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Employing Ex-Offenders After Release From Prison (IEJ Seminar)

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The relationship between the prisoner release population and labor market opportunities is important to understand as the post-prison employment experiences of ex-prisoners tend to be poor. Yet, post-prison employment is cited as a factor that can help reduce the likelihood that an ex-prisoner will re-offend or return to prison (Uggen 2000; Sampson and Laub 1997; Harer 1994; Saylor and Gaes 1997; Bushway 2003). William Sabol examines this relationship by assessing whether variation in local labor market demand for labor affects the time it takes ex-prisoners to find a first job and their on-going employment experience for 2 years following their release from prison. Using administrative data on persons released from Ohio state prisons that have been linked with the state's unemployment insurance records, Dr. Sabol tracks both pre- and post-prison employment experiences of prisoners released during 1999 and 2000. His findings suggest that while ex- prison employment prospects are affected by local labor market demand, pre-existing attachments to labor markets are more important for predicting post-prison employment than local labor market conditions (Sabol, forthcoming 2007). Comments were also provided by OSU Associate Professor Robert Greenbaum, OSU Associate Professor Bruce Weinberg and ODRC Acting Chief and Offender Job Linkage Administrator, Gwendolyn Woods.

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