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W HEN

THE

GATES OPEN
Ready4Work
A National Response to the Prisoner Reentry Crisis
By Joshua Good and Pamela Sherrid

Field Report Series
Public/Private Ventures October 2005

W HEN

THE

GATES OPEN
Ready4Work
A National Response to the Prisoner Reentry Crisis
By Joshua Good and Pamela Sherrid

Field Report Series
Public/Private Ventures October 2005

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
Siobhan Nicolau, Chair
President
Hispanic Policy Development Project
Gary Walker
President
Public/Private Ventures
Amalia Betanzos
President
Wildcat Service Corporation
Yvonne Chan
Principal
Vaughn Learning Center
Mitchell S. Fromstein
Chairman Emeritus
Manpower Inc.
The Honorable
Renée Cardwell Hughes
Judge, Court of Common Pleas
The First Judicial District,
Philadelphia, PA
Christine L. James-Brown
President and CEO
United Way International
John A. Mayer, Jr.
Retired, Chief Financial Officer
J.P. Morgan & Co.
Matthew McGuire
Vice President
Ariel Capital Management, Inc.
Maurice Lim Miller
Director
Family Independence Initiative
Anne Hodges Morgan
Consultant to Foundations
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
Director
National Employment Panel,
London, U.K.
William Julius Wilson
Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser
University Professor
Harvard University

Research Advisory
Committee
Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Chair
University of Michigan
Ronald Ferguson
Kennedy School of Government
Robinson Hollister
Swarthmore College
Alan Krueger
Princeton University
Reed Larson
University of Illinois
Milbrey W. McLaughlin
Stanford University
Katherine S. Newman
Kennedy School of Government
Laurence Steinberg
Temple University
Thomas Weisner
UCLA

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank those
who shared their experiences concerning
the conception and implementation
of Ready4Work. In particular, three
individuals—Fred Davie, P/PV’s senior
vice president for public policy and
community partnerships; Brent Orrell,
former director of the Department
of Labor’s Center for Faith-Based
and Community Initiatives; and Gary
Walker, P/PV’s president—were quite
generous with their time and contributed
important insights. Gwen Dilworth and
Robert Flores, each of the Department
of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, described
the emergence of the juvenile portion
of the program, clarifying its key goals.
Sam Atchison, a chaplain at New Jersey
State Prison in Trenton, offered a unique
voice on Ready4Work’s earliest stages.
Wendy Eaglecamp and Jodina Hicks—
each deputy directors at P/PV during
Ready4Work’s first year—deserve thanks
as well for their diligent efforts to turn an
innovative idea into a working reality. We
also appreciate the contribution of Megan
Francis, a PhD student at Princeton,
who wrote an initial outline for the
study. Renata Cobbs-Fletcher, a director
of operations at P/PV, provided helpful
feedback on an early draft. Chelsea Farley,
P/PV’s communications director, offered
exceptional editing advice, adding to the
comprehensiveness and readability of the
report. Penelope Malish ably assisted with
its layout and design.
Finally, we would like to salute
Ready4Work’s case managers, program
staff and the volunteer mentors from local
faith-based and community organizations.
In 17 sites throughout the country, these
men and women are working tirelessly—
and in the process, they are inspiring
perseverance and hard work by those
who choose to take part in the program.

1

INTRODUCTION
What can be done to help people who
are released from prison steer clear of
a return to crime? The doctrine that
“nothing works” has for many years been
the dominant view. The mainspring for
that fatalistic outlook was an influential
1974 assessment of rehabilitation efforts
in the journal Public Interest. That study,
by criminologist Robert Martinson,
witheringly concluded that “rehabilitation
efforts that have been reported so far have
no appreciable effect on recidivism.”1
Thirty years later, the Martinson legacy
finally may be dissipating. A new, more
activist, approach to prisoner reentry
is emerging, thanks partly to recent
empirical findings and partly to urgent
necessity. Having criticized Martinson’s
methods, today’s experts are coming to
new conclusions based on fresh evidence.
“Data from meta-analysis of tens, if not
hundreds, of studies confirm that treatment can work to reduce recidivism,”
writes Joan Petersilia, a criminologist at
the University of California at Irvine.2
Many experts now say that the question
needs to be framed in terms of what kind
of intervention works best—not whether
treatment can be effective.
Society sorely needs new answers in a
hurry. The U.S. is facing a reentry crisis.
A record number of prisoners—roughly
750,000 annually—are now released from
confinement each year, a level triple
that of the 1970s.3 The current wave of
returnees is the inevitable outcome of the
tremendous growth in the U.S. prison
population during the past 30 years. (The
rate of imprisonment grew from 110
prison inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents
in 1970 to 478 inmates per 100,000 U.S.
residents in 2000.4) The high volume of
returnees threatens already vulnerable
communities, as most former prisoners
return to impoverished and disenfranchised neighborhoods with few social
supports and persistently high crime rates.

Alarm raised by the reentry issue is
reverberating in the U.S. Congress, where
in early 2005 there were at least five
bills circulating that would provide new
funding for reentry programs. That followed President Bush’s signal that tackling
the reentry issue was one of his administration’s domestic priorities. “America is
the land of the second chance, and when
the gates of prison open, the path ahead
should lead to a better life,” the president
declared in his 2004 State of the Union
address. The administration’s proposed
budget for 2005-06 contained the first
installment of the $300 million, four-year
commitment, and Congress funded $30
million for the first year of the president’s
request. But policymakers developing a
national approach to the problem must
grapple with the fact that, until now,
promising approaches to reducing recidivism have taken root mostly in small local
programs.
The Ready4Work initiative is likely to
provide additional valuable lessons.
Launched in 2003, Ready4Work is a
national demonstration project that represents some of today’s best thinking by
both government and the private sector
on how to curb recidivism. The initiative has already served more than 2,500
adult prison returnees and an additional
300 juveniles who have come back to
their communities after detention in the
criminal justice system. The program is
an unusual public-private partnership.
Its three-year, $27 million funding flows
primarily from the U.S. Department of
Labor (DOL), but also from the U.S.
Department of Justice and two private
foundations—the Annie E. Casey
Foundation and the Ford Foundation—
as well as from Public/Private Ventures
(P/PV), which is administering the project.
Ready4Work brings together a constellation of partners that have rarely
collaborated: the business sector, which
is providing the returnees with jobs;

2

the criminal justice system; and faithbased and community-based social
service providers. Ready4Work was born
from research conducted by the U.S.
Department of Labor’s Center for FaithBased and Community Initiatives (CFBCI)
on how to help returnees overcome the
many obstacles they face finding employment, and from P/PV’s experience with
the National Faith-Based Initiative for
High-Risk Youth (NFBI).5 Two individuals
in particular—Brent Orrell, former
director of CFBCI, and Fred Davie, P/PV’s
senior vice president for public policy
and community partnerships—then took
the lessons from these early projects
and worked together to design the
Ready4Work program and get it funded.
Ready4Work is part of the ongoing exploration of how committed faith-based
and other grassroots organizations can
increase their services to disadvantaged
and underserved populations. But in
many ways, Ready4Work is attempting to
move beyond the politically charged question of whether faith-based institutions
on their own can or cannot do a better job
of delivering services than their secular
counterparts. Of the lead agencies at 11
Ready4Work “adult” sites that agreed to
serve returnees between 18 and 34 years
old, one is a local government entity and
two others are secular nonprofits that
partner with church congregations. In
all instances, the lead agencies, whether
faith-based or secular, are fortified by
expertise provided by P/PV or by other organizations specializing in job placement
and other tasks.
Ready4Work’s 11 adult sites each recruit
prisoners convicted of nonviolent, nonsexual felonies, all of whom voluntarily
agree to enter the program at some point
during the period from 90 days prior to
release to 90 days afterwards. The program comprises three main elements: job
training and placement, mentoring and
case management. Services are provided
either by the lead agency or by specialist

organizations that are brought in by the
lead agency or P/PV.
Building on evidence that returnees who
find jobs are less likely to return to crime,
Ready4Work puts job skill training and
job placement at the center of its efforts.
Businesses, for their part, are willing to
hire Ready4Work participants because
they see a source of needed employees.
Ready4Work also harnesses the commitment and credibility of volunteers from
faith-based and community-based organizations. These volunteers act as mentors
to help returnees change their personal
mindsets, deal with workplace challenges
and build social relationships. Finally,
rigorous case management helps ensure
that returnees can tap into available benefits in crucial areas such as housing and
medical care.
Ready4Work also separately serves young
people ages 14 to 18 who are leaving juvenile-detention facilities or have otherwise
entered the criminal justice system. At the
program’s seven juvenile sites, the aim
is to help the young returnees benefit
from mentoring, case management and
education services, while at the same
time offering job training and employer
matches for those who are ready for jobs.
This report briefly sketches out the
dimensions of the recidivism problem
and the rationale behind Ready4Work. It
then describes in some detail the genesis
of the program, including the orientation of its major partners and how they
came together. Another section deals
with the start-up and implementation of
the program. This is followed by a brief
overview of promising practices that have
begun to emerge from Ready4Work. The
concluding section looks to the future,
giving consideration to the outcomes data
Ready4Work is beginning to produce and
the program’s role in influencing future
reentry initiatives.

3

The Reentry Crisis
Urgency defines the issue of prisoner
reentry—from the perspective of society
at large, from the perspective of the oftenstruggling communities where prisoners
flock on release and from the perspective
of the prisoners themselves.
Let us consider the larger societal view
first. As a result of the quadrupling of the
U.S. prison population over the past three
decades, our society now faces the challenge of integrating an unprecedented
number of former prisoners. This year
750,000 prison inmates, including 150,000
juveniles, will be released from secure
facilities and returned to their communities. That is more than 2,000 returnees
hitting the streets every day. But many
of them will not be free for long. A 2002
study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics
found that 30 percent of returnees were
rearrested during the first six months
of their release from prison, 44 percent
within the first year and a staggering two
thirds within three years.6 The cost to
society of this revolving door is immense.
In fact, recidivism contributes mightily
to the expensive and continuing growth
of the U.S. prison population. People arrested while on parole account for about
35 percent of new prison admissions each
year, up from 17 percent in 1980.7
For communities, the return of released
prisoners represents a variety of challenges, including the obvious threat to
public safety. Research by the Urban
Institute has shown that returning prisoners are increasingly concentrated in
a small number of urban “core” counties. For instance, in Illinois, 51 percent
of its ex-prisoners returned to Chicago,
and to Cook County in particular,
with six neighborhoods receiving 34
percent of the total influx. What’s more,
“churners”—people who have served a
second prison sentence and are more
likely to break the law again—are being
released into core counties in higher
concentrations than in earlier decades.

