Using data from the National Supported Work Demonstration Project, conducted between 1975 and 1978, where former drug users with a history of incarceration were randomly assigned to publicly supported jobs or a control group, the authors of this study were able to isolate the effects of supported work. Analysis of this data from the 1970s finds that providing a basic job opportunity does reduce the likelihood that heavy substance users will commit serious crimes to steal money from others. People assigned to a group given supported jobs were 39% less likely than those not assigned work to be arrested for robberies or burglaries.
These results demonstrate benefits from providing jobs to individuals with multiple barriers to employment. Supported employment programs for heavy substance users are a promising model for reducing crimes, such as robbery and burglary. The authors suggest that “broader supported jobs programs might be a good idea, too, in this era of high unemployment. If publicly supported jobs programs were available to needy unemployed people beyond the ranks of former prisoners and drug users, the programs would carry lower stigma. A mix of jobs could be offered, creating ladders from minimum-wage posts to better opportunities for all participants.”
Read the report here:
Does Providing Publicly Funded Jobs to Hard-To-Employ People Reduce Crime and Drug Use?