Presentation on theme: "Wendy Olson U.S. Attorney, District of Idaho Kathy Griesmyer Public Policy Strategist, ACLU of Idaho April 14, 2014."— Presentation transcript:
Wendy Olson U.S. Attorney, District of Idaho Kathy Griesmyer Public Policy Strategist, ACLU of Idaho April 14, 2014
97% of the offenders in prison today will be released at some point. Most of them will be returning to the communities in which they lived when they offended; the vast majority will be living in the state where they had been incarcerated. Many of these offenders will struggle to find appropriate housing. And their residential instability will make them more likely to fail in the community and return to prison. Research has found a significant connection not only between homelessness and incarceration, but between homelessness and re-offending (John Jay College, The Fortune Society, BJA, 2009).
Studies have shown that the first month after release is a vulnerable period during which the risk of becoming homeless and/or returning to criminal justice involvement is high Yet in most jurisdictions, affordable and available housing is in short supply
There is a growing consensus among federal, state, local and private entities involved with offender reentry initiatives that their vision is to collaboratively develop strategies that will promote a greater likelihood of offender success after release to the community. Having a greater percentage of offenders successfully reintegrate into communities means a reduction of recidivism and enhanced public safety (fewer crimes, fewer victims).
There are 7.3 million adults currently under criminal justice supervision in the U.S. ◦ $60 billion spent annually (does not include prosecution costs, costs to victims, etc.) up from $9 billion in 1980 7 million adults represents 1 in every 31 adults in U.S. ◦ It was 1 in every 90 adults in 1980
2.3 million adults are in prison or jail (a 700% increase in the last 35 years). 1.5 million in prison; 800,000 in jail. Over 5 million adults are under community supervision (1 in every 45 adults in U.S. currently under community supervision). ◦ 4.27 million adults are on probation (3 million in 1995). ◦ 828,000 adults are on parole
Approximately 30% of the nation’s adult population has a criminal record. There are 13 million released felons in the U.S. ◦ 6.5% of the entire adult population ◦ 11% of the adult male population Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Dept. of Justice
11 th highest incarceration rate in U.S. despite low crime rate, 7 th lowest in the nation (National Institute of Corrections)
4 th highest populations of probationers in U.S. 12 th highest populations of parolees in U.S.
Justice Reinvestment Initiative ◦ National reform project brought to Idaho by Council on State Governments ◦ Looks to address three primary issues: 1.Reduce recidivism 2.Prioritize non-violent, low- risk individuals to be released on parole 3.Improve data collection systems
Reducing Recidivism ◦ IDOC study from 2013 shows 35% recidivism rate for all individuals involved in the correctional system ◦ 30% of people on felony probation/rider sentences end up violating term of program and end up in prison (CSG report 2014)
In 2013, approximately 700,000 offenders were released from prisons in the U.S. and returned to their communities. ◦ 144,000 offenders were released from prisons in 1980. This large number of returning offenders places great strain on existing community resources – to include appropriate housing.
A significant number of offenders fail to successfully reintegrate into communities – nearly 2/3 will be rearrested within three years of release, and half of those reincarcerated. (Langan and Levin, 2002; BJA, 2006.) Revocations are the fastest growing category of prison admissions ◦ Parole violators account for 35% of new prison admissions today, as compared to 17% in 1980. ◦ About 41% of offenders on probation fail to successfully complete supervision. ◦ New court commitments declined from 81% to 60% of prison admissions (1980-2000)
◦ Over ¾ of offenders have a history of substance abuse use ◦ Lack of job skills/limited education ◦ Poor reasoning skills/criminal thinking/attitude and decision making processes ◦ Absence of pro-social support groups ◦ Mental health/ general health problems ◦ The nature of the person’s social network and associations ◦ Absence of a stable residence
Nationally, more than 10% of offenders are homeless at the time of their release from prisons and jails– it may be up to 30% or more in large urban centers (Black and Cho, 2004). There are approximately 850,000 homeless people in the U.S. at present. BJA, Reentry Policy Council, 2007
Stable and appropriate housing has always been a critical concern for returning offenders, criminal justice organizations, and local communities. Homelessness in the first 90 days after release significantly increases the likelihood of re-offending (Harding and Harding, 2006). ◦ Housing and job instability contribute enormously to offender failure under supervision. GA DOC. Individuals who move initially from prison or jail to homeless shelters are 7 times more likely to abscond from parole than other offenders (Vera Institute, N.Y., 1999).