“The return of violent offenders may
be like sowing weeds back into communities,” notes the Urban Institute.8
Crime clearly harms families: the victims’
obviously, but also the perpetrators’, in
which children who lose a parent to prison
suffer a host of poor outcomes, including
poverty. High rates of crime retard economic development and undermine the
social service efforts of both government
agencies and private organizations. No
wonder that faith leaders have identified
the problem of recidivism as one of the
most critical issues facing urban neighborhoods. Pastors in Chicago and Jacksonville
told CFBCI’s Orrell they “can’t help but
to recognize ex-prisoners are returning to
our communities—and they’re affecting
our congregations, regardless of whether
they’re sitting in our pews, or out on the
streets.” P/PV’s experience with the NFBI
evinced a similar reality.
When it comes to urgency, the needs
of the individual returnee may well
be the most pressing. Consider prisoners—typically young men with few
employable skills, little education and
a history of alcohol, drug abuse or
homelessness—who take off their prison
garb after years of incarceration and
walk out the prison gates. Joan Petersilia
paints a picture of their predicament
in her 2003 book, When Prisoners Come
Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry:
Most of them will be given a bus ticket
and told to report to the parole office
in their home community on the next
business day… If they live in a state that
provides funds upon release (about
one third of states do not), they will be
given $25 to $200 in gate money. Some
states provide a new set of clothing
at release, but these “extras” (e.g.,
shoes, toiletries, a suit) have declined
over time. Sometimes, a list of rental
apartments or shelters is provided,
but arrangements are generally left up
to the offender to determine where
to reside and how to pay for basic

4

essentials, such as food, housing and
clothing. Employment is also mostly
left up to the offender.9
No job, no money, no place to live—
one can almost hear the clock ticking.
Returnees quickly find themselves beset
with the same pressures and temptations
that attracted them to crime in the first
place. A recent P/PV study of former
drug dealers who were trying to avoid
re-involvement in crime describes how, as
younger men, they felt an intense desire
to benefit from the material wealth of
mainstream America but lacked legitimate
means for earning money.10 With criminality pervading their communities, peer
networks and families, and unemployment being the norm in many inner-city
communities, youth may see few role
models of adult men who are successfully
supporting themselves and their families
in a legitimate job. Crime, by contrast,
brings social as well as economic benefits:
the men in the study reported earning
hundreds and even thousands of dollars a
night from “hustling.”
Prison, meanwhile, is unlikely to have
given inmates new skills they can use
to launch an alternative career. Prison
crowding has resulted in long waiting
lists for classes of any kind, and only a
minority of those released have had a
chance to participate. Many states have
cut spending on prison vocational and
technical-training programs, as a result
both of budgetary pressures and harsher
punitive attitudes toward criminals.11
Ready4Work’s New Approach
Ready4Work’s approach keeps these
aspects of returnees’ experiences in mind,
as well as the lessons learned from past
disappointments in trying to lower recidivism rates. To begin, the program is based
on the idea that there is a narrow window
of opportunity for positively redirecting
the life of a returnee immediately upon
his release from prison. “If a returnee
can’t find resources or get connected to

help quickly, the evidence is clear that that
person is likely to return to crime,” says
Davie, primary director of the initiative.
Ready4Work tries to make a connection with inmates while they are still in
prison and insists on surrounding recently
released ex-prisoners with services and
supports within 90 days of, and preferably
immediately after, their release.
Each of Ready4Work’s key program components—employment, mentoring and
case management—is essential, but none
alone is sufficient. Consider employment,
for instance. Criminal justice experts
agree that employment is one of the most
important vehicles for hastening offender
reintegration. A 1995 meta-analysis of 400
studies found that employment was the
single most effective factor in reducing
recidivism.12 Interviews with ex-prisoners
demonstrate that gainful and lasting
employment is not only a monetary means
to avoid criminal behavior but also helps
returnees to accomplish a critical shift in
perspective about their lives. Taking care
of their families and being productive
lead to important and positive changes
in self-esteem.
Unfortunately, most returnees have a very
hard time finding work. Not only do they
tend to lack marketable skills, but there
is a serious stigma attached to a criminal
history in the legitimate labor market.
A 1996 survey of employers in Atlanta,
Boston, Detroit and Los Angeles found
that employers are much more reluctant
to hire ex-prisoners than any other group
of disadvantaged workers, including
welfare recipients and the long-term
unemployed.13 Returnees are barred from
jobs that require licenses in many states.
A 2005 column in The New York Times
described one returnee who had taken
courses that were offered in prison to
become a barber, only to discover that his
prison record prevented him from getting
a barber’s license.14

5

While job training and placement are
clearly key elements in any attempt
to reduce recidivism, many such programs have had disappointing results.
For instance, a 1970s program, The
Transitional Aid Research Project, offered
ex-prisoners varying levels of unemployment compensation and job placement
assistance. Random assignment studies
found that no combination of job placement and income assistance reduced
recidivism. Another program of the
same era, the National Supported Work
Demonstration, assigned participants to
12 to 18 months of unsubsidized employment in a supportive environment. The
program initially had a strong positive
impact on employment for former prisoners, but, by the end of the first year, the
outcomes for the treatment and control
groups were nearly identical. Perhaps
more important, there was no impact on
re-arrest rates.15
Thus it seems job training and placement
may not be enough, particularly for offenders who have become “embedded”
in criminality. Some offenders have
gotten used to easy gains and violence
and have weak bonds to conventional
society, such as attachment to parents
and commitment to jobs or school. After
reviewing a history of job training programs in their 2002 article “Labor Markets
and Crime,” Shawn Bushway and Peter
Reuter conclude that such individuals
“need to be motivated to work before
things like job skills can make a difference; although unemployment may have
contributed to their criminal activity, a
job opportunity (and job skill training)
by itself does not solve the problem.”16
This is where Ready4Work’s commitment
to mentoring—to matching returnees
with caring, responsible adults in their
community—comes in. Prisoners facing
release in recent years have served
longer prison sentences than in the past,
and family ties weaken as prison terms
lengthen. Only the luckiest returnees
can count on meaningful family sup-

port. Yet as Petersilia points out, “Every
known study that has been able to directly
examine the relationship between a
prisoner’s legitimate community ties and
recidivism has found that feelings of being
welcomed at home and the strengths of
interpersonal ties outside prison help
predict post-prison adjustment.”17
Ready4Work is testing the idea that
mentors can make a crucial difference
in helping returnees gain much-needed
motivation. The program incorporates
mentoring of juveniles by adults at its
juvenile sites and of adults by adults at its
adult sites. While this concept has rarely
been tested, early indications from faithbased Prison Fellowship programs suggest
that mentoring adult prisoners and
returnees may be an important ingredient
in post-prison success, since mentoring
can provide the returnee with access to a
moral compass, as well as support, guidance and assistance with the world of work
and other life challenges.18 And evaluations of programs designed to mentor
younger individuals, such as the Big
Brothers/Big Sisters program, have clearly
indicated that mentoring can have a positive impact on youth.19 Ready4Work has
been designed to further explore whether
mentoring can work successfully with a
challenging, older population—namely
adult returnees.
P/PV’s earlier work with faith-based
organizations showed how these groups
vary widely in their ability to administer
services and monitor their delivery.
Because of the demanding nature of
working with returnees and the narrow
opportunity to make a difference in their
lives, Ready4Work has made it a priority
to recruit only mature provider organizations that can ensure that nothing falls
between the cracks, and it both prods
and supports the providers by requiring
rigorous monitoring and reporting of the
services that returnees receive.

6

At the same time, past project experience
with faith-based and community organizations demonstrated that one of these
grassroots groups’ greatest strengths is
their connectedness to other actors and
partnering agencies in the neighborhoods
in which they work. Just as the employment, mentoring and case management
components of Ready4Work complement
and reinforce one other, diverse partners—primarily religious congregations,
businesses, criminal justice agencies and
community agencies—each bring their
own strengths to the program. Churches
bring distinctive assets, such as large
volunteer bases—as do for-profit job
placement agencies, One-Stop Career
Centers, local employers and even shelters for the homeless. Since each of these
organizations working alone is unlikely to
achieve the hoped-for success in combating high recidivism trends, partnership
becomes critical. In fact, the story of how
Ready4Work was conceived and launched
is also a story of partnerships.

7

THE ROAD TO READY4WORK
DOL’s Path
The Department of Labor’s Center for
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
(CFCBI) was established in 2001 to
empower faith-based and community
organizations to help their neighbors
enter, succeed and thrive in the workforce. Linked to the White House
Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives, the CFBCI is one of 10 such
centers created by President Bush within
federal agencies. Its mission is to help
grassroots faith-based and community
leaders compete on equal footing for
federal dollars, receive greater private
support and face fewer bureaucratic
barriers. Brent Orrell, director of CFBCI
from 2001 thtrough 2005 and a former
legislative director for two senators, has
been active since the late 1990s in trying
to expand opportunities for grassroots
organizations to partner with federal
social service programs. He and other
proponents of this approach recognize
that in many of the nation’s distressed
urban communities, churches often maintain a physical presence, a tradition of
service and a moral authority unmatched
by secular social service providers.
An important macroeconomic trend
guides DOL’s activities in the prisonerreentry field and also gives employers
a motivation to be involved—business
needs workers as much as returnees
need jobs. During the next several years
the economy is expected to produce
more jobs than people to fill them. In
fact, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, by 2008, new jobs will exceed
available workers by 7 million. At the same
time, over the next three years approximately 1.8 million people will be released
from state and federal prisons. “Returnees
represent another labor pool that needs
to be tapped,” says Orrell. “This is the
next step after welfare-to-work,” the government initiative that focused on finding
jobs for millions of hard-to-employ individuals on public assistance.

