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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

FIGHTING RECIDIVISM WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING

States and local governments have embarked on multiple initiatives to ease the transition out of prisons and jails, as we wrote about last week in a Management Update about recent reductions in recidivism rates


In a National Governors Association briefing on April 25, for the Criminal Justice Policy Advisors network, the NGA provided details on one of the initiatives with the greatest potential:  increased attention to the kind of housing barriers that lead to homelessness and a subsequent return to prison cells.


The session addressed the challenges faced by individuals with criminal records in getting housing both because of exclusionary practices and the lack of support from community-based services. It also addressed the problem of affordability, citing a 2022 questionnaire of corrections department reentry coordinators in which 95% labeled “the lack of affordable housing” as a top housing barrier following release.


Three years before, a September 2020 study from Criminal Justice Behavior associated unstable housing and homelessness with increasing the risk of recidivism. 



One important take-away from the brief about the event: “Housing access and availability is an issue of nationwide importance, but also one that is a significant component of successful reentry for those who have become involved with the justice system. Due to their system involvement, many individuals may find it challenging to secure housing because of their criminal record, exclusionary policies, or a lack of overall support from community-based services.”


Speakers at the briefing were Dr. Richard Cho, senior advisor for Housing and Services at the Office of the Secretary with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Charles Francis, Deputy Program Director for Behavioral Health with the Council of State Governments.


The briefing made note of both targeted gubernatorial support for reentry programs and general efforts by governors to increase housing availability and affordability


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