Ending Mass Incarceration

Providing Second Chances

America is a nation founded on the idea of second chances, yet we close doors that lead to a better life for a whole segment of the population. People with criminal convictions are stigmatized in the labor market and barred from specific jobs, unable to vote, and shut out of public housing.

But policies once rationalized as just desserts and good for public safety increasingly are viewed as counter-productive. Key arenas for creating second chances are in higher education and housing. What we’ve found: The payoff of bringing college back into prison, and using it as a sturdy bridge to support reentry. And that many people caught up in the justice system and then barred from public housing can live there safely with their families without compromising the safety of other residents—and that welcoming them is the smart thing to do.

Related Work

"Keep Your Head On" Groundswell (c) 2017

Helping People with Prior Convictions Access NYC Public Housing

Finding housing is hard for people with conviction histories, especially in public housing. Most housing authorities in the country have policies that temporarily or permanently bar people with conviction histories, even though studies have shown that when people released from incarceration obtain stable housing, they are significantly more likely ...

Blog Post
  • Anne  McDonough
    Anne McDonough
June 30, 2017
Blog Post

Report to the New York City Housing Authority

Applying and Lifting Permanent Exclusions for Criminal Conduct

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is conducting an internal review of its policies related to permanent exclusions for criminal conduct on NYCHA property.  Permanent exclusion (PE) occurs when a NYCHA tenant—rather than risk eviction—enters into a stipulation that those associated with the resident who have engaged in non-desirable behavi...

Publication
  • Margaret diZerega, John Bae
February 08, 2017
Publication

Coming Home

An Evaluation of the New York City Housing Authority’s Family Reentry Pilot Program

Public housing authorities across the nation historically have barred many with criminal records from public housing residency. However, given evidence of the critical role stable housing and family reunification plays for people coming back to their communities from incarceration, some housing authorities are rethinking their practices. This repor...

Publication
  • John Bae, Margaret diZerega, Jacob Kang-Brown, Ryan Shanahan, Ram Subramanian
November 14, 2016
Publication

Series: Unlocking Potential

Increasing interest in and passion for learning throughout the prison system

Former intern Monnero Guervil interviews Baz Dreisinger for this blog post.  What inspired you to create John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP) program? How does it differ, if at all, from other college in prison programs? I was volunteering in an educational capacity in prisons. This started be...

Blog Post
  • Monnero Guervil
    Monnero Guervil
  • Baz Dreisinger
    Baz Dreisinger
August 29, 2016
Blog Post

Second Chance Pell Convening

Second Chance Pell Convening event in Washington, DC, July 19, 2016

Highlights from the convening in Washington, DC of the 69 sites selected for the Second Chance Pell Pilot program, including a conversation between U.S. Secretary of Education John King and three students who have attended college in prison.Watch: Welcoming remarks Keynote: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates  Keynote: U.S. Secretary of Educat...

Video Playlist
July 19, 2016
Video Playlist