Orrell traces the genesis of Ready4Work
in his mind to a visit he paid to Chicago
in early 2002 for an event hosted by
Ceasefire, a University of Illinois initiative aimed at reducing youth violence.
At that meeting, he engaged in conversation with a caseworker trying to find job
opportunities for ex-prisoners. When
Orrell suggested the resources of the
federal bonding program, which bonds
high-risk individuals that private insurers
will not, the caseworker “just laughed at
me,” he remembers. That program, the
caseworker said, did little to reassure
employers and instead merely reinforced
the stigma of a prison record by making
returnees “wear a scarlet letter.”
Orrell left that meeting pondering
the question of what incentives would
encourage employers to hire returnees.
He had preliminary talks with the
National Association of Blacks in
Criminal Justice, a professional and
community-leaders organization that
encourages former prisoners to join as
members, and with Prison Fellowship, a
faith-based organization that works with
prisoners, ex-prisoners and families.
Before long, Orrell came to the conclusion that “we just don’t know what would
make the difference to businesses,” and
he decided to convene a series of focus
groups and interviews with the business
community to find out. In the spring of
2002, CFBCI conducted six focus groups
with employers in Washington, DC,
Chicago and Jacksonville. The focusgroup participants were from companies
with 50 or fewer employees and had been
prescreened as being open to hiring
people who had been incarcerated.
CFBCI, in cooperation with the Center
for Workforce Preparation of the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, also conducted
interviews with national corporations to
gauge their perception of, and experience
with, hiring ex-prisoners.

8

According to Orrell, two key findings
emerged. The first was that business
leaders wanted information about the
crime a former prisoner had committed
before they would consider hiring him
or her. They wanted to know how much
liability they would assume if they hired
an ex-prisoner who later committed
a crime against a fellow employee or
customer. The second finding was that
employers would be much more willing
to hire a former prisoner if he came
with a community sponsor, such as a
pastor, who could vouch for the person’s
character. “That would take some of the
fear away,” says Orrell. What’s more, the
sponsor was seen as important to helping
the returnee with lifestyle and practical
issues. “Businesses don’t want to babysit,
and they don’t want to chase people
around. They just want a good employee,”
recalls a focus-group participant.
In the summer of 2002, CFBCI
started a small reentry pilot program
in Jacksonville, Florida. Called the
“Ready4Work Initiative,” it incorporated
mentoring and job training at Operation
New Hope, a community development
corporation that since 1999 had been
doing its own grassroots work with
returnees. Its executive director, Kevin
Gay, together with local pastor Garland
Scott, who is himself an ex-prisoner, discovered that if they were able to give an
ex-prisoner a recommendation based on a
few months as an employee at Operation
New Hope, that individual would have
a much better chance of finding another,
more permanent job.
Meanwhile, Orrell was working with
his colleagues within DOL to fund
this initiative, because CFBCI has no
grant-making authority. Orrell had to
make the case to funding entities, such
as DOL’s Employment and Training
Administration, that spending on
returnees was worthwhile. Like other
supporters of rehabilitation efforts,
he pointed out that the Ready4Work
investment could have a very high level

of return if one compared the cost of
helping the returnee to be a productive and law-abiding citizen with the
much larger cost of prosecuting him and
housing him in prison after he’s committed another crime. “Ready4Work
winds up costing $4,900 per participant
for 12 months, while we spend $25,000 to
$40,000 per year to put adults and juveniles in prison,” notes Orrell. “There are
significant savings possible—if this
approach works. So we needed to find out
if it works,” he says.
P/PV’s Path
As it happened, P/PV was in the planning
stages of a reentry initiative at the same
time as the Labor Department’s CFBCI.
P/PV regularly helps government and
foundation funders judge the effectiveness of their social service spending by
evaluating programs; sometimes it also
designs innovative initiatives to meet unanswered social needs.
P/PV became interested in the potential of faith-based institutions to deliver
social services to distressed communities
and individuals long before it was highlighted as a key domestic-policy priority.
P/PV’s conception of Ready4Work was
influenced by three prior demonstrations designed to engage faith-based
organizations in the delivery of services
to high-risk populations. These earlier
P/PV initiatives are Amachi, a mentoring
program for children of incarcerated
parents; YET, a literacy program for
youth in danger of school failure; and,
most relevant of all, NFBI, which offered
employment, education and mentoring
for older youth who had been involved
in the juvenile justice system. These
experiences helped illuminate the assets
that faith-based organizations bring
to their work with low-income populations and also established an important
base of knowledge about how best to
support these groups to be effective.

9

A 2002 analysis by the Manhattan Institute
found that faith-based organizations
appear to have a special advantage in
helping individuals overcome difficult
circumstances such as drug addiction
and imprisonment.20 That assessment was
borne out in the experiences of NFBI,
according to Robert Flores, administrator
of the Department of Justice’s Office
of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention (OJJDP), which was a major
funder of NFBI. According to Flores,
“Churches take a holistic view of a person,
and they embrace that person. The youths
who are in the criminal justice system are
not cuddly, not quiet or humble. It’s hard
to open your arms to them, but the faith
community sees it as part of its job.” Faithbased mentors are likely to have a deep
belief that people can undergo a change
of character, a helpful orientation for
dealing with individuals with troubled lives.
P/PV first started thinking about a comprehensive reentry initiative in the late
1990s, “when it became clear there was
going to be at a great outpouring of
people from prisons,” says P/PV President
Gary Walker. Among Walker’s earliest
discussions on the subject were those
with political scientist John DiIulio, who
was then on P/PV’s board. DiIulio was
joining the faculty of the University of
Pennsylvania and was soon to be the first
director of the White House’s Office of
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
From its first conception, says Walker,
P/PV saw its reentry initiative as involving faith institutions, employment
and mentoring in some form. In 1998,
P/PV had established the effectiveness
of mentoring for young people in its
landmark control-group study of outcomes from the Big Brothers Big Sisters
program, but Walker knew that adult
returnees would pose a much bigger challenge. He spoke with Robert C. Embry,
Jr., president of The Abell Foundation
and a former district attorney who had
personally mentored eight former prisoners. Embry told Walker that having

someone who cared did matter, but that
that positive influence would not do
much good if returnees did not also have
help with the practical problems of life,
including finding a job. Also influential in
the early formulation of the program was
a visit Walker paid to America Works, a
for-profit workforce development company in New York City. Walker came away
convinced that any pitch to an employer
about hiring an ex-prisoner would have to
appeal to the self-interest of the employer
rather than emphasizing social responsibility or charity.
Another important early contributor to the
creation of Ready4Work was Sam Atchison,
a chaplain at New Jersey State Prison in
Trenton, whom DiIulio introduced to
P/PV. In addition to his work with inmates,
Atchison had become familiar with the
challenges facing returnees during an
earlier stint in an urban ministry with soup
kitchens and emergency shelters. “I started
dealing with guys on the outside and now
was working with them on the inside,”
Atchison says. “So I started thinking about
how to build the bridge of successful
reentry.” Atchison felt that churches had
a tradition of serving in prisons, but that
they could be harnessed to do more to
help prisoners once they were released.
Atchison joined P/PV as a consultant in
July 2001 and developed a concept paper
for a demonstration project.
The project started to gain steam in
early 2002 once it attracted the attention of Fred Davie, who had joined P/PV
the summer before. Davie, who holds a
master’s of divinity degree, had worked in
religious institutions and the public sector
before becoming the Ford Foundation’s
program officer for Faith-Based
Community Development. There he had
helped to fund NFBI, and he joined P/PV
to head its faith-based initiatives. Davie
and other P/PV staff visited Atchison
at his prison in February 2002 and had
a long discussion about what shape a
reentry program should take to effectively
curb recidivism.

10

The lessons that Davie and P/PV had
learned from their experience with NFBI,
which began in late 1998, were crucial in
shaping the Ready4Work model. While
very heartened by his experience working
with faith-based partners, Davie had
discovered that many local congregations
did not have the capacity, in terms of staff
or professionalism, to deliver services
consistently. Because of the demanding
nature of a reentry initiative, Davie felt
from the start that it needed to be built
around mature organizations that had
already worked with high-risk populations who were involved with the justice
system. He also saw the need for a more
structured and prescriptive approach to
delivering program components. In NFBI,
each site agreed to develop programs
that included mentoring, education or
employment readiness. By contrast, for
the reentry program, P/PV decided to
insist on the delivery of three interlocking
program components: mentoring, job
training and placement, and case management. P/PV did not expect the lead
agencies to have all the necessary expertise in house. Rather, it expected that
the agencies would have strengths in one
or two areas and that P/PV would help
them achieve competency in the areas in
which they were lacking, by bringing in a
subcontractor or through direct technical
assistance from P/PV.
Through its work with the OJJDP-funded
NFBI, P/PV also had gained valuable
experience in bridging the differences
between the institutional cultures involved in a faith-based reentry initiative.
Historically, there had been a tense relationship in urban communities between
the criminal justice system and the faith
community. Church leaders typically have
been critics of police brutality, while prosecutors have tended to see the clergy’s
pleas for mercy as the equivalent of coddling criminals. “NFBI sites initially had to
deal with that adversarial relationship, but
they were able to build trust and break
down barriers,” says Gwendolyn Dilworth,

a program specialist at OJJDP. In addition, P/PV gained experience in how to
encourage faith-based organizations to be
more oriented toward producing measurable outcomes, an important mindset for
participating in a program with foundation and government funding.
Drawing on these existing relationships,
P/PV initiated conversations with OJJDP
about juvenile reentry, and in the summer
of 2002 P/PV received approval from the
agency to use $50,000 of its NFBI grant
to plan a reentry initiative for juvenile
offenders. Meanwhile, P/PV also wrote
a concept paper for a reentry program
that focused mainly on adults aged 18 to
34. But in a pattern that was reminiscent
of Orrell’s difficulty in winning funding
at DOL, Davie was finding it hard to win
funding for prisoner reentry from foundations, despite his deep and relevant
experience in foundation circles. “We
wandered in the wilderness for a while,”
he recalls.
That difficulty in gaining foundation
funding was hardly surprising. In a 2001
survey of foundations involved in programs
for children, youth and families, P/PV
found few of them ever tried to tackle the
seemingly intractable problems of young
adults. Of the 42 funders surveyed, 22
funded programs for early childhood and
19 funded programs for children ages 7
to 15, but only eight funders tried to help
individuals aged 16 to 24. Public investment in this age group had declined in
the 1990s, and foundations were loath to
go where there was not a clear model for
success. One foundation officer stated that
age 16 is just “too late to start.”
The few foundations involved in criminal justice programs per se are mostly
involved in advocacy, not service to exprisoners, which is viewed as risky because
of the potential liability for bad publicity
if a program participant commits a violent
crime. All in all, says Davie, “reentry is
definitely an issue that needed government, as well as private, sources of funds.”

