Our evaluation of the RCS initiative will be the first study of a conditional cash transfer program specifically designed to serve people in reentry from incarceration. The evaluation will document how the RCS program operates and assess how it affects recipients, service providers, and the criminal justice system. The evaluation will explore the effects of cash transfer programs for returning citizens across the following topics: Economic Mobility & Employment, Financial Stability, Access to Benefits & Relief Payments, Income & Spending Patterns, Physical & Mental Health, Public Safety & Incarceration, and Policy & Practice Changes.
CEO is partnering with the independent research firm MDRC to conduct a process and outcome study of RCS. Given the context and speed of RCS’s implementation, the evaluation will not employ a randomized control trial. Rather, the evaluation will use survey data, program data, and ethnographic methods to learn from participants, staff, and system actors about the effects of the program. In 2-3 locations, MDRC will use labor and criminal justice administrative records to explore whether RCS affects outcomes like arrest, parole violations, employment, and wage growth. We are also working to access tax return data to understand the impact of RCS on access to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and federal relief funds.