• Article

Programs to aid ex-offenders: we don't know 'nothing works'

In his article, "Helping ex-offenders enter the labor market," Frederick Englander surveys some of the recent research on how employment programs affect the behavior of offenders and former offenders. I He concludes that the available evidence on the effectiveness of the various programs indicates that nothing works when it comes to rehabilitation .

Englander suggests that it may be time to shift resources from programs for offenders and ex-offenders to education and training of young people with limited access to those services.

We believe that Englander's conclusions are premature. Our own reading of the literature and work with a number of employment programs support different conclusions: (1) we don't know what does work and (2) available research does not suggest abandoning employment programs for prisoners

or parolees but rather initiating different types of programs that will build on what has been learned over the past 12 years.


Lattimore, P., & Witte, AD. (1985). Programs to aid ex-offenders: we don't know 'nothing works'. Monthly Labor Review, 108(4), 46-48.