More assistance for those in reentry would prevent soooooo much crime, misery, expense … it just makes sense!
Excerpts from the Article:
Safe and affordable housing for formerly incarcerated individuals is essential to breaking the “cycle” of homelessness and recidivism that prevents them from rebuilding their lives as productive citizens, according to a report issued Tuesday. “People who have paid their debt to society should have the chance to reunify with their families and have a home where children can visit or live,” said the report, released by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
“Providing a true home for people with criminal justice histories helps families get back together, stay together, and provide support to each other.”
But too often, the report noted, housing discrimination in the private market and regulations that prevent them from living in public housing drive returning inmates to the streets, or to unsafe and overcrowded shelters.
“People living in such (shelters) often have no refrigerator where they can store fresh food,” said the report, entitled A Place to Call Home. “They can’t hang their clothes in closets in preparation for job interviews or work. They have no secure space to keep their valuables, photographs, or family keepsakes. They have no permanent address for job or school applications.
“Rather than providing the basis for success, these types of shelter more often lead to a cycle of homelessness and repeated jail or prison stays.”
The report was based in part on a day-long conference held last year at John Jay College, co-hosted by the Prisoner Reentry Institute, The Fortune Society, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, and the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
Dukes said finding housing through New York’s Fortune Society offered him a “safe place to readjust to life in the community.”
According to the report, the lack of housing is one of the critical barriers to successful reentry for the millions of individuals who leave jail or prison in the U.S. every year.
Recommendations to policymakers included:
Eliminating landlord discrimination;
Reforming policies that exclude public housing tenants after an arrest or conviction;
Establishing “creative partnerships” that would enable the development of a wide spectrum of housing that meets the different needs of returning inmates;
Strengthening “in-reach” programs at correctional facilities to identify and assess the housing needs of inmates before they are released.
“People with past involvement in the justice system find the doors to housing closed at every turn.”
The report also called for more support for “ban the box” initiatives that eliminate questions on previous criminal history from employment applications forms.