11

Nonetheless, in 2005 he asked several
officials at the White House to consider
suggesting to the President that he call
together some of the nation’s leading
foundations, to reflect collaboratively with
public officials not only about reentry
work, but about a wider range of social
services that could be provided by faithbased and community organizations.21
The Partners Come Together
The Ready4Work program crystallized
when DOL and P/PV decided to work
together in early 2003. Once that decision was made, financing arrangements
fell into place, the program gelled quickly
and implementation began in short order.
The eventual partnership evolved from
initial conversations between Davie and
Orrell that had taken place in the fall
of 2001, concerning how DOL might
cooperate with NFBI. Davie also told
Orrell about P/PV’s interest in developing
an adult reentry initiative. Conversations
continued during the summer of 2002,
and Orrell told P/PV about the findings
of CFBCI’s focus groups with businesses.
These findings underlined the promise of
developing a job training and placement
program tied to a mentoring program
that used faith-based volunteers.
In the fall of 2002 Davie approached
Orrell about P/PV assisting with CFBCI’s
reentry project and to see how the two
organizations might work together. At
first, it was assumed that the project, with
an estimated budget of $2.5 million for its
first year, would be put out for competitive bidding with a request for proposals.
But P/PV realized that with such a route,
it could take a year to 18 months to get
the project going. P/PV decided to try to
win a sole-source contract for managing
the project by bringing its own funds to
the table. If P/PV succeeded, Ready4Work
could be funded before the end of that
fiscal year.

The likelihood of government support
helped P/PV to line up the foundation
funding that had eluded it before. The
Annie E. Casey Foundation, which supported P/PV’s work in the past, quickly
agreed to commit $850,000 over a threeyear period.
P/PV also had its own funds at its disposal.
In 1997 the Ford Foundation had given
P/PV a $4 million endowment and a $3.5
million new venture fund to help get new
initiatives off the ground. In February
2003 P/PV’s board gave permission to
use up to $1 million of that venture fund
toward working with DOL on a reentry
program. So, with the funding from the
Casey Foundation, “we were able to come
to the table with about $2 million,” says
P/PV’s Walker, as a match for the $2.5
million in DOL funds.
With that, things moved quickly. P/PV’s
proposal included case management as
a key program component, along with
employment and mentoring. P/PV’s
experience with NFBI had convinced it
that case management was necessary to
ensure consistency of service delivery and
reporting. Orrell agreed, happy to have
the advantage of P/PV’s hands-on experience with small faith-based organizations.
The DOL’s Employment and Training
Administration agreed to fund P/PV’s proposal with a first-year grant of $2.5 million,
subject to approval by a federal procurement-review board that examines the
awarding of sole-source contracts. Under
federal rules, such contracts are allowed,
among other reasons, if the proposal is
unique and innovative or if the government is able to leverage its funds with
private resources. The review board found
that P/PV’s proposal could be approved on
either ground, and gave the go-ahead.

12

Another source of funding soon fell
into place when OJJDP, with the support of Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH),
agreed to spend funds allocated under
the Partnership for High-Risk Youth to
create Ready4Work sites specifically for
juveniles ages 14 to 18. That funding, up
to $3 million a year for three years, was
slated to begin the following fiscal year, in
September 2003.
By March 2003, Ready4Work: An Ex-Prisoner,
Community and Faith Initiative was born.

13

THE PROGRAM AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION
Having heard the need expressed by
community and faith leaders, and having
reflected on the challenge of serving the
reentry population, Ready4Work’s planners were prepared to launch a major
new initiative. With resources for the
first year of the program lined up, P/PV
began implementation in March 2003.
Earlier demonstrations provided considerable insights into how to set up the
infrastructure for Ready4Work. A tri-level
governance structure was created to
oversee the initiative; it was composed of
a national advisory council, local advisory
councils and local lead agencies.
The National Advisory Council
As a first step in implementing the program, P/PV formed an advisory council of
experts in the fields of criminology, prison
administration, justice, social services
and faith. This group was instituted to
meet two times a year in person and twice
annually via conference call to discuss
current research and understanding of
reentry, to define the knowledge gaps
in the field and to develop strategies to
address them.
Members come from a variety of backgrounds and represent some of the
country’s leading experts in reentry,
program administration, public policy,
the corrections system and the urban
faith community. Among others, members
include the Hon. Mary Leftridge Byrd,
deputy secretary for specialized facilities and programs for the Pennsylvania
Department of Corrections; The
Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes, who
serves on the bench of Pennsylvania’s
Court of Common Pleas; Stacia Murphy,
president of the National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; the
Rev. Dr. Calvin Pressley, a pastor for over
thirty years and recent director of the
Interdenominational Theological Center’s
Institute of Church Administration and
Management; Dr. Ronald Mincy, Russell
Professor of Social Policy at Columbia
University; and Dr. Matthew McGuire,
vice president of institutional marketing

and client services for Ariel Capital
Management, Inc.
The council was designed to react to
ongoing challenges facing the initiative,
offer feedback and oversight, and shape
evaluation strategies. P/PV staff would
then pass on guidance from this body of
experts to staff leaders and practitioners
in local sites.
Site Selection, Local Lead Agencies and
Local Advisory Councils
Throughout their planning processes,
P/PV and DOL engaged in extensive reconnaissance around the question of who
should be the local lead agencies for a
reentry initiative. They looked for organizations with strong capacity to work with
high-risk individuals and a track record of
building solid collaborations in areas with
high populations of returning prisoners.
Geographic diversity was important, and
DOL wanted to include both communitybased and faith-based institutions. The
partners also sought out contexts in which
there existed a demonstrated willingness
on the part of the local business and
criminal justice sectors to take part in a
collaborative reentry initiative.
With input from DOL and OJJDP, P/PV
eventually selected 11 adult sites and
seven juvenile sites, listed in the box on
page 14.
One of the first responsibilities of each
lead agency was to develop a local
advisory council to guide the implementation of its local effort. At each site,
this local council would be composed of
representatives from the initiative’s organizational partners and other community
stakeholders, including the business
community, criminal and/or juvenile
justice institutions, social service agencies,
workforce development agencies, local
education institutions and local government. The council would provide advice,
identify resources, and establish connections for the local initiative.

14

Ready4Work Adult Sites

Chicago:

The SAFER Foundation
Secular nonprofit

Detroit:

America Works
For-profit, in collaboration with Hartford Memorial Church

Houston:

Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and InnerChange Freedom Initiative
Faith-based nonprofit

Jacksonville:

Operation New Hope
Faith-based, nonprofit community-development corporation

Los Angeles:

Union Rescue Mission
Faith-based nonprofit

Memphis:

The City of Memphis, Second Chance Ex-Felon Program
City program

Milwaukee:

Holy Cathedral/Word of Hope Ministries
Faith-based nonprofit

New York:

Exodus Transitional Community
Faith-based nonprofit

Oakland:

Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation
Faith-based nonprofit

Philadelphia:

Search for Common Ground
Secular international nonprofit

Washington DC:

East of the River Clergy Police Community Partnership
Faith-based nonprofit
Ready4Work Juvenile Sites

Boston:

Straight Ahead Ministries
Faith-based nonprofit

Brooklyn:

Girls Reentry Assistance and Support
Secular public agency

Camden:

Volunteers of America Delaware Valley
Faith-based nonprofit

Houston:

Greater St. Paul Community Development Corporation
Faith-based nonprofit

Los Angeles:

LA Ten-Point Coalition
Faith-based nonprofit

Seattle:

Church Council of Greater Seattle
Faith-based nonprofit

15

Business participation on the council was
also critical for developing job opportunities: through its research, DOL had come
to believe that the best spokesperson to
encourage businesses to employ ex-prisoners would be another businessperson.
“It isn’t as effective to have a social worker
talk to business people,” says Orrell. DOL
wanted to see business-to-business testimonials emerge from Ready4Work, with one
business owner telling another that hiring
returnees was helpful for the bottom line.
Program Components
The local lead agencies, with the support
of their advisory councils and technical
assistance from P/PV, were made responsible for planning and implementing
the local initiative. Their tasks included
the following:
• Identifying participant referral sources.
Ready4Work program participants
needed to be adult and juvenile
offenders who were returning to a targeted geographic area from municipal,
state and federal institutions. Each lead
agency, along with its advisory board,
was tasked with identifying correctional
institutions that could recommend
candidates for the program. Adult participants had to be between the ages of
18 and 34, and prisoners who had committed violent or sexual offenses were
not eligible. Juvenile participants had
to have been sentenced for an offense
between the ages of 14 and 18, although
they were permitted to be as old as 21
upon enrollment in the program. Site
leaders—often the case managers—
worked to cultivate strong relationships
with officials in nearby correctional
facilities. They also sought out potential
participants through congregations and
local community organizations.
• Screening Ready4Work candidates.
Suitability for the initiative took into
consideration the criminal record,
public-safety factors, and the attitude
and willingness of each former prisoner.

