
jobs. The second council, the Safe Communities
Reentry Council (SCRC), includes formerly
incarcerated individuals, city, state, and federal
partners, and community- and faith-based organizations; it focuses on improving programs and
policies related to safe and successful reentry of
adults from county jails and state and federal

New Haven’s Emerging Reentry Efforts
As of March 2008, the City of New Haven had begun seeking funding to create and support a reentry agenda that
would couple a citywide reentry strategy (coordinated out of City Hall) with a neighborhood-based pilot informed
by best practices. The pilot will focus on holistically addressing needs of returnees and building capacity in the
communities where high rates of recidivism have the greatest impact. A “community advocacy” component will
also be part of the pilot, based on the premise that “former inmates can offer unique insights into the challenges
and benefits of community reintegration.” The project also hopes to create collaborative relationships with local
and state law enforcement agencies that have supervisory authority among the reentry population to ensure public
safety and success for those returning to the community.

From Options to Action: Assembling a Task Force	

prisons. Legislation is currently being considered to integrate the two councils into a single
Reentry Coordinating Council, which would
coordinate reentry policy, planning and exoffender services in the city.37
•	 Washington, DC. In 2003, the District’s public
and community reentry stakeholders formed the
District of Columbia Reentry Steering Committee
(the Steering Committee) to develop and implement a strategic plan for the successful reintegration of District returnees. The Steering
Committee meets quarterly and is composed of
representatives from the following local and federal agencies: the Department of Corrections, the
Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
(Parole), the Criminal Justice Coordinating
Council, the Executive Office of the Mayor, the
Office of the Attorney General, the Federal


Bureau of Prisons and more. In 2004, the
Steering Committee released its Comprehensive
Strategic Plan, which included recommendations on pre-release planning, public education,
legislation, housing, and education and training. Since that time, the District has created a
One-Stop Reentry Service Center, developed
transitional housing partnerships, implemented
educational and vocational training programs for
returning residents, and passed legislation that
supports reintegration.38
Mayors and other high-level officials will play a
pivotal role in ensuring that agency leaders and
community-based partners keep focused on shared
goals. As Angela Rudolph, Assistant to the Mayor of
Chicago, explained: “We were fortunate in that those
who headed up these very large systems decided to
make reentry one of their top priorities.”

Chicago’s Mayoral Policy Caucus on Prisoner Reentry
Launched in 2004, the Caucus’ goal was to assess and recommend reforms and innovations to facilitate successful
reentry for Chicagoans with criminal records. Convened by Mayor Daley, the group focused much attention on what
the City of Chicago could do to improve reentry outcomes. However, the Caucus agreed that discussions should
not be limited only to those reforms that were under the jurisdiction and control of the Mayor. If the core mission
was to really rethink and revamp the reentry process, the Caucus needed to consider all aspects of the process.
Consisting of 70 to 80 leaders from government, business, civic associations, community and faith organizations,
foundations, universities, social service agencies, advocacy groups as well as formerly incarcerated individuals and
their relatives, the Caucus met during the course of a year, tapping local and national resources, speaking with leading
reentry experts and working to identify priorities and develop recommendations.
One of the Caucus’ insights was that it would have to make choices to narrow the scope of discussion and thus
focus on a manageable set of issues. To this end, members chose to concentrate on four specific priority areas:
Employment, Health, Family and Community Safety. The Caucus also decided to focus primarily on individuals who
have been incarcerated in state correctional facilities, though Caucus members raised concerns pertinent to county
jail when appropriate.
Thus far, the Caucus has recorded a number of significant achievements, based on recommendations made in the
Caucus’ final report:
•	 Adopting internal guidelines for the City of Chicago’s personnel policies regarding criminal background checks,
and advocating for fair employment standards.
•	 Encouraging more “demand-side” approaches to job training designed in partnership with employers and
customized to meet their needs.
•	 Promoting and supporting transitional jobs programs and social enterprise initiatives.

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

3. Making Collaboration Work


From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	


ummit participants acknowledged that
there are differing ideas about who should bear primary responsibility for reentry efforts. While some
are convinced the federal government should fill
this role, many federal officials believe that, having “gotten the ball rolling,” states should step up
to the plate. States have shown varying degrees of
interest in prisoner reentry, and many city governments feel frustrated with a lack of state support for
reentry initiatives. Meanwhile, there are those who


assert that private foundations also need to play a
greater role in funding community-based organizations to carry out reentry work.
While truth may lie in all of these viewpoints, a lack
of coordination among these groups has inevitably
undermined reentry efforts. City leaders are in a
position to tackle this challenge head-on by collaborating with foundations, community- and faith-based
organizations, state and federal agencies and other
stakeholders to devise workable strategies together.

New York City Discharge Planning Collaboration
The New York City Discharge Planning Collaboration (DPC) was formed in 2003 under the leadership of the NYC
Department of Correction (DOC) and the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) with the goal of improving
outcomes for people spending time in the city’s jails and shelters and reducing recidivism. Over the next four
years, the cross-agency collaboration expanded to include more than 40 service providers, research institutions,
advocates and other city agencies. Last year, the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) joined the DPC
leadership. The Collaboration holds retreats twice a year, and work groups meet regularly to tackle specific issues
(including employment, housing, substance abuse, and benefits continuity) and address broader issues such as
targeting frequent users or providing alternatives to incarceration. Notable DPC programs include:
•	 Weekly data matches among DOC, DHS, HRA and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to inform
policy and provide a more complete picture of a client’s needs and system usage.
•	 The creation of the Rikers Island Discharge Enhancement (RIDE) program, which provides in-jail engagement and
after-jail case management to sentenced inmates. As of February 2008, more than 31,000 Rikers inmates have left
with discharge plans that address addiction, housing, employment, public benefits and family reunification. The
City reports a 29 percent reduction in recidivism among those engaged for 90 days after their release.
•	 Assistance for inmates to obtain identification and enroll in public benefits.
•	 Combined efforts by DOC and HRA to better serve custodial and noncustodial parents with regards to child
support orders and arrears.
•	 The expansion of programs for youth through Mayor Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity. Youth ages
19 to 24 are now paid stipends, similar to work rates, to go to school on Rikers Island, removing disincentives
for participation in education.
“Several years ago, our deputy mayor for health and human services, Linda Gibbs…who then was heading the city’s
Department of Homeless Services, was struggling with overcrowding in the city shelters…. At the same time, our
commissioner for the Department of Correction and Probation, Marty Horn, was struggling to close the revolving
door that leads so many men and women right back to the jails from which they were released. The two happened
to get together and compared notes, and what they discovered was a remarkable overlap between the men and
women they were trying to serve…. In realizing that there is no single agency or organization that can address all
of these issues effectively, Linda and Marty put together…The Discharge Planning Collaboration. Their goal: to
fundamentally transform outcomes for people in jails and shelters.”
—Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	

Collaborate Within City Government
Leaders at the Summit pointed out that many of
the collaborative efforts that have taken place in
their cities stemmed from a simple phone call from
one commissioner to another or the persistence of
a handful of individuals who refused to take no for
an answer. During his Summit presentation, New
York City Small Business Services Commissioner
Rob Walsh joked about Commissioner Horn’s insistence on working jointly: “He just kept showing up
and showing up. If there’s a guy more persistent,
I haven’t met him…. [He told me], ‘I’m going to
make you a criminal justice guy.’”
Of course, mayoral leadership is also critical. Mayors set expectations and evaluate the performance
of their deputy mayors and commissioners and can
ensure that other key individuals come to the table to
address the issue. Conny Doty, director of the Mayor’s
Office for Jobs and Community Services in Boston,


explained Mayor Thomas Menino’s firm belief in this
collaborative approach: “He thinks every department
head in the city owns a piece of the problem and the
solutions to it, as does the business community.”
Clearly, each city’s internal governing structure is
unique. In some there may be a mayor’s office on
reentry, with its own dedicated budget and staff who
can play a central role in ensuring that collaboration
occurs. While dedicated reentry offices have grown
in number in recent years, most cities currently have
departments that independently provide needed
reentry services—among them, employment and
training, business services, public benefits, housing,
mental health, corrections and probation. When
people are released from jail or prison, it is a challenge for them to know which of the many agencies
can help with their specific needs; when these agencies work together, they can streamline and improve
reentry services, making it easier for this vulnerable
population to quickly access services.

