hat was studied by the Manhattan Institute. Finding a job is difficult for ex-convicts, and frustrations resulting from those slim job prospects contribute to recidivism. The Montgomery County program uses small rewards and incentives, such as later curfews, in order to help with the transition back into society. Nearly 90 percent of participants find a job within three weeks of their enrollment, and about half of those have the same employer two months after leaving the program. The study’s author notes that this wouldn’t work everywhere. The Montgomery County program, called PRC, is in a large metropolitan area with below-average unemployment rates and reliable public transit. The close monitoring of participants requires high staffing levels, and that costs money. However, the author pointed out, "Expensive as the PRC is, so is standard confinement in a jail or prison.”
The challenge is in finding policymakers who are willing to try new approaches to age-old (and politically volatile) issues, especially those concerning public safety.