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Summaries of RCT Grants

Evaluation of the Rapid Employment and Development Initiative (READI) to Prevent Violence in Chicago, Illinois

This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Rapid Employment and Development Initiative (READI), a program that provides 18-month transitional jobs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and additional services for adult men at high risk of being perpetrators and/or victims of gun violence (most but not all of whom are justice-involved).

Grant Recipient: University of Chicago Crime Lab

Term: 2018 –2023

Principal Investigators: Marianne Bertrand, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Chris Blattman, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Sara Heller, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Max Kapustin, Ph.D., Cornell University
Monica Bhatt, Ph.D., University of Chicago

Funding: $987,634

Summary: This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Rapid Employment and Development Initiative (READI), a program that provides 18-month transitional jobs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and additional services for adult men at high risk of being perpetrators and/or victims of gun violence (most but not all of whom are justice-involved).

READI is backed by suggestive evidence that it may reduce crime. While RCTs have generally found that transitional jobs for justice-involved individuals, by themselves, have not produced sustained effects on recidivism or employment, a recent MDRC RCT of a program that provided transitional jobs plus CBT reduced the arrest rate by 6 percentage points – from 25% in the control group to 19% in the treatment group – over one year (longer-term follow-up is ongoing). In addition, a Campbell Collaboration review of RCT evidence found that various CBT-based programs for justice-involved individuals (most of which did not include transitional jobs) reduced recidivism by 25% on average. However, other CBT-based programs have not produced the hoped-for recidivism impacts when rigorously evaluated.

This study will randomly assign approximately 2,500 adult men to receive READI or usual services. The study will measure the program’s effects on serious violence (as the primary outcome measure) over a follow-up period of 20 and 40 months after random assignment using administrative data from the Chicago Police Department.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is posted here.

Grants

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