Youth Opportunity Boston Program
The Youth Opportunity Boston (YO) Program serves youth ages 14 to 24, although most are under 21. The majority
are young men, with 75 percent involved in gang activity. According to Kim Pelletreau, deputy director of YO Boston,
“On any given day, [there are] about 250 active youth on our caseload, and they represent about 146 different gangs
in Boston.” The program serves a wide spectrum of court-involved and/or gang-affiliated youth who range from their
first time on juvenile probation to being assessed a “high-impact player” with a high likelihood of recidivism.
Program participants meet with their YO case manager on multiple occasions, within the facility, prior to reentry.
The goal, as Pelletreau says, is to build “a rapport with these young people. If they don’t trust you, they will not
show up after reentering the community.” YO staff provide clients with intensive case management, educational
placement and support and transitional employment services.
“What’s impressive about Boston’s Youth Opportunity Program to me is that they went after the toughest young
people—the high-end, impact players…. If you have a program that goes after the easy ones, you’re really missing
the opportunity. This is where the political conversation becomes relevant: Say we’re going to have a reentry
program for first-time shoplifters, and we’re going to spend $20,000 a year on them. You’re not advancing the ball
at all. So, if you’re going to have a program with targeted resources, go after the tough ones—that’s where you get
the biggest public safety impact.”
— Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	

Collaborate With County, State and
Federal Agencies
“We are working with the Illinois Department
of Corrections to convene what we’re calling
a Systems Coordination Partnership. The
city, county, state, federal probation, many
Chicago area foundations and some advocacy
organizations…had all been meeting
individually. But, we asked, ‘Why do we continue
to meet individually and not sit down at the same
large table and figure out what can we do?’”
—Angela Rudolph, Assistant to the
Mayor of Chicago
While mayors can directly facilitate coordination
among city agencies, collaboration across systems
of government can be harder for city leaders to
achieve. For Angela Rudolph of Chicago, lack of
buy-in from a previous county sheriff was a barrier


to addressing the needs of the men and women
cycling in and out of the county jail. Rudolph
explained that it took a change in leadership at the
county level to make real progress. While the previous sheriff made it clear that “his job was to detain
people and that was all he was concerned about,”
the new leader emphasized that “one of his top
priorities [was] the issue of reentry, and…he actually identified a staff person who was charged with
reentry within the jail itself.” Beyond this, the new
sheriff made it clear that collaboration was a cornerstone of his approach; he emphasized the importance of reaching out to “folks who are already
doing this work” at all levels of government.
Salima Siler Marriott, Deputy Mayor of Community
and Human Development, made a similar point
about gaining traction for reentry initiatives in
Baltimore. Mayor Martin O’Malley initiated Baltimore’s Citywide Ex-offender Task Force, so he was
well aware of the importance of addressing reentry

Baltimore’s Re-C (The Re-entry Center)
The City of Baltimore established a One-Stop career center that serves the formerly incarcerated, called the Re-C
(The Re-entry Center). The center makes collaboration a priority, co-locating staff from a number of city and state
agencies, as well as bringing in local nonprofits to host workshops and convene job clubs for participants. The
Re-C is funded from multiple revenue streams; with an operating budget of $1.7 million, it is able to operate for
42.5 hours per week. The Re-C serves close to 10,000 formerly incarcerated people each year, providing:
•	 Job preparation resources (e.g., access to voice mailboxes, self-service use of fax machines, telephones,
copiers and printers, and resource libraries containing job search and training information).
•	 Technology (e.g., use of a computerized job bank, Internet access, Digital Learning Lab and high-tech computer
•	 Training opportunities (e.g., occupational and basic computer skills training).
•	 Support for parents (e.g., child support modification assistance, 48-hour driver’s license reactivation, access to
paternity testing).
•	 Legal services (e.g., expungement workshops and civil and common law referrals).
•	 Assistance with identification.
•	 Referrals for housing.
•	 Other services, including free tax preparation, bus passes for qualified participants and more.
The Re-C also works to inform businesses of incentives like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Federal Fidelity
Bonding Program and provides customized business services, such as assistance with training and hiring new
workers, matching funds for specialized skills training, and recruitment and applicant screening.

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	


Cleveland’s Providing Real Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Succeed Project
In 2003, the City of Cleveland’s Division of Workforce Development was awarded $2.9 million from the State
of Ohio and the Workforce Investment Act to address the needs of the 5,000 individuals who return to the city
from incarceration each year. Through this grant, the Division of Workforce’s Employment Connections has been
able to implement the Providing Real Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Succeed (PROES) project, which offers
employment services to formerly incarcerated people and workforce solutions to local businesses. More recently,
Mayor Frank Jackson has engaged community and faith-based organizations, halfway houses, correctional
institutions and law enforcement agencies to address additional reentry issues. Through the Cleveland Anti Gang
Initiative (CAGI), those identified as having a high risk of recidivating are provided job readiness services and
cognitive skills development during incarceration. Once released, they receive employment services through
the PROES program and Community Assessment Treatment Services (CATS). Other collaborations include the
Cleveland Transition Center (Oriana Halfway House) and North Point project (Mental Health Services), which work
to provide housing and various treatment resources for those reintegrating into the Cleveland community.

issues; he then went on to become Maryland’s governor. “And so,” Marriott said, “it does help that we
had someone who’s been there—and is now at the
state level—who understands.”
Summit participants noted that one of the issues
ripe for collaboration with county and state systems
revolves around the simple need for identification: birth certificates, state IDs (including driver’s
licenses) and social security cards are critical for
those leaving prisons and jails. Without such documents, inmates will find it much harder to obtain
employment and housing or to apply for assistance
programs once they return home.39 Some cities
have worked to address this problem (New York
City, for example, recently passed legislation to
make it easier for inmates born in the city to get a
free copy of their birth certificate). In most cases,
however, county and state officials will be best positioned to help inmates secure identification.

Collaborating to provide documentation to those
returning from prisons and jails is just one example of
the many ways that county, state and federal systems
can enhance cities’ reentry efforts. Among the things
cities can do to promote successful collaboration:
•	 Work with county sheriffs, corrections or parole/
probation to get data on returning jail inmates.
•	 Encourage county departments of corrections to
develop programs that connect jail inmates with
•	 Devise strategies with county and state officials
that help ensure returning prisoners have valid
identification upon release.
•	 Work with state and federal officials to access
data on those returning from prison.
•	 Work with state and federal officials to identify
potential funding streams that might be redirected toward reentry efforts (e.g., TANF).

Angela Rudolph, Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago, on Building the Capacity of CBOs
“One of the things we know is clear is that we have to focus on community capacity building. We often end up
funding and working with the same organizations. And not that they don’t do good work. They do. But, we also
need to understand and recognize that not everybody’s served in the same exact way. There are some people who
are served better by going to their local community-based organization on their corner as opposed to going to
the other larger or mid-level organization. And for us, that is the next step. But, of those small community-based
organizations, some of them are not ready to do business with the city, with the state, with the county. And so we
see it as our responsibility to help them get to that place. To help them understand what the best practices [are]…
to help them to build stronger organizations, because we know if those organizations are strong, it will trickle down
into the community and it will make the community strong as well.”

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	


The Exodus Transitional
Community, a site in P/PV’s
Ready4Work initiative,
Summer 2006.