Given the time commitment needed
to participate in the program’s various
elements, it was critical that those who
enrolled did so freely and because they
desired to improve their circumstances
after release from incarceration. Sites
were also required to serve all prospective participants who fit the age and
committing-offense criteria.
• Offering services designed to ensure longterm and meaningful attachment to the
labor market. To help create a seamless
network of local employment services,
lead agencies worked with a variety of
other programs, including Workforce
Investment Boards, One-Stop Career
Centers, workforce development organizations, local educational institutions
and other community-and faith-based
organizations. Moreover, at conferences and through web-based meetings,
P/PV’s workforce-sector technical assistance providers offered insight and
training in this component.
Each site developed mechanisms for
employment readiness, placement and
post-placement support services. Sites
worked hard to “recruit” employers,
treating them as customers and describing to them the merits of hiring
prescreened and trained Ready4Work
participants. Faith- and communitybased organizations offered orientation
and post-placement support for business leaders and managers who were
willing to employ program participants.
Whenever possible, sites informed the
development and implementation of
employment services by involving businesses in the local council. Business
leaders participated in mock job fairs
and provided feedback to local sites
about the strengths and weaknesses
of their programs. As hoped, business
executives serving on Ready4Work
local councils generally proved to be
effective at introducing the concept of
Ready4Work to other businesses, and
at addressing employer anxieties and at
opening doors for returnees.22

16

• Recruiting, screening, training and supporting faith-based mentors. Each lead
agency was required to develop and
implement a strategy to recruit and
retain mentors who were then matched
with returnees. P/PV offered guidance,
including training in best practices;
The Mentoring Center, the National
Association of Blacks in Criminal
Justice and several other consultants
were brought on to assist site staff with
the mentoring component. P/PV’s
senior advisor on faith-based initiatives,
the Rev. W. Wilson Goode, Sr., also provided advice in this area, based on his
extensive experience with the Amachi
program.
The goal was to match every adult
Ready4Work participant with an
appropriate mentor, who was
primarily responsible for supporting
the returnee in the transition back
to the community, especially to the
workplace—offering support, guidance
and assistance with personal and work
challenges. Not every participant
wanted a mentor, but the majority
did.23 Youth participants were also
matched with mentors, who provided
academic, relational and, where
appropriate, world-of-work support.
Lead agencies worked closely with the
congregations and community-based
organizations that recruited mentors.
They screened the mentors according
to national standards, matched them
with program participants, offered
ongoing support and provided case
management for mentors and mentees.
Mentors were required to complete a
monthly log describing their contact
with their mentees. Case managers
regularly asked participants about their
relationships, to help reinforce participation and negotiate any concerns.
• Providing case management and referral
and/or direct wraparound services as
needed. Case management was conceived as the primary component that
would hold together Ready4Work’s

various other elements. Each site developed a strategy whereby case managers
worked individually with participants to
maximize their likelihood of job retention and progress, establish successful
mentoring, and identify other services
needed to successfully reenter society
at large. Sites typically hired two to
four full-time case managers, who were
required to meet regularly with participants and to offer individual referrals
for outside services, such as substance
abuse treatment, housing, transportation and mental and/or physical health
services. Areas of special emphasis included health-related concerns such as
HIV/AIDS support, services for parents
and families, and assistance with obtaining identification (usually a driver’s
license or social security card).24 Sites
were urged to keep case managers’
client lists manageable—25 to 35
participants—which helped ensure the
successful delivery of services.
• Providing literacy, education and workbased learning opportunities. For adult
ex-prisoners demonstrating need, and
for all juvenile returnees participating
in the local initiative, sites provided
appropriate educational opportunities
in partnership with other local institutions. These included GED programs,
alternative high schools for delinquent
youth, community colleges or historically black colleges and universities,
specialized work-learning programs
for youthful offenders and soft skills
or training programs tailored to the
reentry population.
• Maintaining contact and compliance with
P/PV and the national initiative. Each
lead agency had responsibility for data
collection and reporting to P/PV (P/PV
staff developed and trained sites to
use a common data-collection system).
Site leaders and P/PV operations staff
worked together to organize quarterly
on-site technical assistance visits, as
well as monthly desk audits and weekly
progress reports.

17

• Sharing lessons learned. Sites in P/PV’s
previous demonstrations had reported
that some of their richest learning
experiences came from hearing about
what other agencies were doing to
meet implementation challenges. The
Ready4Work initiative was designed to
provide ample opportunity for crosssite learning, with sites being called
upon to present their implementation
strategies, successes and challenges
to other sites at national conferences. For example, all 17 sites came
together for a three-day conference
in the spring of 2004, in Los Angeles,
and again in March 2005, in Seattle.
The juvenile Ready4Work sites gathered in Philadelphia in August 2005,
to discuss issues specific to serving
younger returnees. In addition to these
in-person gatherings, sites have also
been required to take part in a series of
web-based meetings, in which technical assistance was regularly offered
in areas such as financial management,
case management, job development,
mentoring and financial sustainability.
P/PV has regularly shared other relevant material with the sites as well,
including an occasional newsletter,
Ready4Work News. It developed a
mentoring pamphlet, which identified
boundaries concerning proselytization
and prohibitions against publicly
funding any inherently religious
activity; sites used the pamphlet as a
resource in local mentor training sessions. P/PV also convened information
sessions about emerging public policy
in the area of prisoner reentry.

18

PROGRAM EXPANSION
In the late spring of 2004, Ready4Work
received $5 million from DOL to fund the
second and third years of its program. That
summer, Ready4Work received an additional $10 million from DOL, to be used
over the next two years—primarily to intensify and strengthen the services it can offer
participants, to support the sites’ technical
assistance needs and to fund an enlarged
communications and report strategy.
The expansion grant has strengthened
Ready4Work in the following ways:
Integration and Enhancement of Services
to Participants
• Job development and job placement.
Recent research from the Center for
Research on Religion and Urban Civil
Society has found that different kinds
of providers have distinct strengths
in implementing welfare-to-work
programs. Faith-based programs, for
example, were found to be particularly
effective in increasing clients’ sense of
hope and creating a social network.
Moreover, in a study of welfare-to-work
programs in Los Angeles, for-profit
providers were deemed nearly twice as
successful as other kinds of agencies
in placing unemployed clients in jobs.
Specifically, 12 months into providing
services to welfare-to-work recipients,
these for-profit programs were able to
find jobs for 59 percent of their populations, compared with the average
employment rate of less than 25
percent attributed to other providers.25
Familiar with this research, DOL officials asked P/PV to reach out to such
for-profit providers and to enlist them
in partnerships with local Ready4Work
sites. DOL wanted to see whether
for-profit providers could effectively
employ strategies not commonly used
by nonprofit agencies, such as giving
financial incentives to jobs counselors
to get ex-prisoners to complete training
programs, meet their parole requirements and find and hold jobs. While
the study was anecdotal rather than

conclusive, P/PV agreed to explore
whether there could be benefits in
partnering with this sector.
The expansion grant allowed
Ready4Work to use leading for-profit
job placement firms, most notably
America Works, to strengthen the
placement methods currently being
used by project sites. Operation
New Hope in Jacksonville, Florida,
Ready4Work’s first site, said that input
from America Works “was one of the
most important things that has taken
place.” Kevin Gay, New Hope’s executive director, noted the consultant
from America Works stressed that the
program needed to consider employers
as the program’s “customers” and the
participants in the program as the
“product.” As Gay added, “We need to
get our product ready for the market.”
The interaction with America Works
led Operation New Hope to change
its staffing and to transform its jobreadiness training for participants into
a formal two-week curriculum that
includes resumé-writing, interview skills
and how to research job possibilities.
The new funds also allowed P/PV to
draw on lessons learned from the
earlier linkage of NFBI to the Job
Corps. In that program, youth enrolled
by mentors from faith-based sites had
a higher success rate than did others
referred to Job Corps.
• Integration of Ready4Work with other
government programs. From its inception,
Ready4Work’s program was designed
to enable the program to be able to
tap into sources of support that could
sustain returnees even beyond the
duration of the initiative. Two national
experts on these issues are now consulting with Ready4Work sites. The first
is Jason Turner, who helped design
successful welfare reform efforts in
Wisconsin and New York City. The
second is Mark S. Hoover, another
key principal of welfare reform in

19

Wisconsin and New York. Their goal is
to help the sites access public services
available to returnees, such as food
stamps and TANF funds, and generally
promote the long-term sustainability
of the sites. DOL’s Employment and
Training Administration believes one
important route is to link Ready4Work
to the Department of Agriculture’s
Food Stamp Employment and Training
Program funding streams.
Knowledge Development and
Dissemination
In addition to the planned publication
of the project’s research reports, P/PV
has convened three major conferences
for site leaders and practitioners; another
conference will be convened in early 2006
to disseminate the project’s lessons and
work—both for those inside the initiative
and for policymakers and social workers
considering its lessons for future projects.
Moreover, P/PV has commissioned a study
by two outside scholars, who will conduct
an in-depth analysis of three Ready4Work
sites in the Southeastern U.S. (the programs to be profiled are in Washington
DC, Memphis and Jacksonville).26
P/PV is also providing technical assistance
to sites through ongoing web-based conferences. Smaller in-person conferences
are also being convened. These have
included a “New Horizons in Reentry”
gathering for all site leaders, focusing on
a more seamless model of reentry, based
on the experiences of those outside the
Ready4Work project. Additionally, P/PV
hosted a Juvenile Ready4Work seminar
focusing exclusively on the concerns
of juveniles who are leaving detention
centers, with a particular emphasis on
education and vocational training. A
conference for religious leaders is also
planned and will focus on how congregations can better equip returnees and
volunteers alike to address concerns
around rising rates of HIV/AIDS.

Finally, with funds from P/PV’s Venture
Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation,
P/PV is producing a feature-length documentary on Ready4Work, highlighting
its New York site, Exodus Transitional
Community. P/PV believes the documentary will inspire service on the part
of volunteers and inform public understanding of reentry issues.

