Supportive families, steady employment, and stable housing can help keep former inmates from returning to prison, says a new study of ex-prisoners living in Cleveland reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The study, by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said that ex-convicts who found a place to live within one month were less likely to return to prison within a year of their release. The findings were based on interviews with 300 men living in the Cleveland area 12 months after their release from an Ohio prison.
Among other findings: Slightly more than a third of the men had full-time jobs one year after being released, but their average hourly pay of $10 an hour was $2 less than they earned before they went to prison. The men credited family support more than any other factor for helping them stay out of prison. “I think the most important thing I found was that after a year, there was still a lot of instability in the lives of these men,” said Christy Visher, one author of the study. “Over half were not employed. Over half had medical problems and by and large they were not receiving any kind of treatment for them.” Last year, Cleveland was one of six cities nationwide to receive a federal grant for a prisoner re-entry program. The $500,000 will go toward a pilot program. In addition, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recently set aside $1 million for Cleveland to create a transition center for ex-prisoners.