•	 Collaborate with state and federal corrections
agencies to allow local organizations to enter
prisons and offer pre-release services, such as
education, counseling and mentoring, and to
work together on discharge plans, post-release
service delivery and follow-up.
•	 Appoint liaisons to facilitate coordination with
key county, state and federal officials.

Foster Partnerships Between City
Agencies and CBOs and FBOs
“Everybody has to collaborate together—the
public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as
mayors and community members—in making
this happen.”
—Mindy Tarlow, Executive Director/
Chief Executive Officer, the Center
for Employment Opportunities
Community- and faith-based organizations are the
backbone of many of the communities to which formerly incarcerated people return. These agencies
have a number of unique “home court” advantages:

Mentoring in the Ready4Work Initiative
Funded by the Annie E. Casey and Ford
Foundations and the US Departments of Labor
and Justice, P/PV’s Ready4Work initiative was a
three-year prisoner reentry demonstration that
served nearly 5,000 young adults and youth in
17 community-based sites across the country.
Participants were provided with employment, educational and social support services designed to
foster long-term attachment to the labor market
and reduce recidivism.
One of the program’s most innovative and promising elements was mentoring for ex-prisoners. Half
of Ready4Work participants received mentoring,
which made it possible for P/PV to compare outcomes among participants who were mentored
and those who were not. Participants who met
with a mentor remained in the program longer;
were twice as likely to obtain a job; and were
more likely to stay employed than those who did
not meet with a mentor. For more information on
these findings, please reference P/PV Preview:
Mentoring Ex-Prisoners in the Ready4Work
Reentry Initiative, available at

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	


•	 First and foremost, they are easy for clients to
get to.
•	 They can provide a shared language, culture and
sense of community with formerly incarcerated
•	 Staff at these organizations know the neighborhood. They know, personally, where and how to
go to get things done.
•	 They have informal connections to local employers and other social service providers in the area.
•	 They may engender trust on the part of the
participants. Especially for individuals reporting
to parole and probation officers—who typically
aren’t viewed as friends—staff at community- and
faith-based organizations can form deeper social
bonds with participants.

in the criminal justice system. These referrals are
based on where the caller lives, as well as the needs
they identify, including employment, housing or
addiction. While not every city has a comprehensive
311 system, similar services might be implemented
(call centers with a directory of applicable services).
It is important to keep in mind that operators must
be well-informed of eligibility requirements for each
program to provide effective referrals.

Coordinate Data Collection and
“The importance of data can’t be overstated.
Ten, fifteen years ago we didn’t have this kind of
information. It’s clearly critical.”
—Ellen Schall, Dean of NYU Wagner and
former NYC Juvenile Justice Commissioner


New York City has incorporated referrals to
community-based reentry services into its 311
system, a strategy that Summit participants saw as
particularly promising. Through the work of the
New York City Discharge Planning Collaboration,
311 added jail release services to its menu in 2007.
That year, 311 operators fielded 3,300 calls asking
for jail release services.
Callers are provided with referrals to communitybased organizations that specialize in providing
services for individuals with histories of involvement
In collaboration with The College and Community Fellowship,
DoITT: 311 and the New York
City Department of Correction,
the Fortune Society’s David
Rothenberg Center for Public
Policy launched its first Reentry
and Reintegration Public Education Campaign in April 2008
promoting 311; cards were
posted in almost half of New
York City’s bus fleet.

Many Summit participants said that data collection is
a crucial, but challenging, piece of effective collaborative strategies. Data are critical to understanding who
constitutes the reentry population (and thus how to
serve them) as well as for evaluating the effectiveness
of services. But, different agencies and organizations
collect data in drastically different ways, with variations in quality and rigor. Despite these challenges,
enormous benefits are to be found if groups work
together to establish common measures of success
and to compare and evaluate collective results.

Get help today
Call 311 and ask for, “Jail Release Services” or visit for services close to your home
· Drug or alcohol treatment
· Education
· Housing

· Employment counseling & training
· Medicaid & health care

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	

Interagency Data Collection

Simply looking at data across agencies can be illuminating. When Chicago and New York did so,
they recognized that thousands of “frequent users”
shuttle back and forth between local jails and city
streets or temporary shelters. These individuals
require costly services from a number of distinct
agencies, including corrections, mental health and
homeless services.
•	 New York City developed the Frequent Users
Service Enhancement (FUSE) program in 2006
to provide supportive housing and additional
services to individuals who continually rotate
between city jails and shelters. As of February
2008, FUSE had placed 102 individuals; 90
percent remained in supportive housing, and
the number of days participants spent in jail
and shelter were both dramatically reduced.
Commissioner Horn of New York City emphasized: “I can’t underestimate the importance of
data…. One of the most powerful weapons that
we have had has been our ability to demonstrate
to our budget authority, as well as to our colleagues in other city agencies...[that] these are
the same people.”
•	 Recognizing that the Cook County Jail functions
as the largest mental health institution in the
state of Illinois, the City of Chicago followed


New York’s lead and developed a similar model,
called Frequent Users of Jail, Shelter and
Mental Health Services (FUSE). The program is
designed to address the needs of the thousands
of people with serious mental illness who exit
with nowhere to go but to shelters or the streets.
This pilot program aims to identify “frequent
users” of county jail and shelters, conduct targeted jail in-reach and discharge planning, provide targeted, ongoing rent subsidies to ensure
housing affordability, provide comprehensive
mental health and other support services to
ensure housing stability, and increase opportunities for employment and self-improvement.
Both New York City’s and Chicago’s efforts were
spearheaded by the Corporation for Supportive
Housing. For more information, visit
Data Sharing Between Different Levels of

While city leaders can insist that agencies within
their jurisdiction share data, obtaining information
from county or state agencies can be more challenging. Still, given the potential benefits, it is worth
pursuing (see Collaborate With County, State and
Federal Agencies on page 29). Angela Rudolph of
Chicago told Summit participants about how data

Hartford’s New Day Program
In 2005, with a grant from the Connecticut Legislature, the City of Hartford began the New Day Program at the Carl
Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield, CT. The Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum, a multiservice communitybased organization, was selected to develop, implement and administer the program, which consists of:
Pre-release services: Within three to six months of their release date, inmates who are returning to the city of
Hartford are invited to apply for the program. Program staff meets twice weekly with the inmate to plan with them
for their transition back to their Hartford community. Before their release, a transition plan is developed and the first
week of appointments is scheduled.
Post-release services: Employment services and case management; clients interested in the construction trades
can be referred to receive pre-employment training, OSHA certification and possible pre-apprentice training offered
by various construction unions. New Day also addresses participants’ critical housing needs by operating two
transitional houses that attempt “to create an environment that is more ‘family’ than ‘institution’ while at the same
time stressing accountability both to program rules and to the demands of parole.”

From Options to Action: Making Collaboration Work	

sharing drastically expanded the scope of the city’s
reentry efforts. Prior to getting data from the Cook
County Department of Corrections, the city “focused
mostly on the state correctional system. That had
to do, in part, with the fact that the governor made
a commitment to focus on reentry, and they had
data to share with us.” However, when Cook County,
which is the largest single-site jail in the country,
began to share its data, Rudolph was able to get a
handle on a critical group returning to her city.
Data Sharing with Community- and FaithBased Organizations

Many small community- and faith-based organizations have typically had limited capacity to collect
or analyze data, and the data collection they do
may be viewed as a chore required by funders—
taking them away from time spent working with
clients. Fortunately, this attitude is evolving. More
organizations are beginning to use data not only to
satisfy funders, but to inform program activities and
improve quality. Cities can help by sponsoring workshops or funding data collection technology, with a
potential long-term goal of creating common measures to allow for data-sharing across providers.
Promoting Accountability

In collaborative efforts, strong data collection can
promote accountability among the partners and
drive improvements in performance. A prime example can be found in Philadelphia’s Youth Violence
Reduction Partnership (YVRP)—an effort involving law enforcement, city agencies and nonprofits


that work together to provide intensive support and
supervision to very high-risk youth. YVRP’s data collection strategies include:
•	 Concrete procedures for collecting and reviewing
data on a monthly basis. (In YVRP, one organization is responsible for overseeing data collection
and analysis.)
•	 A basic form that frontline staff use to collect
participant data. The form is comprehensive and
specific enough that all necessary information is
recorded, but not so complex or time-consuming
that it hinders staff’s ability to complete it consistently and on time.
•	 Training and ongoing support for frontline staff
in completing the forms accurately.
•	 Meetings and decision-making processes that
enable collaborative partners to use the data to
monitor and strengthen program performance.40
Informal Data Collection Can Be an Asset, Too

While formal data collection and statistical analysis
are important tools, more informal informationsharing across agencies and sectors can also be critical. When Kim Pelletreau, Deputy Director of the
Youth Opportunity Boston Program, was asked if
she worked closely with the district attorney in her
county, she answered, “Yes, all the time. I work with
the chief of the gang unit…and the Safe Neighborhood Initiative. All of them are on my cell phone.
So, we really have access to so much information—
it’s such a collaboration that really revolves around
prevention, intervention and public safety.”