20

PROMISING PRACTICES
Halfway through the Ready4Work demonstration, initial best practices have begun
to emerge. Since the circumstances faced
by each site vary slightly, unique strategies are being employed. Nonetheless,
common themes are evident, ranging
across the four primary program areas:
recruiting participants, providing case
management, developing the mentoring
component and building an effective
job training and placement program.
While additional best practices will likely
become discernible in the final year of the
project, the following strategies have been
identified as particularly promising.
Recruitment
• Establishing corrections partnerships. While
recruiting, sites have found it valuable
to establish formal partnerships with
the local Department of Corrections
(DOC), including federal prisons,
state penitentiaries, and, in the case of
programs involving young people, local
Juvenile Justice commissions. Sites have
been encouraged to develop relationships with incarcerated individuals
prior to their release, since this allows
more time for relationships to develop
between participants and their case
managers and mentors. Many sites
have discovered that DOC officials are
quite willing to gather eligible participants for a special presentation inside
prisons, and this offers case managers
or other program staff responsible for
recruiting Ready4Work participants an
opportunity to speak directly to prospective participants.
• Advertising. In recruiting participants
after their release from prison, several sites have found that the use of
advertising in the local newspaper
is a remarkably promising tool, for
several reasons. Most importantly, this
process inherently screens prospective participants for those wanting to
work, enabling those willing to engage
“the system” to take the initiative to
find a program that can help them do

so. In both Detroit and Milwaukee,
for example, small “Help Wanted”
advertisements generated hundreds of
responses. Similarly, in Oakland, the
lead Ready4Work site distributed flyers
in zip codes where exceptionally large
numbers of returnees were living, and
this too produced a large pool of selfmotivated applicants.
Case Management
As noted earlier, the case management
element has been found to be critical,
since in many ways it is the glue that holds
together the program’s various components. Sites have learned, first, that it is
crucial to develop a clear definition of
case manager roles and responsibilities.
Case managers are typically responsible
for many tasks: for recruitment, for
performing the initial assessment, for connecting participants to housing and other
support services, and for ensuring that
participants receive suitable job training,
educational services and mentoring.
Since the case manager’s role is in many
respects to be “the face” of the program,
expectations for this job need to be
clearly delineated. It is also important
that they be given a manageable caseload,
typically 25 to 35 participants. Providing
training and closer supervision for those
less experienced, or for those who come
from less traditional backgrounds, has
also been found useful by Ready4Work’s
most successful sites.
Mentoring
The mentoring component is perhaps the
most distinctive—and the most experimental—element of Ready4Work. Several
important practices have emerged in this
new field.
• Hiring a mentor coordinator. Sites have
found that hiring a mentor coordinator is crucial to the success of the
mentoring component. Programming
has typically worked best when this is
one person, not several, who works

21

full-time or half-time as a member of
the program team, so he or she will be
familiar with all mentoring concerns.
An alternative model is to provide a
stipend for congregational mentor
coordinators, whereby one coordinator
in each congregation oversees volunteer mentors from a particular church,
synagogue, or mosque, and facilitates
their public recognition and support.
• Obtaining pastoral endorsement. When
working with congregations, it is critical
to have “buy-in” and support from the
pastor, rabbi or imam so that they regularly carry the mentoring message to
their congregations, challenging them
to become involved and to persevere
in the work. Several sites have generated remarkably large numbers of male
mentors—an unusual trend in many
urban communities—precisely because
pastors have challenged the men in
their congregations to work alongside
this disadvantaged population. (Crossgender matches are disallowed, except
in the instances of group mentoring
that could involve both a male and
female mentor with a larger group of
participants.)
• Early mentoring intervention. Ex-prisoners are in many ways a challenging
population. Many have psychological
barriers and past experiences that
hinder their involvement as mentees.
Sites have found that these barriers can
often be minimized by beginning the
mentor-mentee relationship prior to a
participant’s release from prison, giving
the relationship more time to develop.
• Offering robust mentor training and
support. With P/PV’s assistance, sites
have been able to offer effective
training to help prepare mentors for
their roles. Staff from The Mentoring
Center and mentoring expert Jerry
Sherk (a former Cleveland Browns
player who now works as a full-time
mentoring consultant) have also been
brought in to provide such training.27

Based on past research findings from
P/PV, sites have worked to ensure
that case managers play an active role
in mentoring relationships.28 This
provides stability for the participant,
reinforces the mentor training sessions
and offers a window for the mentor
to discuss other program elements,
including any possible concerns.
Employment
• Developing outside collaborations. One of
the most important practices has been
to develop partnerships that can provide a wider range of educational and
jobs-oriented training for participants.
These can include cooperation with
local One-Stop Career Centers, with
outside agencies who offer soft skills
or interview training, with communitybased GED training groups and many
others. When available, transitional
jobs that offer stipends can be another
critical factor for participants.
• Balancing creativity and flexibility. Sites
have been challenged to balance
a focus on strong job training with
their participants’ need to begin work
immediately. Many case managers
and program directors say they have
found it helpful to cultivate flexible
approaches that can meet individual
participants “where they are.”
• Recruiting employers for job development.
Sites have also noted the importance
of having one staff member focus on
recruiting employers, especially when
he or she has professional experience
in this role. This person, typically
called a job developer, should take a
business-to-business approach, emphasizing to prospective employers
that Ready4Work participants have
been screened and trained—and that
employers stand to gain from the Work
Opportunity Tax Credit, as well as
the Federal Bonding Program, which
protects employers from possible law-

22

suits for past crimes that the returnees
might have committed.
• Matching employees strategically. Sites
need to utilize strategies that match the
right participant with specific job openings, thus cultivating wider employer
satisfaction and strengthening the likelihood of a participant’s job retention.
It is critical that the job developer gets
to know both sides—the prospective
employer and prospective employees—
in order to make effective matches.
• Following up. Follow-up, both with
participants and their employers,
is crucial. It is important to see job
placement not as an end but rather
as a beginning. On-the-job visits by
the job developer or case manager
have proved effective in many sites,
offering insight into job satisfaction,
work conditions and employers’
concerns—or appreciation.
The above-named practices, especially
when rooted in program activities that
truly place individuals and their needs at
the center of services, are likely to produce greater success and help participants
move toward self-sufficiency.29

23

AWAITING THE RESULTS
Ready4Work arose in response to feedback from employers about what it would
take for them to hire returnees; it also
grew from the desire to tap the potential
of faith-based organizations to work with
these high-risk individuals. The hopedfor outcomes of the model are reduced
recidivism, productive engagement by
returnees in the workforce and the creation of healthy social relationships.
While it will take a formal impact evaluation of the program’s results to see if
the Ready4Work model lives up to its
promise, the initial trends appear to be
positive, with high participation statistics
and few reported instances of recidivism.
As of June 1, 2005, 97 percent of both
adult and juvenile participants were
being actively case-managed through a
comprehensive needs-assessment and
the subsequent provision of services,
monitoring and follow-up; 66 percent had
received one-to-one or group mentoring
support; and 61 percent of all active
participants were employed—with 58
percent of those having retained their
job for at least three months.30 While the
average wage was reported at $7.95 per
hour, some participants, especially those
who had taken advantage of apprenticeship programs and vocational training,
reported wages as high as $26.00 per
hour. Finally, of all participants who had
ever enrolled in the program, 59 percent
had gotten jobs.
P/PV is conducting ongoing research on
the program’s implementation to develop
knowledge for funders, policymakers and
others about successful program strategies.
Specific implementation guides will look at
two potentially difficult areas that reentry
programs must address: first, how sites
most effectively connect returnees to the
labor market and educational opportunities, and second, how sites most effectively
facilitate supportive relationships among
returnees, community volunteers and/or
returnee family members.

Of course, abiding questions about the
implementation of the initiative are
widespread, and their answers will find a
large interested audience. For example,
what are the characteristics of the men
and women the initiative serves, and what
kinds of participants can benefit most
from a cross-sector intervention of this
kind? How successfully do faith-based and
community-based organizations provide
ongoing employment readiness, postplacement support, mentoring and case
management to the men and women
who are reentering society? How effective are the lead organizations in forming
and maintaining effective partnerships
with the varied organizations that are
required for the success of this intervention? Are the needs of the local businesses
and employers being met through the
initiative—and are local businesses able
and willing to provide employment
opportunities and training to this population of former prisoners? How does the
initiative’s ability to provide employment
opportunities vary with changes in local
economic conditions, and what other
contextual issues provide opportunities
and challenges to the implementation of
the initiative? With regard to mentoring,
what kind of mentoring—group, individual or team—is best when it comes
to working with this high-risk adult
population? What challenges exist in
identifying needed services and in collaborating with other service agencies?
Can those challenges be overcome?
Initial responses to these questions that
are discernible through Ready4Work have
already helped to form core principles of
the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI), a
much larger initiative of the Bush administration. By its original design, the
PRI program was designed to cost $300
million over four years (2005–2009),
involving the Department of Housing
and Urban Development as well as the
Department of Labor and the Department
of Justice. A proposed element was that,
in addition to providing returnees with

24

job training and mentoring, the PRI
planned to partially subsidize transitional housing for returnees. However,
the initial program year received $35
million in Congressional support, and
awards to local community-based and
faith-based groups were scheduled for
release by October 2005. Planning for all
three cabinet agencies was convened by
the Department of Labor, whose officials
have stated that their experience with
Ready4Work informed the solicitation for
grant applications for the PRI.
With a new grant from the Ford
Foundation, P/PV is also exploring ways
for faith-based groups engaged in this
work to support participants and others in
their communities who are HIV-positive
and/or have AIDS. Ex-prisoners today are
five times more likely than the general
population to have HIV, and in 2002,
8.8 percent of prisoners tested positive
for HIV.31 The infection has reached
near-epidemic status particularly in the
African American community, which
makes up the majority of those served
by Ready4Work. In North Carolina, for
example, African Americans account for
nearly 70 percent of existing HIV/AIDS
cases.32 The grant is specifically intended
to support the health assessments of
Ready4Work participants themselves,
assess the capacity of sites to address HIV
and AIDS, support sites in increasing their
capacity in this area (primarily through
the development of a referral network),
and develop a public policy, advocacy and
education agenda aimed at reducing the
spread of HIV/AIDS by the reentering
population.
Clearly the needs of this population
are significant; by design, this initiative—in addition to meeting many of
those needs—is beginning to provide
policymakers and practitioners with
important insights about how the public
sector, philanthropies, businesses and
local community-based and faith-based
organizations can work together to help
ex-prisoners achieve self-sufficiency. It is

also serving a group of individuals that
few in society have taken considerable
time or interest in assisting. Experts have
demonstrated that ex-inmates, without
this kind of help, are returning to prison
at astonishing rates. The public costs
of recidivism affect all of us—beyond
harming victims, perpetrators and their
immediate families in particularly traumatic ways.
Ready4Work is taking a hard, thorough
look at whether faith-based and community-based groups can help fill a void and
steer returnees away from a life of crime.
And since recent trends suggest reentry
in the U.S. is an expanding rather than a
retreating social policy problem, practitioners and policymakers alike may do well
to carefully heed its results.33

