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Cleveland Stakeholders' Perceptions of Prisoner Reentry

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Document date: August 01, 2007
Released online: August 13, 2007

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

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Abstract

This policy brief presents findings from interviews with stakeholders—specific persons or organizations—familiar with issues affecting individuals transitioning from prison to the community in Cleveland, Ohio. We interviewed service providers, local government officials, criminal justice practitioners, and civic leaders. The brief expands the prisoner reentry dialog to incorporate the voices of those in the community who are dedicated to improving reentry for men and women returning home. We discuss their perceptions of barriers and issues affecting successful reentry, solutions and suggested changes to policy and practice, and the role that government agencies can play in successful reentry.


Introduction

In 2001, the Urban Institute launched Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry, a multistate, longitudinal study that documents the pathways of prisoner reintegration and examines the factors that contribute to successful and unsuccessful reentry. The Returning Home study has been implemented in four states, including a pilot study in Maryland and full studies in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. Through in-person interviews, the study collects information on individuals’ life circumstances immediately prior to, during, and up to one year after their release from prison. The project began with a statistical analysis of Ohio corrections data to examine patterns and trends in reentry characteristics. (See sidebar, Prisoner Reentry in Ohio—An Overview.) In addition, interviews and focus groups were conducted with residents and other community stakeholders in Cleveland.

This brief is the fourth in a series of briefs documenting the findings on prisoner reentry in Ohio, specifically men returning to the Cleveland area. (See sidebar, Findings from Interviews with Former Prisoners.) The first brief, Ohio Prisoners’ Reflections on Returning Home, documents the prerelease experiences and expectations of over 400 prisoners selected for the study. The second brief, Cleveland Prisoners' Experiences Returning Home, describes former prisoners’ experiences in the first few months after release, including whether reentry expectations were met, success with housing, the job market, and family reintegration. The third brief, Community Residents' Perceptions of Prisoner Reentry in Selected Cleveland Neighborhoods, presents the views of community residents concerning the impact of prisoner reentry in their neighborhoods.

This policy brief presents findings from interviews with stakeholders—specific persons or organizations—familiar with issues affecting individuals transitioning from prison to the community. We interviewed service providers, local government officials, criminal justice practitioners, and civic leaders. (See sidebar, Study Methodology.) The current policy brief expands the prisoner reentry dialog to incorporate the voices of those in the community who are dedicated to improving reentry for men and women returning home. We discuss their perceptions of barriers and issues affecting successful reentry, solutions and suggested changes to policy and practice, and the role that government agencies can play in successful reentry. This research brief is intended to serve as a foundation for understanding stakeholders’ perceptions of barriers to reentry and identifying viable strategies for improving the lives of returning prisoners and those affected by their experiences.

(End of excerpt. The entire paper is available in PDF format.)



Topics/Tags: | Crime/Justice


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