We talk of “second chances,” but rarely do we recognize that many of the millions of people returning from jail and prison each year never got a first one. This policy brief outlines a new vision for reentry focused on the social integration due to returning citizens. That starts with two priorities: immediate access to housing and to trauma-informed therapy.
April Barber Scales was a pregnant 15-year-old when she received two life sentences; Anthony Willis was 16 when he was sent away for life. After more than 25 years behind bars, they each received something desperately rare: clemency. They describe how they fought against a prison system that "sets you up for failure." We also hear from an organization in Baltimore that works exclusively with young people at high risk of violence. Rather than arrests and incarceration, what do these young people need?
This brief provides an overview of participatory research and discusses different ways that reentry programs can engage impacted populations (e.g., formerly incarcerated persons, past program participants) in the evaluation of their programs. It also summarizes key benefits of this approach, potential challenges and how to navigate them, and provides examples of how to build off existing participatory engagement strategies.
The Family Healing Project uses restorative practices to offer supportive spaces for individuals and families, after incarceration. Evidence shows that strong social support is positively correlated with stable housing and that stable housing greatly reduces the risk of re-arrest amongst formerly incarcerated people. Yet support for people coming home is often narrowly focused on material needs, while heads of households, primarily women of color, shoulder the emotional, psychological, and spiritual challenges for all.
While eviction is a universally stressful event, people with mental health conditions can face unique obstacles with housing retention for reasons related specifically to their disability. This guide provides a review of housing settings and specific risks of eviction for individuals with mental illness before focusing on housing court and the challenges these individuals and court personnel face therein and identifies junctures at which supportive, problem-solving interventions can ensure the necessary community supports and legal representation.
Developed with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Planning a Reentry Program: A Toolkit for Tribal Communities is designed to help tribal justice system practitioners create or enhance reentry programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives returning from jail or prison. It also offers guidance for practitioners who are currently working in a reentry program.
"Until you begin to deal with that hurt and that trauma on the inside, it's always going to affect you and the things that you do," says Timothy, a program manager for our Men’s Empowerment Program. We support the mental health of young men of color by helping address and break the cycle of trauma and violence in the lives of young Black and Brown men in Harlem, NYC. With a trauma-informed focus on healing, young men experience a positive shift in how they see themselves and how they can be a resource to their community and the world.
The Harlem Community Justice Center is a neighborhood-based community court committed to bridging the gap between the court and community to achieve fairness and systematic equity in housing, community health, and access to justice. We believe the community should have a voice in addressing its problems and defining justice, we and seek to empower communities to transform the systems that serve them.
Punishments for violating the terms of probation are a major driver of prison and jail populations across the country. Calls for meaningful reform are growing. This study examines the impact of New York City’s early efforts to shift to a more client-centered approach to probation, including improved case management and establishing neighborhood-oriented probation offices.
With justice systems across the country scrambling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of talk about what justice is going to look like when the virus ends. But what has the response actually consisted of, and is there any reason to anticipate a "new normal" will emerge? On New Thinking, New York University law professor Rachel Barkow explains her skepticism.