In New York, it costs more than $32,000 per year to serve a single person who stays in homeless shelters and returns to prison. Hospitalizations and child welfare involvement drive this price tag even higher. Prison and jail are among the most expensive settings to serve people who are homeless: one nine-city study calculated median daily costs for prison and jail at $59.43 and $70.00 respectively, compared with $30.48 for supportive housing.
Options for a returning offender: ◦ Own a home/live with family ◦ Live with friends ◦ Private market rental housing ◦ Non-profit housing options ◦ Half-way houses ◦ Supportive housing ◦ Shared living arrangements ◦ Specialized reentry housing
Higher Turnover Lease Violations Community Reputation ◦ Fighting NIMBY (may exist already in affordable housing) Damage Collections Against Tennant Risk of Injury to Residents/Staff Landlord Liability for Known/Preventable Action
Landlords cannot screen and deny for all criminal history ◦ Likely violation of fair housing laws ◦ May be disproportionate impact on some groups given disproportionate incarceration rates of those groups Consider screening only for convictions that pose threat to tenants or property ◦ Murder vs. trespassing Criteria typically establishes timeline based on conviction ◦ How old is it? ◦ What has history been since that time?
“This is an Administration that believes in the importance of second chances... And at HUD, part of that support means helping ex- offenders gain access to one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life – a place to live.” ◦ HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, 1/5/2011
There are few federal restrictions that would prevent offenders from living in publicly assisted housing. The federal restrictions apply to the following: ◦ Sex offenders who must register for life ◦ Offenders convicted of manufacturing or possessing methamphetamine in publicly assisted housing. ◦ Three year ban if evicted from publicly assisted housing for drug-related criminal activity ◦ Committing arson while living in publicly assisted housing While local PHAs may choose to create more restrictions, these are not imposed by HUD.
PHAs can decline admission to: 1.Individuals who have engaged in any drug-related or violent criminal activity or other criminal activity during a reasonable time period prior to the application for housing if it would adversely affect the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.
2. Individuals who are illegally using a controlled substance, or have a history of abuse of drugs or alcohol that may interfere with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents. 3. Any individual that has been evicted from federally assisted housing because of drug-related criminal activity in the previous three years. This includes individuals and household evicted under HUD’s “One Strike” policy. Under this policy, evictions may occur if any member of a household or guest of a household engages in any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants or any drug- related criminal activity, on or off the premises.
Supportive housing has been shown to reduce criminal justice involvement, reducing jail incarceration rates up to 30 percent and prison incarceration rates up to 57 percent. According to a cost analysis by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a single re-entry housing unit in New York used by two people over one year can save $20,000 to $24,000 relative to the cost of release to shelter and re-incarceration. ◦ Culhane, 2002
“In 2006, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) launched its Returning Home Initiative. Under this initiative, CSH has worked collaboratively with the Cook County Jail in Illinois to pilot a program that links people with long histories of homelessness, mental illness, and incarceration to supportive housing. This effort focuses on people that: Have demonstrated a history of repeated homelessness upon discharge from jail; Have been engaged by the jail’s mental health services or state mental health system at least 4 times; Have a diagnosed serious mental illness of schizophrenia, bipolar, obsessive compulsive or schizo-affective disorder.” Source: “Moving towards evidence based housing programs”. Roman, 2009
Many Landlords/Operators Not Completely Against Allowing Ex-Offenders Primary issue is financial ◦ Who is going to provide guarantee? Property Rent (financial) Risk to residents/community reputation ◦ Potential additional costs to the Provider/Landlord Additional Staffing Security