Irvington’s Constellation of Reentry Services
Through Community Development Block Grant Programs, The Township of Irvington, NJ, funds Offenders Aid and
Restoration (OAR), which offers a variety of reentry services, including shelter placement and rental assistance,
employment referrals, emergency food vouchers and bus tickets, and clothing for job interviews. In addition, the
Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation houses an Operation Ceasefire program and the Irvington Weed
and Seed Program and offers other supportive services, such as employment assistance and drug counseling.
Irvington officials have also worked with private companies and local community- and faith-based organizations to
improve employment prospects of formerly incarcerated people.

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

4.	Addressing City-Level
	 Barriers to Employment


From Options to Action: Addressing City-Level Barriers to Employment	


any cities and states impose
licensing bans that prevent ex-prisoners from working in certain industries. While some of these bans
are understandable and sensible—such as preventing those convicted of violent crimes from working
with firearms or in the child-care industry—there
are many statutory and regulatory disqualifications
from forms of employment that have no relationship to the types of crimes committed. In certain
states, ex-prisoners are barred from licensing (and
thus employment) in sectors as disparate as dentistry, chiropractics, physical therapy, airline and
airport work, sanitation, plumbing, real estate, barbering and engineering. Added to these licensing
barriers, 36 states allow public and private employers to consider arrests that did not lead to conviction when making hiring decisions.41

Take an Inventory of Legal Barriers to
At the Summit, Ira Barbell from the Annie E. Casey
Foundation spoke about his experiences working
to catalogue all barriers to employment that affect
ex-felons in Florida. While identifying every state,
city or county hiring policy that could affect formerly incarcerated people is certainly a daunting
task, Barbell’s work suggests that it can be extremely
valuable. To make the process more manageable,
he suggested restricting the search for legal barriers
to industries that are most likely to affect ex-felons:
“The first thing is to figure out where the sectors
that make the most sense are and where you’re
going to get the most bang for your dollar.” Thus,
depending on which local industries have opportunities, cities might want to focus on an inventory of
legal barriers in construction, airport work, hospitality or health care.


Ira Barbell, Senior Associate at the Annie
E. Casey Foundation, on Cataloging Legal
Barriers to Employment in Florida
“The Florida inventory revealed a vast and
bewildering, unwieldy patchwork, if you will,
of hundreds of state-created restrictions that
were widely varying in severity, from…lifelong restrictions to those that were subject to
modification. And they affected over 40 percent of
all jobs in the state of Florida, public and private….
These were millions of jobs that individuals would
never have access to. And Florida’s not unique….
Restrictions on employment have been proliferating
all across the country…. And typically, they’re
spread not in a criminal justice code, where you
can easily find them, but they’re all over in the
chapters of state law. They’re buried in agency
rules; they’re embedded in agency policies and
informal memos.”

Ensure Fair Hiring Practices in
Your City
“Part of the recommendations that came out of the
Mayoral Policy Caucus was on the issue of hiring.
The caucus members basically said, ‘Look, I think
it’s great you pulled this caucus together. It’s
wonderful that you said this is important. But, at
the end of the day, if you as the city of Chicago are
not going to hire people with criminal histories, this
is all talk. And we don’t want to hear it unless you
can step up and start hiring people.’ And so, the
mayor said, ‘You’re absolutely right.’”
—Angela Rudolph, Assistant to the
Mayor of Chicago
Beyond addressing licensing and other barriers to
employment, many cities have also been working to
ensure that applicants with a criminal record will not
be automatically disqualified from municipal jobs.
When cities “lead by example” in hiring formerly
incarcerated people, they send a powerful message.

From Options to Action: Addressing City-Level Barriers to Employment	

Dean Ellen Schall of NYU Wagner noted, “The
notion that the city itself has to look at its own hiring policies is pretty has great symbolic
value, as well as offering opportunities for jobs.”
Ban the Box

“Ban the Box” measures have been passed in many
cities and some counties (such as Alameda County,
CA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Brockton, MA;
Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN;
San Francisco, CA; St. Paul, MN; and most recently,
Travis County, TX), with appropriate law enforcement exemptions, and legislation is pending in
many other cities, counties and states.42 This policy
ensures that applicants are not asked initially to
disclose past criminal convictions on employment
applications. Once applicants are deemed otherwise
qualified, criminal records data can be considered
based on their relevance to the position.
Beyond Ban the Box

Several cities have taken these strategies beyond the
application for city hiring. Chicago has made provisions that city contracting opportunities should go
to organizations whose core mission is the employment of individuals with criminal backgrounds.43
And, in Boston, a 2005 city ordinance recognizes
that “The City has a responsibility to ensure that its
vendors have fair policies relating to the screening
and identification of persons with criminal backgrounds,” and, as such, “the City of Boston and persons and businesses supplying goods and services to
the City of Boston [must] deploy fair policies relating to the screening/identification of persons with
criminal backgrounds.” This policy applies not only
to the city, but also to vendors.44
Provide Services for Those Who Have Been
Treated Unfairly

In New York City, the Commission on Human
Rights investigates businesses that deny employment
to individuals because of their criminal record.
Cities can also partner with legal services organizations, such as nonprofit legal agencies or law firms
that provide no-cost or low-cost legal counsel to
those who have been unfairly denied employment.


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

5. Engaging the Business Community


From Options to Action: Engaging the Business Community	


ummit participants emphasized the critical importance of actively engaging employers in
any effort to improve the employment prospects of
formerly incarcerated people.

Educate Employers About Existing
There is some evidence to suggest that ex-prisoners
are in fact not that different from the people many
businesses typically employ for entry-level positions
(in terms of education levels, skills, experience,
etc.).45 And some reentry practitioners argue that
the “endorsement” and support of a communitybased organization is the most powerful incentive
an employer can have to hire a formerly incarcerated person. Still, there are a variety of financial
incentives provided by state and federal governments that may encourage employers to hire
formerly incarcerated people. Cities can educate
businesses about these incentives, which include:
•	 Work Opportunity Tax Credits (employers can
receive up to $2,400 in credits per qualified
•	 Access to free bond insurance for qualified but
“at-risk” job applicants through the Federal
Bonding Program.
•	 State tax credits (some states offer tax credits for
employers who hire job applicants with criminal
histories: California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana,
Maryland and Texas).
More information about these incentives, as well
as other tools for employers, are available from the
National H.I.R.E. Network at