25

ENDNOTES
1 Martinson, Robert. “What Works? Questions
and Answers about Prison Reform.” Public
Interest 35:22-35, 1974.
2 Petersilia, Joan. When Prisoners Come Home:
Parole and Reentry. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2003.
3 National Corrections Reporting Program,
Bureau of Justice Statistics.
4 Ibid.
5 Beginning in 1998, NFBI was a national
demonstration project in 15 cities, offering
employment, education and mentoring for
older youth who had been involved in the
juvenile justice system. For a more complete
description, see Tracey A. Hartmann,
Moving Beyond the Walls: Faith and Justice
Partnerships Working for High-Risk Youth.
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures,
2003.
6 Patrick Langan and David Levin. Recidivism
of Prisoners Released in 1994. Washington,
DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002.
7 Travis, Jeremy, Amy Solomon and Michelle
Ward. From Prison to Home: The Dimensions
and Consequences of Reentry. Washington:
Urban Institute, 2001.
8 Lynch, James P. and William J. Sabol.
Prisoner Reentry in Perspective. Washington,
DC: Urban Institute, 2001.
9 Petersilia.
10 Kotloff, Lauren. Leaving the Street: Young
Fathers Move from Hustling to Legitimate Work.
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures,
2004.
11 Petersilia.
12 Lipsey, Mark W. What Works: Reducing
Reoffending, edited by James McQuire. West
Sussex, U.K.: Wiley, 1995.
13 Holzer, Harry, Steven Raphael and Michael
Stoll. “Can Employers Play a More Positive
Parole in Prisoner Reentry?” Paper presented at the Urban Institute’s Reentry
Roundtable, Washington, DC, 2002.
14 Haberman, Clyde. “He Did Time, So He’s
Unfit to Do Hair,” in The New York Times,
March 4, 2005.

15 Buck, Maria. Getting Back to Work:
Employment Programs for Ex-Offenders.
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures,
2000.
16 Bushway, Shawn and Peter Reuter. “Labor
Markets and Crime.” In Crime: Public Policies
for Crime in Control, edited by J. Q. Wilson
and J. Petersilia. San Francisco: ICS Press,
2002.
17 Petersilia.
18 Information about Prison Fellowship’s array
of programming for inmates
and returnees can be found at
www.ifiprison.org and at www.pfm.org.
19 Tierney, Joseph and Jean Baldwin
Grossman. Making a Difference: An Impact
Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Philadelphia:
Public/Private Ventures, 1995.
20 Johnson, Byron. A Better Kind of High: How
Religious Commitment Reduces Drug Use Among
Poor Urban Teens. New York: Manhattan
Institute Center for Civic Innovation, 2002.
21 Wallsten, Peter. “Bush to Seek Funding for
Faith-Based Charities,” in The Los Angeles
Times, July 26, 2005.
22According to William Hudson, president
and general manager of the Memphis Area
Transit Authority and also a member of the
local advisory council of Second Chance,
his city’s Ready4Work initiative: “Executives
would pull me aside and say, ‘Tell me a little
more about how the program works.’”
23 As of the middle of the second program
year (February 28, 2005), for example, 78
percent of all adult participants and 60 percent of juvenile participants had received
one-to-one or group mentoring support.
24 Some faith- and community-based institutions in the initiative also established
partnerships with community health
clinics, community-based substance abuse
or mental health providers. Primarily, sites
focused on assisting program participants
in navigating the health system, identifying
resources and understanding eligibility
requirements and application processes
for services and insurance available to the
returnee population. Additionally, sites
worked to facilitate relationships between
ex-prisoners and their families, including
both assisting fathers in negotiating the
child support system (often an area of
frustration for returnee parents), and in

26

some cases actually helping individuals and
organizations negotiate with local child support systems to reduce or waive child support payments for certain periods of time.
25 Monsma, Stephen V. and J. Christopher
Soper. “What Works: Comparing the
Effectiveness of Welfare-to-Work Programs
in Los Angeles,” in Center for Research on
Religion and Urban Civil Society Report, 2003.
(See especially p. 7.)
26 This report is being written by two sociologists from the Institute for Families on
Society at the University of South Carolina,
Dr. Andrew Billingsley and Dr. Patricia
Motes, and is expected to be published by
P/PV in 2006.
27 Based in California and founded in 1991,
The Mentoring Center has a two-tiered mission: to improve the quality and effectiveness of mentoring programs and to provide
a direct service mentoring program model
designed to transform the lives of the most
highly at-risk youth. The organization was
created to serve as a technical assistance
and training provider for mentoring programs in the Bay Area, and it has served
more than 800 mentoring programs in its
12 years of operation (see www.mentor.org).
28 Bauldry, Shawn and Tracey A. Hartmann.
The Promise and Challenge of Mentoring HighRisk Youth: Findings From the National FaithBased Initiative. Philadelphia: Public/Private
Ventures, 2004.
29 For more information about Ready4Work’s
emerging best practices, see Linda Jucovy’s
forthcoming report, which will be available
on P/PV’s website, www.ppv.org.
30 While anecdotal evidence from sites about
known instances of recidivism appear to
be quite positive, more time is needed
before any comprehensive analysis is done.
Additionally, these statistics come from an
updated, second-year “snapshot” of the
program’s work, based on more than 2,700
total participants who had been recruited
by the sites.
31 The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services estimated that in 2000,
over 56,000 current inmates were HIV-positive, and AIDS is the number-one killer of
ex-prisoners in several states (see “Special

Programs of National Significance Report
on New 1999-2000 Initiatives: Correctional
Settings,” at ftp://ftp.hrsa.gov/hab/
SpnsRpt5.pdf, September 2000, p. 35).
32 Clemetson, Lynette. “Links Between Prison
and AIDS Affecting Blacks Inside and Out,”
The New York Times, August 7, 2004.
33 See Petersilia’s When Prisoners Come Home,
which suggests at least 635,000 people will
be released from federal prisons in the
years following 2002 (see especially p. v,
and pps. 3-20). See also “Matters of Faith
… and Prison,” written by Josh Good and
published by the Center for Public Justice,
which outlines average annual costs of detaining an individual, reincarceration rates
in the U.S., and the problem of overflowing
jails due to stiffer drug penalties and other
“get-tough-on-crime” legislation on the
books since the 1980s (available online at
http://www.cpjustice.org/stories/
storyReader$1233).

27

APPENDIX A: ADULT READY4WORK SITES
Chicago, IL
The SAFER Foundation opened its doors in Chicago in 1972 as a service provider to
former offenders seeking to obtain employment following release from prison or jail.
Today, at nine locations in Illinois and Iowa, SAFER provides services to over 8,000
former offenders each year. The Foundation’s focus remains preparing released
prisoners for the world of work and then helping them to find and keep meaningful
employment through a full range of employment services. SAFER also provides its
clients with additional services, including substance abuse treatment, education and life
skills. In addition, as the only nonprofit private organization to manage adult transition
centers for the Illinois Department of Corrections, SAFER provides secured oversight
and services for over 500 males in two residential facilities located on the west side of
Chicago. Through its involvement with the Ready4Work project, SAFER is partnering
with five congregations in Chicago neighborhoods that have the largest numbers of
returnees, providing technical assistance and other resources to enhance program
development and the delivery of services for former prisoners. Full-time case managers
operating out of offices near each congregation work with SAFER staff to provide
returnees with pre-employment training, job referrals and placement opportunities.
SAFER also has a very strong reputation with a network of local businesses that hires
returnees.
Detroit, MI
America Works Detroit is a for-profit job training and placement organization that is
leading the local Ready4Work initiative in collaboration with the Hartford Memorial
Church of Detroit, where Dr. Charles Adams is the senior pastor. In an innovative
display of cooperation between the church’s leadership and Detroit America Works,
Hartford Memorial is recruiting mentors to work with participants on a one-to-one
basis. America Works administers comprehensive job training, case management and
job placement services, with an emphasis on rapid attachment to the workforce following a mandatory one-week, 40-hour job-training class. As a nationally recognized
job placement agency, America Works operates out of an innovative, market-driven
approach to welfare programs, and has achieved demonstrable success in administering
its criminal justice curriculum with participants. Two staff members work full-time to
recruit employers and help job seekers with the interview process, offering employment
opportunities matched to participants according to their abilities and interests.
Houston, TX
Moving Forward is run by the Innerchange Freedom Initiative (IFI) in collaboration with
Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church (WABC). WABC has a 41-year history of ecumenical
and outside collaboration in providing services to children, Boy/Girl Scouts, prisoners,
the poor, homeless and the elderly. Officially, WABC’s 5 C’s Foundation is serving as
the church’s lead agency, which subcontracts direct services to IFI, which also offers
programming for 200 inmates and 130 former inmates at the Carol Vance Unit prison.
(Inmates who are classified as “minimum-in” or lower custody may be housed at the
unit.) Only inmates who are going to return to Harris County or surrounding counties may participate in Moving Forward’s program. Upon successfully completing the
in-care portion of the program, members are placed in aftercare, where they receive
help in securing a home, finding employment and establishing a relationship with a
mentor. After six months of successful reintegration, they may then be recommended
for graduation from the program. The program also receives direct referrals from the

