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Harvard Gives Praise For Parolee Program

NEW YORK - A groundbreaking evaluation by Harvard University's renowned criminal justice expert, Dr.Bruce Western, finds that graduates of The Doe Fund's Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) program – the award-winning, nationally recognized transitional work and training program for new parolees and formerly homeless individuals, with locations in New York and Philadelphia – are 60% less likely to be convicted of a felony within three years of their release from incarceration when compared to a control group.

In addition, participants in RWA are 56% less likely to be convicted of a violent crime in that same time frame.  Dr. Western also found that RWA's social benefit exceeds the cost of the program by 21%, revealing that RWA dramatically—and economically—improves public safety by ending cycles of crime and incarceration that often span multiple generations.

"With 700,000 individuals released from incarceration every year in the U.S., communities across the country are looking for proven, working solutions for prisoner reentry," said George T. McDonald, Founder & President of The Doe Fund.  "By providing new parolees with immediate, paid transitional work, Ready, Willing & Able meets their most important need, helping them become self-sufficient, law-abiding members of society," he added.

The Doe Fund engaged Western to follow up on his 2007 evaluation of the successful partnership between RWA and theBrooklyn District Attorney's ComALERT program, which since 2001 has provided RWA services to new parolees in Brooklyn. The 2007 ComALERT/RWA evaluation was commissioned by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and was reported in a November 2007 New York Times editorial entitled "The Right Way to Handle Former Inmates."

"These results prove that 'work works' to close the revolving door of incarceration, which improves public safety, returns fathers to their families, and saves taxpayer dollars by reducing crime," said Harriet Karr-McDonald, co-Founder of Ready, Willing & Able. "While the core of our program is paid work, RWA comprehensively addresses all the barriers to reintegration faced by new parolees," said Karr-McDonald.

The "men in blue" of RWA can be seen each day cleaning 150 miles of New York City streets, as well as in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, LOVE Park and Rittenhouse Square. In addition to this paid transitional work, RWA also provides participants with drug testing and relapse prevention support; a wide variety of educational opportunities; occupational training; job preparation and placement services; and lifetime graduate support.

About The Doe Fund, Inc.

The Doe Fund is a $50 million not-for-profit organization dedicated to offering life-changing opportunities to formerly homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals through paid work, transitional housing, and comprehensive support services.  In addition to Ready, Willing & Able, The Doe Fund also operates several innovative ventures in social entrepreneurship, such asPest@Rest, an integrated pest management business; RWA Resource Recovery, which collects used cooking oil from New York restaurants and resells it for conversion into biodiesel fuel; and Back Office of New York, which handles direct mail, data processing and letter shop services for small and large businesses.  These initiatives are staffed primarily by Ready, Willing & Able participants and graduates.

 



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