Provide City-Level Incentives
Beyond federal and state tax incentives, some cities are also initiating their own tax-credit and wage
reimbursement programs:
•	 Tax Credits. In November 2007, the Philadelphia
City Council passed legislation that gives busi-


nesses that hire formerly incarcerated individuals
a $10,000 per-job credit against the city’s business privilege taxes for three years.46 In February
2008, US Senator Arlen Specter announced plans
to promote federal legislation “that would create
a pilot program modeled after the Philadelphia
tax-credit effort.”47 In San Francisco, in March
2008, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced legislation that would provide a local payroll tax credit
to employers located within the city’s Enterprise
Zone.48 The payroll tax credit would be offered
to employers if they hire a “disadvantaged worker,” including those with criminal convictions.49
•	 Wage Reimbursement. Chicago, along with a growing number of other cities, offers a wage reimbursement to local employers who hire formerly
incarcerated people under the Business Hiring
Incentive Program (B-HIP). The reimbursement
“covers up to 50 percent of a new hire’s first 12
weeks for non-seasonal, full-time employment, or
up to $3,500 per employee.”50 According to Glenn
Martin, Associate Vice President of Policy and
Advocacy at the Fortune Society, wage reimbursements may be more attractive to employers than
standard tax credits.51

Encourage a Business-Friendly
Approach to Job Placement
“Without that, you might get some initial traction
for political reasons. But you’re not going to get
sustainable traction.”
—Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Health and
Human Services, City of New York
Summit participants agreed that effective employment programs for formerly incarcerated people
hinge on being in touch with local business needs.
It may make sense to start by forming partnerships
with businesses that serve on your city’s reentry task
force and then expand to employer associations or
small business associations in your area.

From Options to Action: Engaging the Business Community	

When working with employers, the “dual customer”
approach, which seeks to put equal emphasis on the
needs of employers and job seekers, is increasingly
accepted as good practice in the workforce development field—and may be especially relevant when
placing people with criminal records in jobs. As
Commissioner Robert Walsh of New York City stated
at the Summit, “It changes the equation quite a bit.
It changes the conversation from ‘Please hire this
guy’ to ‘We have a business proposition for you. We
can help your company with that vacancy, and we’ll
stay on that. And, by the way, we also can help you
with many other programs.’”

Foster a Demand-Led Strategy
Cities can work with the business community to
establish trends and answer the question: Where
are the jobs going to be in the next 5 to 10 years?52
Some industries that have been particularly ripe for
placing the reentry population include:
•	 Animal shelters
•	 Car dealerships
•	 Construction companies
•	 Factories and manufacturing
•	 Health care and health insurance organizations
•	 Major chain stores
•	 Marketing and customer service industries
•	 Product distribution
•	 Restaurants, hotels and other hospitality service
•	 Supermarkets
•	 Transportation industry
•	 Universities
•	 Wholesale and warehousing


Focus on Jobs That Stick
As much as possible, cities should focus on industries
with decent wages, benefits and career advancement
opportunities. Helping formerly incarcerated people
succeed in the labor market in the long-term means
looking beyond minimum wage jobs. It is useful to
make the distinction between entry-level, low wage
and/or subsidized positions that provide an opportunity to become familiar with (or reenter) the world
of work, develop job skills and establish a work history, and more permanent, higher-skilled and better
paying jobs that people will ultimately need to support themselves and their families. Commissioner
Walsh noted that “a higher paying job will lead
people to stay in that job for longer”—and make
reoffending or turning to the informal labor market
significantly less attractive. An advancement strategy,
including providing necessary training and education, can be a critical factor in helping formerly
incarcerated people move from transitional jobs to
more sustainable employment.

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

6. Taking It to the Next Level


From Options to Action: Taking It to the Next Level	


hile mayors and city leaders
can make important strides toward addressing the
needs of those returning from incarceration, much
of reentry policy is determined by federal and state
policymakers. As Mayor DeStefano of New Haven
noted during the Summit, cities often must deal
with the hodgepodge of policies formed at these
higher levels and must “fill in what they don’t do,
and, ultimately, it becomes about institutional
reform at those places as well.”

Advocate for State and Federal Policy
When mayors and city leaders work together, they
can collectively advocate for important changes. A
partial list of these policies is below:
•	 Advocate for state laws to protect against employment discrimination based on criminal convictions. While mayors have jurisdiction over their
own city hiring practices, Mayor Palmer of
Trenton argued that addressing employment barriers more broadly is “going to require political
will—and not just from the mayors, because mayors basically have that, but it’s going to take the
political will of the governors and the legislatures
to make changes as well.”
•	 Advocate to restore access to Pell Grants for
incarcerated students. Congress passed two key
pieces of legislation in 1993 and 1994 that ended
decades-long access to Pell Grants for prison
inmates pursuing college degrees, drastically
reducing the number of postsecondary programs
available to inmates and effectively closing many
prison college-access programs.53 Many states
have followed the federal government’s lead by
cutting their own prison education programs,
even as research has shown that former prisoners
who earn college degrees are more likely to find
jobs and avoid reincarceration.54


•	 Advocate to eliminate automatic suspension of
driver’s licenses for offenses unrelated to qualifications as a driver. In 1992, Congress passed a
law withholding 10 percent of certain highway
funds unless states agreed to revoke or suspend
the driver’s license of anyone convicted of any
drug offense for at least six months after the time
of conviction. Without a driver’s license, it is difficult for ex-prisoners to find employment, or
participate in needed services, such as substance
abuse counseling or educational programs.55
States can opt out of the law or limit it to convictions related to driving.
•	 Advocate to improve policies concerning payment of child support arrearages accrued during
incarceration. In most states, incarcerated individuals who owe child support find that payments
continue to accrue while they are behind bars.
Many of these individuals—most of them men—
face substantial child support arrearage payments
immediately after release. Those who cannot
make these payments may be returned to prison
on violations of their conditions of release under
parole or probation.56 City leaders can encourage
states to adopt more flexible policies that give
child support enforcement agencies, parole and
probation departments and courts more authority to modify payment plans according to individual circumstances.
•	 Advocate to ensure that court or supervision fees
are manageable for returning prisoners. Once
released, formerly incarcerated people face many
financial obligations, including court fines. In
Repaying Debts, the Council of State Government’s
Justice Center argues for policies that create
“realistic payment schedules” for ex-prisoners
and “curb the extent to which the operations of
criminal justice agencies rely on the collection of
fines, fees and surcharges from people released
from prisons and jails.”57
•	 Advocate at the state level to increase access to
government benefits and work supports. States
have various regulations regarding whether
and how individuals with felony convictions can
access important benefits, such as low-income
housing, food assistance, child-care assistance,
Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy

From Options to Action: Taking It to the Next Level	

Families (TANF). In New York City, leaders
worked with the governor to suspend, rather
than terminate, Medicaid benefits for people
who become incarcerated. According to Mayor
Bloomberg, “This has enormous consequences
for people leaving jail and prison because it
could take them up to 90 days otherwise to reactivate Medicaid upon release, and that might
mean having to wait that long to get desperately
needed drug treatment or other health services.”
•	 Encourage states to exercise their power to
issue certificates of rehabilitation. According to
research conducted by the Legal Action Center,
all states have the authority to issue these certificates, which can lift some bars to employment
and occupational licensing and help restore
access to public benefits and housing assistance.
Despite the potential impact these certificates
could have for those returning from prison, only
six states (Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada,
New Jersey and New York) currently offer them.


The laws differ in each state as to how to obtain
the certificates, but often include completion of
sentence and parole, payments of fines or demonstration of “moral character.”58

Recent Legislative Developments
Fortunately for cities, some state policymakers have
started to make prisoner reentry a legislative priority. For instance, Michigan recently tripled funding
for its prisoner reentry initiative.59 There has been
federal movement as well, culminating in the signing of the Second Chance Act on April 9, 2008.
The Second Chance Act authorizes $320 million
in grant funding for the next two years, including
$55 million for states and local areas to coordinate
reentry efforts and establish best practices, particularly in the areas of substance abuse treatment and
services; mentoring for offenders and victims; and
educational, literacy, vocational and job placement
services to facilitate reentry into the community.