28

Harris County Probation and Parole Departments; unlike IFI’s other program, Moving
Forward’s participants are not required to develop a relationship with a church.
Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville Ready4Work was developed in 2002 by the Department of Labor’s Center for
Faith Based Initiatives as the pilot site of the Ready4Work initiative. Jacksonville
Ready4Work brings together a collaboration of existing programs that together create a
web of services for returnees. Two faith-based organizations have thus far combined
efforts to provide leadership for this program: Operation New Hope and City Center
Workforce Development. Operation New Hope was formed in January 1999 to provide
affordable housing in the historic Springfield District of downtown Jacksonville and the
surrounding urban core, and today provides job training and job placement in the
construction field for returnees. City Center Workforce Development recruits
participants into the program from prison facilities, partners with other organizations
to recruit mentors from the faith community and supplies case management to
participants and mentors.
Los Angeles, CA
Founded in 1891, the Union Rescue Mission (URM) is the largest homeless mission in
the United States. URM’s mission is to bring help and hope to homeless and poor men,
women and children living in the city of Los Angeles. Many of the clients seeking assistance from URM are returnees. Over the years URM has grown in its efforts to feed
both body and soul, helping individuals and families break the cycle of poverty and
achieve self-sufficiency. URM works with and provides valuable services to returnees
in many different capacities such as emergency services (food, shelter and clothing),
mental, dental and health services, job-training and placement services, and spiritual/
recovery programs. In 1994 URM moved into a 225,000 square foot facility able to
shelter 1,000 persons per night, and which includes a computer-based learning center,
library, children’s play and study areas, and a gymnasium for its short-term and longterm guests. Thanks to the many community partnerships it has formed, URM has
become a community hub for its clients. Given its strong partnerships with local colleges and universities such as the UCLA School of Nursing Health Center, Pepperdine
University Mental Health Clinic, USC Dental Clinic and Pepperdine University Legal
Aid Clinic, URM is one of the most comprehensive service centers for the returnee
population in the city. Its annual budget is approximately $20 million, and it has developed an intensive, nine-month Life Discipleship Program for Ready4Work returnees.
Memphis, TN
The City of Memphis Second Chance Ex-Felon Program, a public/private partnership between the city and local businesses, was launched in December 2000 by Mayor W. W.
Herenton. The program leadership describes their effort as seeking to change lives by
giving returnees the one thing they’re missing: an opportunity. The program’s goal
is to lower Memphis’ recidivism and crime rates by connecting first-time felons with
employers willing to hire them in living wage jobs, and to provide follow-up case management during the employment transition period. Unlike many other Memphis public
social service programs, this program is at the very heart of Mayor Herenton’s administration. Every participant meets personally with the Mayor, and after shaking his hand,
commits to do what it takes to succeed in the program. The program operates under
the day-to-day leadership of an accomplished ex-felon, and delivers “heart” with help.

29

Milwaukee, WI
Word of Hope Ministries is a comprehensive service program of the Holy Cathedral
Church of God in Christ. Founded in 1995, Word of Hope Ministries has a mission to
provide an array of services that support the physical and spiritual needs of individuals
in the community. Through its Family Resource Center, Word of Hope currently offers
case management, referrals, substance abuse counseling, job training and placement,
health care, computer-based GED preparation and basic computer skills training. Holy
Cathedral Church of God is a large, prominent church in the city, and it is also the
parent organization for the Family Resource Center, which houses office space for case
managers to provide Ready4Work’s job placement, mentoring and case management
components. Local collaborations in the city include relationships with the Milwaukee
Private Industry Council (job training and placement) and the Faith Partnership
Network (case management).
New York, NY
Exodus Transitional Community, Inc. was founded in 1996 by a returnee from Sing Sing
who received his master’s in professional studies from the New York Theological
Seminary while incarcerated. Located in East Harlem, the organization offers social,
economic, educational and spiritual supportive programs and case management to
individuals in transition from incarceration, drug addiction and homelessness. Exodus’
programmatic approach is based on a “contract” with individual returnees—a combined assessment tool and action plan, by which participants evaluate their status and
set goals for themselves in the areas of family, physical well-being, education/vocation,
technology knowledge and community involvement. This self-evaluation is the basis for
formulating goals and the case management support of each individual during reentry
from incarceration to community. Exodus’ staff consists primarily of former prisoners
or individuals directly affected by incarceration in their immediate families. Exodus also
has a Ready4Work program designed for juvenile returnees, described in Appendix B.
Oakland, CA
Allen Temple Baptist Church was established in 1919, and provides not only for the
spiritual and worship needs of its congregation, but also the community service needs
and cultural enrichment of East Oakland. Over the years, Allen Temple has flourished under the leadership and direction of Pastor Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., under
whom its membership grew from 600 in 1972 to over 5,000 in 2003. The church has
demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of life in East Oakland
by creating the Allen Temple Housing and Economic Development Corporation
(ATHEDCO) to promote housing and jobs for low-income residents. The corporation
expanded its services to include counseling, job training and placement, substance
abuse treatment, family services, and housing for returnees. Through its various ministries and social programs, Allen Temple serves adults and youth including low-income
residents, elderly, adults afflicted with AIDS, and former prisoners—offering them a
wide range of services/programs including food, clothing, housing, GED preparation,
computer classes, recreation, job-training, anger management workshops and referrals
to other social service agencies. ATHEDCO constructed senior housing and more recently began the Dr. J. Alfred Smith Training Academy to focus on preparing men and
women for construction and other service trades; all Ready4Work participants undergo
this intensive training program.

30

Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia’s Search for Common Ground emerged after a diverse group of public and
private sector organizations, agencies and individuals met in March 2002 to address the
problem of high rates of recidivism among the city’s returnee population. The group,
at the time called the Philadelphia Consensus Group on Reentry & Reintegration
of Adjudicated Offenders (PCGRRAO), was comprised of representatives from
Philadelphia’s court and prison systems, the Philadelphia police department, attorneys
from Community Legal Services and the District Attorney’s Office—as well as service
providers, faith-based organizations and community groups who work with Philadelphia
jails and returnees. A consensus process was initiated by Search for Common Ground,
a Washington DC-based conflict resolution organization with a presence in 16 countries. PCGRRAO formulated an innovative action plan to meet the needs of returning
offenders through developing and promoting pragmatic and concrete measures to
enhance participation in society by men and women leaving the Philadelphia prison
system. The program encourages accountability, preserves neighborhood safety
and ensures that victims of crime are respected, protected and restored. Through
Ready4Work, Search for Common Ground’s Philadelphia Consensus Group is implementing this plan by providing sub-grants and technical assistance to local faith-based
service providers for the support of increased direct services to returnees.
Washington, DC
East of the River Clergy, Police, Community Partnership (ERCPCP) is the lead institution for
a group of multidenominational, faith-based institutions throughout the Washington
area that collaborated with the District’s Court Services and Offender Supervision
Agency (CSOSA) in May 2002 to implement an innovative reentry initiative. ERCPCP’s
Ready4Work initiative is designed to provide reintegration services for participating
ex-prisoners returning to the community upon their release from incarceration. The
services ERCPCP has designed support each returnee in successfully bridging the gap
between prison and the community. Mentors walk alongside former prisoners as they
begin their new lives. ERCPCP has had considerable success in creating a pool of more
than 20 diverse faith institutions and service providers who act as partners in providing
mentoring for returnees.

31

APPENDIX B: JUVENILE READY4WORK SITES
Boston, MA
Straight Ahead Ministries provides holistic services to juvenile offenders who are incarcerated in detention facilities, and continues to provide services upon these young adults’
release into society. An interdenominational Christian organization, the program
operates in ten states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgia, Nebraska and Colorado. Its mission is to use Bible
studies, positive adult role models, sports and training to substantially curb recidivism
rates and restore young men and women as young leaders in their local communities.
Brooklyn, NY
Girls Reentry Assistance Support Project (GRASP) is a faith-based re-entry initiative for
young girls aged 13 through 18 that was established by the Kings County District
Attorney’s Office (KCDA) in conjunction with the Office of Children and Family
Services (OCFS) and other placement or correctional facilities. Its goal is to reduce
criminal recidivism among female youth returning to the community after serving time
in a placement or correctional facility, and to provide the youth with positive adult role
models. GRASP seeks to provide these girls with the ability to change their lives and
communities for the better through mentoring, job and educational opportunities,
cultural activities and community service projects, and to reduce the influence of risk
factors that correlate with high levels of recalcitrant criminal behavior. GRASP uses a
team mentoring model in its program.
Camden, NJ
Volunteers of America Delaware Valley (VOADV) is a local chapter of a national faith-based
nonprofit organization that provides human service programs and other opportunities
for individual and community involvement. Volunteers of America (VOA) was founded
by two Christian social reformers in 1896 as a broad spiritual movement to “reach and
uplift” Americans nationwide. Today VOA has 40 branches throughout the country.
For the local Juvenile Ready4Work program, VOADV has developed an extensive range
of community services, and works directly with county, city and state public officials to
provide services and programs for needy individuals. It currently runs six corrections
programs for young adults, including Fletcher House (84 residents), Day Reporting
Center (55 clients), Hope Hall (150 beds), Station House (100 ex-prisoners) and the
Aftercare Support Promoting Inmate Re-Entry Program (ASPIRE). Working out of
office space at the Day Reporting Center, three full-time case managers are providing
wraparound services for Camden’s Juvenile Ready4Work participants.
Houston, TX
Houston’s Juvenile Ready4Work program is administered by Moving Forward, in collaboration with the Greater St. Paul Community Development Center. The program serves
the third and fifth wards of Houston, providing court advocacy and other wraparound
supportive services such as educational assistance, job-training, mentoring and placement into the local workforce. To meet the needs of the many Hispanic returnees in
Harris County, the site has a full-time Spanish-speaking case manager. It is strongly
supported by the Harris County Juvenile Parole and Probation Department, and works
closely with Moving Forward’s adult Ready4Work program.

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Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles TenPoint was established in 2004 to minister to, mentor and monitor highrisk youth through the implementation of best practices in youth violence prevention
identified by the National TenPoint Leadership Foundation and its sites across the
United States, and through collaborative crime analysis of youth violence trends and
information gathering and sharing. The coalition also focuses on developing neighborhood-based strategies for addressing the unique developmental needs of gang-involved
youth in Los Angeles. Los Angeles TenPoint works closely with the West Angeles
Church of God in Christ where Bishop Charles Blake, Sr. is pastor. The West Angeles
Church of God in Christ has over 175 employees, and coordinates a force of over 1,000
volunteers to serve the congregation and community through some 80 specialized ministries, programs, and support groups that assist and empower its participants.
Seattle, WA
The Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) brings Protestant and Roman Catholic
churches to serve at-risk youth, the elderly, the homeless and hungry. It also advocates
for racial justice, economic justice and global peace, and it encourages ecumenical
and interfaith cooperation. CCGS is partnering with the Center for Career Alternatives
(CCA) for the delivery of services to returning youth. CCA is a Presidential Award-winning agency established in 1979 with the following mission: “to provide the highest
education, employment, training and career development services leading to individual
self-sufficiency and self worth for a culturally diverse population of disadvantaged youth
and adults.”

Ready4Work is an initiative
of Public/Private Ventures

Public/Private Ventures
2000 Market Street, Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 557-4400
Fax: (212) 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
http://www.ppv.org

 

 

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