Strengthening Families and Communities

Restoring Community and Family Bonds

Roughly 600,000 people are released from prison every year. The number leaving county jails is exponentially higher—and the hard work of fostering stronger connections between incarcerated people and the communities they come from and return to has only just begun.

With our government partners, we’re using higher education as a sturdy bridge between life inside and life after incarceration. Bringing college back into prison and supporting people in their studies for two years after release pays off in increased rates of employment and higher incomes, as well as much lower recidivism rates—individual outcomes that also benefit the low-income families and communities formerly incarcerated people often rejoin. We’re exploring the potential of video visitation, to preserve family bonds no wall should sever. We’re helping cities reconsider blanket prohibitions that bar formerly incarcerated people from public housing, replacing them with individual assessments that can promote family reunification and prevent homelessness. And our Family Justice project pioneered a truly holistic approach to reentry that honors and marshals that natural support system that every person has. 

Related Work

Finding housing is hard—but for people leaving prison and jail, it’s almost impossible

We need to open doors for people reentering society, not shut them.

In recent years, however, there has been growing momentum to ease restrictions around housing for formerly incarcerated individuals. In 2017, Vera launched the Opening Doors to Public Housing initiative to expand access to housing for people with conviction histories. Now, with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistan...

Blog Post
  • Jack W. Duran
    Jack W. Duran
August 30, 2018
Blog Post

Opening Doors

Safely Increasing Access to Public Housing for People with Conviction Histories

For more than 600,000 people leaving prison and the nearly 11 million cycling through jails annually, research shows that safe, affordable housing is essential for them to succeed after they are released. While all public housing authorities (PHAs) must, by law, place lifetime exclusions on people who are lifetime-registered sex offenders or who ha...

Publication
  • Brian Walsh
August 30, 2018
Publication

New Report Highlights California’s Success in Expanding Access to College for Incarcerated People

And Shows the Rest of the Country How It Can Be Done

Today, California has more in-person postsecondary education programs—offered in 34 out of the state’s 35 prisons—than any other state in the nation. CDCR is offering higher education to nearly 4,500 incarcerated students. Programs that meet students outside the prison walls have expanded in correlation to inside programs, as more people who starte...

Blog Post
  • Heather Erwin
    Heather Erwin
April 04, 2018
Blog Post