What the Second Chance Act Will Mean for Cities
Units of local government, including towns, cities, counties and nonprofits, appear to be eligible for funds, provided
they satisfy the other requirements, generally involving widespread collaboration. Programs that are not highly
collaborative in nature or are dominated by a single jurisdiction may not be approved.
As of May 2008, many details have yet to be determined regarding access to Second Chance funds. As a crucial
first step, funds must be appropriated by Congress. Once this has taken place, the Department of Justice
(DOJ) must establish an administrative office for SCA grants and publish a “rule” that interprets the statute and
establishes the process for issuing grants. Alternatively, to speed up the implementation process, DOJ may use
“guidelines” for grant administration. This information will be made available in the Federal Register, most likely
during the first half of 2009.
A committee report that accompanied the bill provides more information:

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	



From Options to Action: Conclusion	


hile there is a growing body of
evidence about promising approaches, much more
research will be required to say with certainty which
program models are most effective—and for which
subsets of the reentry population. More research,
particularly research that firmly, unequivocally
demonstrates programs’ cost-effectiveness, will
help solidify the reentry field. As Michael Jacobson,
director of the Vera Institute of Justice, asserted
at the Summit: “I think really digging into that
cost effectiveness issue is a very powerful thing,
because it can obviously help generate political
capital around this issue. It’s hard work, but I think
the more work we’re able to do around evaluating
programs and their effectiveness, the more it will
contribute to the commitment of resources to fund
effective reentry programs.”
Thus, while there has been tremendous progress
in developing reentry solutions, many questions
remain for further investigation:
•	 What are the measurable impacts of different
program models?
•	 What are the projected cost savings associated
with these impacts?
•	 What strategies seem to be associated with the
most positive outcomes for different populations?
•	 How can programs help formerly incarcerated
people not only get jobs, but advance to positions
that allow them to support their families?
•	 What difference can alternative sentencing
options make?
And, perhaps most challenging: Once a promising model has been proven effective, how can we
take it to scale to serve the volume of people necessary to create real change, with 750,000 people
returning each year from federal and state facilities
alone, each with unique and substantial needs?
Michael Jacobson unpacked this final problem in
his remarks at the Summit: “I guess my question is,
capacity issues aside, even political issues aside for
the moment: What is the real need here? How big
should something like this be? How many people


should we really be placing into these programs?
What kind of an investment do you need to really
make a huge dent in the overall issue? Are we
there, or are we still miles away from where we need
to be?”
With rates of incarceration that greatly exceed
those of any other industrialized nation and at any
other time in US history,60 America is certainly far
from where we need to be. But there is hope. A
recent editorial in the Washington Times authored by
the executive director of the Justice Policy Institute
noted, “The good news is that the public is more
ready than ever for sound public policy. Polling
shows that the public actually supports and is willing to pay for policies that include rehabilitative services, housing, employment and education.”61

Julio Medina, Executive Director of Exodus
Transitional Community in Harlem, NY:
Reflections on the Mayors Summit
During the Summit, a fellow participant asked me
if I thought that mayors could truly understand
what it’s like to do this work. My response was:
“This is a movement based on inches. If I can
convince mayors of the impact communitybased organizations have, they will see that
existing programs in the community, if funded
adequately, can make a huge difference. We keep
people from returning to crime, which makes
communities safer and saves taxpayers’ dollars.
We should be viewed as partners along with
police departments, parole and probation.”
As I left, having heard so many elegant speeches
and having mingled with mayors, I rode the
subway back to our small offices (that seemed so
much smaller that day) and was greeted by two
young men who were just released from prison,
their bags still in hand. They told me that before
they went to see their parole officers or visit their
families, they wanted to stop at Exodus to let me
know they want to work and become productive
members of their communities. They were tired
of prison and life on the streets and only wanted
a second chance. As I talked with these two men
in their twenties, who have such a high risk of
returning to prison, I thought that if politicians
could see the look in their eyes, they would know
that in this “game of inches” those being released
from prison do deserve a second chance, and, if
we can provide one, many will not go back.

From Options to Action: Taking It to the Next Level	

The February 28 Summit was a testament to the
leading role that mayors and cities are playing in
the creation of effective reentry policies. The discussions at the Summit made it clear—addressing
the needs of those returning from prisons and jails
makes sense: It saves taxpayers money, enhances
public safety and supports struggling communities.
The more cities do to make reentry a long-term priority by benefiting from the experiences and lessons
of other cities and continuing to learn from their
own experience, the more effective services will
become. Cities must partner with the right groups,
actively advocate for needed changes at state and
federal levels, and continue efforts to rigorously
determine what works and what doesn’t.
As public support for reentry policies continues to
grow, cities will be well positioned to take the lead in
actively seeking out, testing and refining lasting solutions, and if states and the federal government provide critical support, there is every reason to think that
we can achieve the kind of change that is needed.


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City,
on Identifying What Works
“If programs deliver results, we’ll continue them.
And if they don’t deliver results, we will work with
them. And if we can’t make them better, then
we’re just going to cancel them, regardless of
what’s politically correct. This city wants to make
a difference. And we’re not trying to do things
because they sound good, we’re trying to do
those things that we can show really work. The
city and the taxpayers and the people that we
serve deserve nothing less.”

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	



1.	 Adam Liptak, “Inmate Count in US Dwarfs Other Nations.” The
New York Times, April 23, 2008.

11.	Nancy G. La Vigne, et al. A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Maryland.
Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2003, 38.

2.	 Research has shown that ex-prisoners who find stable employment and develop social bonds have significantly lower recidivism rates. Robert J. Sampson and John H. Laub. October
1990. “Crime and Deviance Over the Life Course: The Salience
of Adult Social Bonds.” American Sociological Review. Robert J.
Sampson and John H. Laub. August 1992. “Crime and Deviance
in the Life Course.” Annual Review of Sociology. Christopher
Uggan. August 2000. “Work as a Turning Point in the Life
Course of Criminals: A Duration Model of Age, Employment,
and Recidivism.” American Sociological Review.

12.	New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. “2007
Crimestat Update.” (Office of Justice Research and Performance,
March 31, 2008).

3.	 One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. Washington, DC: The
Pew Charitable Trusts, 2008, 3. Pew calculated this statistic by
dividing an estimate of the total adult population by the total
inmate population. For the complete details of the calculation, please see page 27 of the report:
4.	 Nancy G. La Vigne, et al. A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Maryland.
Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2003, 38.
5.	 New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. “2007
Crimestat Update.” (Office of Justice Research and Performance,
March 31, 2008).
6.	 The Sentencing Project. “Incarceration.” (The Sentencing
Project, n.d.)
7.	 Research has shown that ex-prisoners who find stable employment and develop social bonds have significantly lower recidivism rates. Robert J. Sampson and John H. Laub. October
1990. “Crime and Deviance Over the Life Course: The Salience
of Adult Social Bonds.” American Sociological Review. Robert J.
Sampson and John H. Laub. August 1992. “Crime and Deviance
in the Life Course.” Annual Review of Sociology. Christopher
Uggan. August 2000. “Work as a Turning Point in the Life
Course of Criminals: A Duration Model of Age, Employment,
and Recidivism.” American Sociological Review.
8.	 One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. Washington, DC: The
Pew Charitable Trusts, 2008, 3. Pew calculated this statistic by
dividing an estimate of the total adult population by the total
inmate population. For the complete details of the calculation, please see page 27 of the report:
9.	 US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. “Reentry
Trends in the US: Recidivism: In a 15 state study, over two
thirds of released prisoners were rearrested within three years.”
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 25, 2002).
10.	John J. Gibbons and Nicholas de B. Katzenbach. Confronting
Confinement. Washington, DC: The Commission on Safety and
Abuse in America’s Prisons, 2006, 11.

