Reentry Services

The Challenge

An individual’s return to the community from jail or prison is a challenging transition, including for families and neighborhoods. Upon returning to New York City, newly-released people often struggle with substance abuse, lack of education and employment skills, limited housing options, and mental health issues. Specific research findings illustrate these challenges:1

  • The newly-released rely heavily on their families for housing and financial support—families for whom economic security is often a day-to-day uncertainty
  • The newly-released struggle to find and maintain employment, and those who do obtain a job tend to be employed at much lower wages than they earned prior to incarceration
  • The newly-released struggle to obtain stable housing

These challenges are particularly daunting for newly-released young people and people with mental illness. Among the former, only 30% of youth released from jail or prison obtain employment or are in school within 12 months.2 For people with mental illness, incarceration can disrupt treatment in the community and lead to more severe symptoms due to the often violent conditions in correctional facilities. In New York City, these individuals return to jail nearly twice as fast as those charged with similar crimes but who do not have mental illness.3

Our Approach

CASES offers a range of programs to help youth and adults newly-released from jail or prison to successfully navigate the challenges of reentry, access opportunities to improve their lives (including through proven protective factors like education and housing), and avoid recidivism. As detailed in the linked program pages below, CASES’ specific interventions to promote effective reentry include:

  • Community-based programs providing education and employment services for youth and young adults recently released from jail or prison
  • In-home family therapy for youth in the community on probation who have behavioral health treatment needs
  • Discharge planning and ongoing case management for men and women with serious mental illness pre- and post-release from Rikers Island Correctional Facility

Outcomes

Nearly all incarcerated people will return to the community. A 2005 study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that nearly 75% of formerly-incarcerated individuals come back into contact with the criminal justice system, and that more than half return to prison.4 Those returning from jail and prison tend to reside in low-income, high-crime communities of color. Helping those returning from jail or prison to break the cycle of justice-involvement and establish a stable, productive life in the community can thus have a major impact on their communities. Especially for newly-released young people, reentry services like those provided by CASES—promoting educational advancement, employment-readiness, job placement, and positive engagement in the community—can help them avoid recidivism and access practical pathways to a better future.

References

1 Mallik-Kane, K. & Visher, C.A. (2008). Health and prisoner reentry: how physical, mental, and substance abuse conditions shape the process of reintegration. Washington: The Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/411617-Health-and-Prisoner-Reentry.PDF ^

2 Abrams, L.S. & Franke, T.M. (2013). Postsecondary educational engagement among formerly-incarcerated transition-age young men. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 52(4). Retrieved from http://luskin.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/Abrams%20and%20Franke.pdf ^

3 Schriro, D. (2011, Oct. 25). Mayor’s panel aims to end the illness-to-incarceration pipeline. City Limits. Retrieved from http://citylimits.org/2011/10/25/mayors-panel-aims-to-end-the-illness-to-incarceration-pipeline ^

4 James, N. (2015, Jan. 12). Offender reentry: correctional statistics, reintegration into the community, and recidivism. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34287.pdf ^

5Cloud, D. & Davis, C. (2013). Treatment alternatives to incarceration for people with mental health needs in the criminal justice system: the cost-savings implications. NYC: The Vera Institute of Justice. Retrieved from http://archive.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/treatment-alternatives-to-incarceration.pdf^

6 Durose, M., Cooper, A.D., & Synder, H.N. (2014, Apr.). Recidivism of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005: patterns from 2005 to 2010. Washington: U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rprts05p0510.pdf ^