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

Closing the Distance

The Impact of Video Visits on Washington State Prisons

For people who are incarcerated, separation from family and friends is a difficult fact of life, as are the financial and logistical barriers that keep their loved ones from visiting them in prison. Because research has shown that contact with loved ones is a critical factor in improving outcomes for incarcerated people returning home, prison syste...

Publication
  • Léon Digard, Jessi LaChance, Jennifer Hill
August 15, 2017
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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...

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  • 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...

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

Developing Quality Postsecondary Education Programs in Prison

With its July 2015 announcement of the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, the U.S. Department of Education ushered in what could be a new era of expanded opportunities for postsecondary education in our nation’s prisons. The Second Chance Pell Pilot makes students incarcerated in state and federal prisons eligible for need-based financial aid in a l...

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  • Ruth Delaney, Ram Subramanian, Fred Patrick
July 18, 2016
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