To cities, with nothing : prisoner resettlement in Newark, NJ
Author(s)Feeney, Kevin Joseph
Prisoner resettlement in Newark, NJ
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This thesis considers how cities can improve employment outcomes of recently released, formerly incarcerated people. The Newark Prisoner Reentry Initiative (NPRI) is a unique case where the city directly managed six resettlement providers. The city also pledged to use its influence to support the goals of NPRI by encouraging employers to hire NPRI participants. I use interviews and performance data to understand two questions: (1) To what extent did the city, as a policy-maker and a grant manager, help organizations meet their benchmarks and change the hiring behavior of employers? (2) What are the prerequisite organizational characteristics, including resources, structure and strategy, for successful programs, and are these characteristics bound to a certain scale? On the whole, NPRI participants fared much better than the typical person leaving New Jersey state prisons, though program performance was negatively correlated with size of enrollment. The city, for its part, demonstrated competence in holding organizations accountable to performance goals, but failed to influence employer behavior. To strengthen and scale the initiative, I recommend first, that the city set specific hiring goals for local employers and engage its resettlement providers to enforce these goals. Secondly, the city should fund program directors and additional case managers, so programs retain their capacity to relate to stakeholders as they grow. A cost-neutral agreement with the state could provide the necessary funds to continue the initiative.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 164-174).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.