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James A. Wilson
Habilitation or Harm: Project Greenlight and the Potential Consequences of Correctional Programming
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue:257 Dated:June 2007 Pages:1 to 47
This article presents evaluation findings of a short-term, prison-based reentry demonstration program in New York known as Project Greenlight. Findings from the evaluation of Project Greenlight indicated no differences between the Project Greenlight group and the two comparison groups in terms of employment, family relationships, and use of homeless shelters 1 year following prison release. Moreover, although Project Greenlight participants reported more knowledge and a more positive attitude toward parole than comparison subjects, they were no more likely to follow parole conditions than participants in the control groups. In terms of the effect on recidivism, Project Greenlight participants actually fared slightly worse than the two control groups in rearrest and parole revocation rates 1 year following release. The author suggests that Project Greenlight suffered from program design and implementation problems that may have led to the negative evaluation results. Specifically, the standard cognitive-behavioral component was substantially altered to allow for more participants and each inmate participant was forced to complete each and every component of the program rather than targeting their individual needs. It is suggested that programs carefully target interventions and avoid a “kitchen sink” approach, which may actually harm inmates more than help them. Key elements of Project Greenlight, which was run by the New York State Department of Correctional Services and the New York State Division of Parole, included: (1) cognitive-behavioral skills training; (2) employment assistance; (3) housing assistance; (4) drug education and awareness; (5) family counseling; (6) practical skills training; (7) community-based network referrals; (8) education on parole; and (9) the development of individualized release plans. The evaluation of Project Greenlight involved dividing 735 inmates into 3 groups that were followed for at least 1 year following release: (1) 113 inmates released from prisons without any pre-release services; (2) 278 inmates who participated in the transitional services program already in existence at the facility; and (3) 334 inmates who received Project Greenlight programming. Table, notes
Marilyn C. Moses; Cindy J. Smith
Factories Behind Fences: Do Prison ‘Real Work’ Programs Work?
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue:257 Dated:June 2007 Pages:32 to 35
This article presents evaluation results from an assessment of whether the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) “real work” program for offenders increases post-prison employment and reduces recidivism in comparison to other prison-based programming. The assessment found that the PIECP program was successful at increasing post-release employment opportunities and reducing recidivism among released inmates. Results indicated that upon release, participants in the PIECP obtained employment more quickly and held the jobs longer than the two comparison groups who participated in the Trade Industries (TI) program and in other-than-work activities (OTW). Specifically, approximately 55 percent of PIECP participants found work within the first quarter after release while only 40 percent of TI and OTW comparison subjects found employment within that time period. Almost 49 percent of PIECP participants were employed continuously for over 1 year compared to 40.4 percent of the TI subjects and 38.5 percent of OTW subjects. The PIECP participants also enjoyed higher wages than comparison subjects. In terms of recidivism, the PIECP participants had lower rates of rearrest, conviction, and incarceration in comparison to the TI and OTW subjects. The authors argue that PIECP is an under-utilized rehabilitation program that should be implemented more widely across the country. The evaluation compared employment and recidivism among three groups: (1) inmates who participated in the PIECP, which allows inmates to work for private employers in a “free world” occupation and earn the prevailing wage; (2) inmates who participated in the IT program, in which inmates work within the correctional facility and are supervised by correctional staff; and (3) inmates involved in OTW activities, including idle time. Table, figure, notes