13.	These case studies represent a somewhat informal scan of the
field. For the most part, P/PV has not evaluated these programs,
which are in fact at very different stages of development. Some
are emerging efforts, while others have amassed considerable
evidence of effectiveness; a few are currently undergoing evaluation, including the Youth Opportunity Boston Program and
Baltimore’s Re-C.
14.	Nancy G. La Vigne, et al. A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Illinois.
Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2003, 2.
15.	Nancy G. La Vigne, et al. A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Ohio.
Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2003, 9.
16.	Natasha A. Frost, Judith Greene, and Kevin Pranis. Hard Hit:
The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004. New York:
Women’s Prison Association: Institute on Women and Criminal
Justice, 2006, 14.
17.	Nicholas Freudenberg. Coming Home from Jail: A Review of Health
and Social Problems Facing US Jail Populations and of Opportunities
for Reentry Interventions. Washington, DC: Urban Institute: Jail
Reentry Roundtable Initiative, 2006, 1.
18.	In New York City, for example, Commissioner Martin Horn
reported that the jail population has substantial needs and
typically serves very short sentences: “70 percent to 80 percent
have substance abuse histories; 40 percent require some sort of
mental health treatment, [yet…] over 50 percent of all of the
men and women who come into our jails are out in 15 days….
With these kinds of lengths of stay, we’re not going to do much
rehabilitation inside the jails.… That’s why our mission has to be
about discharge planning.”
19.	Daniel P. Mears and Jeremy Travis. The Dimensions, Pathways, and
Consequences of Youth Reentry. Washington DC: Urban Institute,
2004, 1.
20.	Ibid, v.
21.	Christopher Mumola. Incarcerated Parents and Their Children.
Washington, DC: US Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice
Statistics, 2000, 2.
22.	There has been tremendous growth in mentoring children of
prisoners to cope with this trend; for example, in 2001, P/PV
launched Amachi, a unique partnership of secular and faithbased organizations working together to provide mentoring to
children of incarcerated parents. As of 2008, P/PV has assisted
more than 350 programs in all 50 states; these programs have
provided mentors for more than 100,000 children. More information can be found at

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	


23.	Nancy G. La Vigne, et al. Prisoner Reentry and Community Policing:
Strategies for Enhancing Public Safety. Washington, DC: Urban
Institute, 2006, 24.

40.	Linda Jucovy and Wendy McClanahan. Reaching Through the
Cracks: A Guide to Implementing the Youth Violence Reduction
Partnership. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures, forthcoming.

24.	Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population
2007-2011. Washington DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2007, iv.

41.	After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry: A Report on State Legal Barriers
Facing People with Criminal Records. New York: Legal Action
Center, 2004.

25.	US Courts. “Costs of Incarceration and Supervised Release.” (US
Courts, June 6, 2006).
26.	More information can be found at

42.	“City Councilwoman Introduces ‘Ban the Box’ Bill.” July 2007.
Job Opportunities Task Force E-Newsletter. Edited by Jessica
Traskey. Also, Marty Toohey, “County Takes Crime Question Off
Job Applications.” Austin American Statesman, April 22, 2008.

27.	Greencorps Chicago has been providing job training in the landscaping trade since 1994 for individuals experiencing barriers to
employment, including individuals with criminal histories. More
information can be found at

43.	Chicago Mayors Summit PowerPoint, presented February 28,
2008, by Angela Rudolph, slide 6. More information can be
found at

28.	Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
“Community Corrections: Adult Parole Authority Citizen
Circles.” (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction,
November 27, 2007),

44.	City Ordinance: CBC Chapter IV: 4-7;

29.	This material is excerpted from a summary of reentry efforts
submitted by the city of Washington, DC.

46.	“Plan to Give Tax Credits for Hiring Ex-Offenders OK’d in
Phila.” Philadelphia Business Journal, November 1, 2007.

30.	Mary Milz, “Ballard to Appoint Olgen Williams as Deputy
Mayor,” WTHR, December 27, 2007.

47.	Catherine Lucey, “Nutter Taps Ex-Con for Prisoner Reentry
Office.” Philadelphia Daily News, February 22, 2008. The bill
is called the Employment Access for Recidivism Reduction
Nationwide (EARN) Act.

31.	City of Baltimore. “Baltimore City Ex-Offender Initiative,”
(Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, n.d.),
32.	This description is excerpted from a summary of reentry efforts
submitted by the city of Baltimore.
33.	This material is excerpted from a summary of reentry efforts
submitted by the city of Elizabeth.
34.	City of Oakland. “Project Choice Steering Committee.”
(Department of Human Services, n.d.),
35.	Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign. “Reentry Profile—
San Diego Reentry Roundtable.” Volume V, Issue IV. September
2007, 1.

45.	For example, conversations with employers involved in P/PV’s
Ready4Work demonstration suggested this to be the case.

48.	California’s Enterprise Zone Program provides hundreds of
millions of dollars each year in tax breaks to companies located
in 42 economically distressed areas across the state. The San
Francisco Enterprise Zone areas include the following districts:
Bay View Hunters Point/South Bayshore; Chinatown; the
Mission; Mission Bay Project Area; Potrero Hill; South of Market;
the Tenderloin; and the Western Addition. More information
can be found at
49.	“Mayor Newsom Offers Incentives to Hire Veterans and
Ex-Offenders.” California Chronicle, March 14, 2008.
50.	City of Chicago. “Demand Driven Workforce Strategy 2007.”
(Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, February 5, 2008).

36.	Ibid, 2.

51.	Ray Hainer, “Helping Clear a Path from Prison to Work,” City
Limits Weekly, January 29, 2007.

37.	Office of the San Francisco Public Defender. “Working
Together to Support San Franciscans After Incarceration.” (Safe
Communities Reentry Council, 2007).

52.	For example, in the 2002 Ohio Plan for Productive Offender
Reentry and Recidivism Reduction, policymakers used the 2014
Jobs Outlook to decide where to spend their training dollars.

38.	This description is excerpted from a summary of reentry efforts
submitted by the city of San Francisco. The SCRC and SFRC
jointly convened a broad-based working group to develop
“Getting Out & Staying Out,” a resource guide for individuals
exiting incarceration (available at To
date, over 3,000 hard copies have been distributed.

53.	Daniel Karpowitz and Max Kenner. Education as Crime
Prevention: The Case for Reinstating Pell Grant Eligibility for the
Incarcerated.”Annandale on Hudson: Bard Prison Initiative, n.d., 6.

39.	JOTF Works, “Prisoner Release in Maryland: No Valid ID and No
Money.” Baltimore, MD: Job Opportunities Task Force, Spring

55.	After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry: A Report on State Legal Barriers
Facing People with Criminal Records. New York: Legal Action
Center, 2004.

54.	“Closing the Revolving Door.” The New York Times, January 27,

From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

56.	Rebecca May. The Effect of Child Support and Criminal Justice Systems
on Low-Income Noncustodial Parents. Madison: Center for Family
Policy & Practice, 2004.
57.	Rachel L. McLean and Michael D. Thompson. Repaying Debts. New
York: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2007, 34.
58.	LAC provides a hands-on toolkit at
certificates/certificates.htm, including a sample letter for “supporters to write to their elected officials urging them to support
legislation that creates certificates of rehabilitation to restore the
rights of people with criminal records.”
59.	Julie Swidwa, “Prisoners Given Tools to Success.” Detroit Free Press,
March 30, 2008.
60.	The Sentencing Project. “Incarceration.” (The Sentencing
Project, n.d.).
61.	Sheila Bedi, “Anti-Crime Policies.” Washington Times, April 21,


From Options to Action: A Roadmap for City Leaders to Connect Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to Work	

Appendix: Reentry Resources


From Options to Action: Appendix Reentry Resources	

Advocacy and Education:
Building Blocks for Youth:
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services
Center for Community Alternatives:
Community Service Society of New York:
The Doe Fund:
Fight Crime, Invest in Kids:
The Fortune Society, David Rothenberg Center for
Public Policy:
Job Opportunities Task Force:
Legal Action Center:
National H.I.R.E. Network:
The Osborne Association:
Reentry Net:
The Sentencing Project:

American Bar Association, Commission on
Effective Criminal Sanctions:
American Civil Liberties Union:
American Probation and Parole Association:
National Association of Counties:
National League of Cities:
The United States Conference of Mayors:
Women’s Prison Association:

Community Mapping Resources:
National Institute of Justice, Mapping and Analysis for Public
Safety Program:


The Police Foundation’s Publication, Mapping for
Community-Based Prisoner Reentry Efforts:
Urban Institute, The Reentry Mapping Network:

Local Government and Community Resources:
For more information about the cities and community-based
organizations whose programs and reentry efforts were featured in the publication:
Baltimore, MD:
Contact: Jean Lewis, Deputy Director
Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice
100 Holliday Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Boston, MA:
Contact: Conny Doty, Director
Mayor’s Office of Jobs and Community Service
43 Hawkins Street
Boston, MA 02114
Chicago, IL:
Contact: Evelyn Diaz, Deputy Chief of Staff, Human Capital
City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor
City Hall, Rm. 509
121 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Cleveland, OH:
Contact: George Smith, Project Director
City of Cleveland Division of Workforce Development
1020 Bolivar Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Hartford, CT:
Contact: Lou Paturzo
Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum
95 Park Street, 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106

From Options to Action: Appendix Reentry Resources	


New Haven, CT:
Contact: Kica Matos, Community Services Administrator
City Hall
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Reentry National Media Outreach Campaign:

New York, NY:
Department of Correction:
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
Office of the Mayor:
Department of Small Business Services:
Department of Youth and Community Development:
For more information on the New York City Discharge
Planning Collaboration, email:

Center for Law and Social Policy:

Washington, DC:
Contact: Rodney C. Mitchell, Esq., Acting Executive Director
Office on Ex-Offender Affairs
2100 Martin Luther King Avenue, SE, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20020

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:

Federal Government Resources:

New York University-Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of
Public Service:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
National Institutes of Health:
US Department of Justice:
US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics:
US Department of Labor, Center for Faith-Based and
Community Initiatives:
P/PV collaborated on the creation of two publications available on the DOL website: Ready4Reentry: A Prisoner
Reentry Toolkit:
And Mentoring Ex-Prisoners: A Guide for Reentry Programs,
which P/PV authored:

Media and Marketing Resources:
Center for Social Media:
Corrections Community Blog:
Human Media:

360 Degrees:

Research and Policy Resources:

Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions:
Council of State Governments, Justice Center:
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation:
John Jay College of Criminal Justice:
Johns Hopkins University, Sar Levitan Center for Social Policy
Justice Policy Institute:

National Institute of Corrections:
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:

Open Society Institute:
Public/Private Ventures:
The RAND Corporation:
Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center:
Vera Institute of Justice:
Service Providers:
The Reentry Resource Map provides a listing of federal reentry resources, along with a directory of reentry service providers by state. Service providers are listed according to the
target population that they serve:
The National H.I.R.E. Network also provides a directory of
“state-specific governmental agencies and community-based
organizations to assist people with criminal records, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers”:

From Options to Action: Appendix Reentry Resources	


Resources from Public/Private Ventures

Please visit for more information on the
following publications:
Building from the Ground Up: Creating Effective
Programs to Mentor Children of Prisoners, The
Amachi Model (2005)
Drawing from P/PV’s five years of hands-on experience
designing and implementing Amachi programs around the
country, this report describes best practices for planning,
developing and managing a mentoring-children-of-prisoners
Call to Action: How Programs in Three Cities
Responded to the Prisoner Reentry Crisis (2007)
This report chronicles how individuals, community organizations, faith institutions, businesses and officials mobilized
to build partnerships to address escalating numbers of exprisoners returning to their communities. The three cities
highlighted in this report, Jacksonville, FL; Memphis, TN; and
Washington, DC, were pioneers in responding to the nation’s
prisoner reentry crisis. They developed impressive programs
and eventually joined P/PV’s Ready4Work initiative.
Going to Work with a Criminal Record (forthcoming)
Based on the experience of organizations that took part in
the Fathers at Work initiative, this report offers fundamental lessons on connecting people with criminal records to
appropriate jobs and employers, as well as tools to organize
these efforts. Designed for workforce development programs
that may have limited experience serving this population, the
guide outlines how to avoid mistakes and how to develop
important relationships, including with employers, parole officers and the local child support enforcement agency.
Good Stories Aren’t Enough: Becoming OutcomesDriven in Workforce Development (2006)
Workforce development organizations are more and more
focused on achieving and documenting performance outcomes. Yet managers frequently face a challenge getting
buy-in from frontline staff about collecting and using data—
not only to satisfy funders’ needs but to improve services.
This report identifies practical, hands-on strategies to
increase staff involvement and communication around data.

Here to Stay: Tips and Tools to Hire, Retain and
Advance Hourly-Wage Workers (2007)
Aimed at owners of small and medium-sized businesses,
human resources staff, managers or shift foremen, and
workforce development organizations, Here to Stay offers
a series of cost-effective actions for retaining low-wage
workers, including hiring the right people, welcoming them,
retaining them and developing their talents for the company’s benefit.
Just Out: Early Lessons from the Ready4Work
Prisoner Reentry Initiative (2006)
This report examines the early implementation of
Ready4Work and reports on emerging best practices in four
key program areas. While P/PV provided the basic program
design to the 17 lead organizations participating in the project, each site was given creative latitude to build programs
unique to their own organizations, resources, partnerships
and missions. Through this work, many innovative and promising approaches to effective prisoner reentry emerged, as
did challenges for which solutions were sought. Just Out
offers practical advice about recruitment, case management,
mentoring and employment, and documents early lessons in
this growing area of study, policy and advocacy.
P/PV Preview: Mentoring Ex-Prisoners in the
Ready4Work Reentry Initiative (2007)
This brief presents findings from a forthcoming report on the
mentoring component of the Ready4Work prisoner reentry
initiative. Participants who met with a mentor remained in the
program longer, were twice as likely to obtain a job and were
more likely to stay employed than participants who did not
meet with a mentor. The report’s authors conclude that while
mentoring is not enough, supportive relationships—which
can be fostered through mentoring programs—should be
considered a core component of any reentry strategy.

From Options to Action: Appendix Reentry Resources	

Reaching Through the Cracks: A Guide to
Implementing the Youth Violence Reduction
Partnership (forthcoming)
Designed for localities interested in collaborative strategies
to reduce youth violence in their communities, this handson manual draws on lessons learned from seven years of
experience in Philadelphia to describe how cities and other
jurisdictions can plan and carry out an initiative like the
Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP).
Ready4Work In Brief: Update on Outcomes; Reentry
May Be Critical for States, Cities (2007)
This issue of P/PV In Brief provides data from the
Ready4Work prisoner reentry initiative, with a focus on


the prison crisis occurring in many cities and states. While
much more research is needed to understand the true,
long-term impact of prisoner reentry initiatives, outcomes
from Ready4Work were extremely promising in terms of
education, employment and program retention, with recidivism rates among Ready4Work participants 34 to 50 percent below the national average.
Young Fathers DVD and Workshop Guide (2007)
This two-disc package features the award-winning Young
Fathers documentary and includes discussion guides and
lesson plans appropriate for a range of settings and audiences, including employment and reentry programs and
parenting and marriage workshops.

Public/Private Ventures

2000 Market Street, Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 557-4400
Fax: (215) 557-4469

New York Office

The Chanin Building
122 East 42nd Street, 42nd Floor
New York, NY 10168
Tel: (212) 822-2400
Fax: (212) 949-0439

California Office

Lake Merritt Plaza, Suite 1550
1999 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: (510) 273-4600
Fax: (510) 273-4619

May 2008



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