What Can I Do?
The Corporation for Supportive Housing in New York demonstrated that when people with mental illness and past criminal records had affordable housing, the use of state prisons and city jails dropped by 74% and 40%, respectively.
We can develop a project to house former prisoners.
60-70% of inmates used drugs regularly before prison, and an estimated 84% of offenses involved drugs or alcohol. Only about a third of inmates participate in treatment programs in the year before release. In Washington State, community-based substance abuse treatment programs and case management have saved substantial money and decrease recidivism.
We can support community programs to treat substance abuse.
Over 1/3 of jail inmates have a physical or mental disability, and 1/4 have been treated at some time for mental or emotional problems.
We can push for mental health services for people in prison.
The Safer Foundation assists ex-inmates with a full range of employment services and other support to prepare for work, with housing, treatment, and education. Since 1972, they have placed more than 40,000 people in jobs. Their participants are more likely to remain employed and crime free one year after release.
We can identify work opportunities, and encourage employers to identify re-entry jobs for former prisoners.
Participating in educational programs in prison lowers the likelihood of reincarceration by 29%. The Federal Bureau of Prisons estimates a 33% drop in recidivism among federal prisoners who receive vocational training.
We can support vocational and educational programs. We can volunteer to teach in prisons and juvenile detention. We can tutor children of prisoners and re-entering women and men.