Gaining employment was hindered by multiple obstacles: In addition to low levels of education and work experience, and the reluctance of employers to hire someone who has served time in prison, they also lacked the personal networks to help them identify and secure jobs. Those findings echoed the experiences of government and community-based reentry service providers.So it’s a difficult problem, but the first step is obvious.
However, “housing was identified as the most central issue and need people faced immediately upon their return or move to Atlanta,” said Owens. “For those released from prison without obtaining a guaranteed bed at a transitional house or shelter, and possessing only their $25 in ‘gate money,’ finding a place to stay that was secure, decent and accessible was often impossible.”
And there’s a basic reason for doing something:
“In many ways, the success or recidivism of former inmates has a tremendous impact on the communities where they settle, but given the stigma attached, it hasn’t exactly been a cause championed by many. But, positive reentry is a necessity, not an option, when it comes to public safety, preserving families and the development and stability of neighborhoods,” said assistant professor of political science Michael Leo Owens, coauthor of the study “Prisoner Reentry in Atlanta: Understanding the Challenges of Transition from Prison to Community.” View the prisoner reentry study (PDF).Helping prisoners re-enter the community reduces crime and increases employment, so it would seem like something everyone would want.