How Prisoners Can Successfully Return Home


Participants in an experimental community program in Chicago focused on prisoner reentry are “significantly less likely to be returned (to prison) for a technical violation,” according to a new study by the non-profit Urban Institute.

Researchers examined Safer Return, a program that provides returning prisoners with comprehensive family-inclusive case management, prerelease and post-release transitional planning, housing, mentoring, physical and mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, transitional employment opportunities, job placement. In addition, the program includes community residents who help build informal social support networks for former prisoners.

In order to reduce the likelihood of reincarceration for technical violations Safer Return participants — who are based primarily in Chicago's Garfield Park and West Englewood neighborhoods — are subject to graduated sanctions for parole violations, as well as “reward practices” for meeting goals.

“Safer Return participants were significantly more likely to report legal employment immediately after release and four months later, and were significantly less likely to report illicit drug use,” researchers found.

The report found that family members who participated in the program “were willing to provide an array of resources to the former prisoners,” despite their own limited incomes.

“Safer Return participants had the lowest rate of return to state prison within two years in comparison to nonparticipant parolees in Garfield Park and West Englewood,” researchers found.

Read the full report HERE.

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