Project RIO (Re-Integration of Offenders)

An Effective Practice

This practice has been Archived and is no longer maintained.


Project RIO (Re-Integration of Offenders) began in 1985 as a two-city pilot program in Texas, but it has now expanded to a statewide program committed to reducing recidivism and helping those who have been incarcerated in Texas state facilities find employment. The Texas Workforce Commission, in collaboration with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Youth Commission, administers Project RIO. Participants are offered both prerelease and postrelease services. RIO makes its presence known in the prison system through the first orientation for new inmates; presentations by RIO staff, former participants, and employers who have hired RIO participants; and upon prisoners' release. The project provides vocational, educational, and job preparation services for inmates through the Windham School, a school operating within the state's prisons. Assessment specialists from the Texas funded by Project RIO, work with Windham staff to provide assessments and testing, job-readiness training, and life skills programs. Parole officers refer many ex-offenders to RIO. RIO-funded employment specialists in local workforce commission centers provide job preparation and placement services. They have access to the Texas Workforce Commission's database of job openings and can match specific clients with job openings based on their skills.

Goal / Mission

The goal or this program is to help those who have been incarcerated find employment.

Results / Accomplishments

Participants are often placed with one of more than 12,000 employers who have previously hired RIO participants. The employment specialists follow up with employers and participants on a regular basis. The specialists can also provide access to social and community services for the participants who need them. RIO is funded entirely by state general revenues and serves approximately 69,000 per year in the prison and state jail systems and an additional 29,000 per year, postrelease, through the Texas career center system.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
John Ownby
Texas Workforce Commission
(512) 463-0834
Public Safety / Corrections
Economy / Employment
Education / Vocational & Adult Education
The Texas Workforce Commission
Finance Project
Date of publication
Mar 2003