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What is reentry housing and what makes it a “hot topic” “ Housing is the cornerstone of reentry: The indispensable and fundamental basis upon which prisoners.

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Presentation on theme: "What is reentry housing and what makes it a “hot topic” “ Housing is the cornerstone of reentry: The indispensable and fundamental basis upon which prisoners."— Presentation transcript:


2 What is reentry housing and what makes it a “hot topic” “ Housing is the cornerstone of reentry: The indispensable and fundamental basis upon which prisoners begin to build new lives. Housing programs that target this group do a great service to the population at large in securing and enhancing public safety.” ** No Place Like Home: Housing and the Ex- Prisoner (white paper), Community Resources for Justice, Boston, MA, November 2001

3 Types of Housing Housing first Housing ready Low demand High demand Shelter Scattered sites Half-way house Transitional Permanent supportive Shelter Plus Care

4 The Statistics Right now 2,200,000 people are locked up across the country in county, federal and state custody More than 672,000 people are released from state and federal prison every year This does not include jails - more than 4 times as many released from jails More prisoners are returning home - more time behind bars; less prepared for reintegration Nearly 2/3 of released prisoners are expected to re-offended with a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years of release

5 The Statistics Rural jails make up the majority of over 3,350 jails in America The number of people released from prison has increased 350% over the last 20 years. More than 10% of those entering prisons/jail are homeless in the months prior to their incarceration For mentally ill, 20% were homeless prior to incarceration 49% of homeless adults spent 5+ days in jail and 18% have been incarcerated in state/federal prisons

6 The Statistics In 2003, Ohio spent $2,279,090,000 from the state system on corrections This would support 126,616 units of supportive housing This does not include local police and courts or federal costs - 1/3 of costs if same as rest of country Ohio DRC has 32 institutions confining approximately 46,000 inmates

7 Re-entry… the Challenges In the 80’s & 90’s, truth-in-sentencing laws were passed - eliminating the parole board role. Most prisoners now are released “automatically” under mandatory release, and more prisoners are serving full term and are released without supervision. There are thousands of people that cycle in and out of jail, prison, mental health institutions, detox, shelters, emergency rooms and the streets. The recidivism rate for this group is exceptionally high.

8 Re-entry… the Challenges Public costs of these outcomes is huge. These individuals need comprehensive support in order to succeed. Rural homeless are more likely to have been incarcerated than urban homeless

9 Re-entry… the Challenges Substance abuse –80% of state prison population report history of AOD use; –50% of prisoners report they were on AOD when they committed the offense Physical health –Releases with chronic conditions: 16% AIDS; 22-31% HIV; 20-26% HIV/AIDS; 12-16% Hep B; 29-32% Hep C; 38% TB

10 Re-entry… the Challenges Mental Illness –8-16% of state prison population report at least one serious mental disorder –1/3 of mentally ill inmates admit to history of alcohol dependence and 60% admit they were under the influence when committing their offense –Mentally ill prisoners were more likely to have been homeless before incarceration and on average serve 15 months longer in prison than other inmates.

11 Rural… the Challenges Less likely to have access to private and public services Often must travel to “urban” area to access resources More likely to be economically limited - rural residents earn less Acquaintance density - known by the community More difficult to find due to living in abandoned farmhouses or other structures - many lacking utilities

12 Rural Re-entry Challenges Meeting basic survival needs Shelter Employment Physical/mental health treatment Qualities Rural residents tend to deal with problems on their own or seek assistance from friends & family

13 Contributing Factors… Ex-offenders face the same social and economic conditions that lead to homelessness in the general population - rural poverty rates are higher than urban Ex-offenders confront barriers to housing associated with their criminal justice system involvement Lack of ownership of the problem among government agencies and community organizations

14 Contributing Factors… Ex-offenders on probation/parole may be subject restriction of where they can live and with whom Certain convictions lead to ineligibility for government funded housing Majority of housing stock in rural areas are owner-occupied - rental stock is not as available

