Housing Important for Staying Out of Prison

We found out about this important new study from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. It underscores the importance of permanent, affordable and supportive housing. Click here to read the full report.

Housing Important for Staying Out of Prison

Finding a place to live is a major obstacle for returning prisoners. The Urban Institute’s Returning Home study found that among a sample of returning prisoners in Cleveland, Ohio 84 percent anticipated that “having a place to stay would be an important fact in staying out of prison.” One year after about 25 percent of returning prisoners in the study returned to their own home (about one-third lived in their own home before prison), 28 percent were living with a parent, and 18 percent were living with a sibling. Nearly half (46 percent) were living in their previous neighborhood, although many reported not wanting to return “in order to avoid trouble.”

Almost one-third of returning prisoners in the study reported residential instability: 21 percent moved three times, 5 percent moved four times, and 3 percent moved five times or more. A year after release nearly half considered their housing situation to be temporary. In addition to residential instability, about a quarter of returning prisoners in the study are living in tenuous housing situations that could put them at risk for technical violations or recidivism. 17 percent lived with someone who had been in prison and 23 percent with someone who “often drank to the point of intoxication or used illegal drugs.” Returning prisoners with secure long term housing were less likely to be reincarcerated.

The study findings are based on prerelease interviews with 424 males and three post release interviews with 358, 322, and 294 respondents from the original sample. Researchers corrected for attrition bias using observed characteristics captured in the baseline survey.