15 Ohio’s Roadblocks Employers can refuse to hire anyone with a conviction record no matter their qualifications Conviction records are available on the internet Bars people who are incarcerated for a felony conviction from voting Many PHA’s have a “x” year bar on accessing public housing Licenses are suspended for 6 months and 21 days when individual is convicted of drug or alcohol offenses, not just those related to driving - may petition for work privileges

16 Ohio’s Break Through Prohibits all employers and occupational licensing agencies from considering arrests not leading to conviction. Opted out of Federal Drug Felon Ban on TANF and Food Stamps Ohio doesn’t allow someone to vote while incarcerated Determinations about suitability to be a foster or adoptive parent are made individually, and evidence of rehabilitation is considered

17 Benefits of Developing A Re-Entry Housing Program Corrections facility –Reduced incarceration costs –Reduced liability due to overcrowding –Greater inmate supervision –Limiting the “warehousing” mentality

18 Benefits of Developing A Re-Entry Housing Program The Community –Greater accountability of the offender –Positive approach to offender adjudication –Less victimization/greater public safety

19 Benefits of Developing A Re-Entry Housing Program The Corrections Staff –Safer working environment –Reduced jail incidents –Reduced job stress The Offenders Family –Opportunity for intervention –Focus towards positive options –Break in criminal cycle

20 Reentry Partners Law enforcement Probation Jail Courts Prosecutor Defense counsel Housing providers Social service providers Family/friends

21 Reentry Points

22 Decreasing Barriers Negotiate with PHA to allow ex- offenders Advocate with local government to acquire abandoned property ex- offenders can be employed at the property Obtain community buy-in by partnering with local stakeholders Work with ex-offenders - they know best what will work and what will not

23 Housing Funding Opportunities Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) HUD Section 8 Vouchers Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) Shelter Plus Care (S+C) Low-income Housing Credits Private-Sector Funding HOPWA Mental Health

24 Employment Research has shown that having a job with decent wages is associated with lower rates of recidivism Many employers are unwilling to hire ex-offenders Many ex-offenders lack the education and skills to compete for employment Average earnings in rural communities is 21% lower than metro areas Participants in vocational programs were more likely to be employed following release and to have a recidivism rate 20% lower than non-participants.

25 Transition Planning Jail transition coordinating group should be established and meet regularly on community goals Reduce disruptive behavior in the community Improve physical and social status Decrease the likelihood of re- offending

26 Transition Planning Assess - clinical & social needs and public safety risks Plan - for the treatment and services to meet the needs Identify - community and correctional programs Coordinate - the transition plan to ensure implementation

27 What Can Communities Do? Work with prisoners prior to release Meet ex-offenders upon release, help them to navigate for first few days Create network of partners for employment options Engage providers that can assist families also deal with transition

28 What Can Communities Do? Involve faith-based community for mentoring Provide opportunities for community service Develop coalition to oversee reentry efforts and provide accountability for community.

29 What Can Communities Do? Develop Reentry work plans - Set common goals Determine population Complete strategic plan with: –outcomes, –strategies, –responsible parties, and –monitoring requirements

30 What Can Communities Do? Landlord Outreach Educational services for landlords, managers, owners Incentive/finders fee Recruitment campaign Involve landlords on advisory board Provide hotline number for crises Encourage Housing Authority to convert up to 20% of their vouchers to Project-Based Assistance

31 Initiatives Pre-release programs “Reinventing Probation” 3-part Alcohol and Other Drug treatment & reentry Pre-release employment training - apprenticeships Time-limited subsidy programs Family reentry programs

32 Initiatives Landlord Monetary incentives Tenant-based rental assistance Rent payment guarantees Deposits Finder’s fee/signing bonus Damage deposits/payments Retainer/eviction allowance Master leasing

33 Policy Implications Housing programs in rural settings can build on family & friend support Outreach should be completed with prospective employers to encourage hiring of ex-offenders Interactive video technology can facilitate easier access to services

34 Questions and Answers

35 Jonda Clemings, MSEd, LSW Rural Housing Program Coordinator Coalition On Homelessness and Housing In Ohio - COHHIO 175 S. Third St. - Suite 250 Columbus, Ohio 43215 614-280-1984

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