Criminal Justice & Housing

Criminal justice reformers ARE housing advocates

Individuals transitioning out of the criminal justice system need a good place to call home so that they can reconnect with society and rebuild their lives.

“This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society. We know from long experience that if they can’t find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison…. America is the land of the second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.”

President George W. Bush, 2004 State of the Union Address

People with criminal records encounter many housing obstacles.

“Studies have shown that formerly incarcerated individuals experience high rates of homelessness, and in some urban areas an estimated 30% to 50% of people on parole have no place to call home. Research has also shown that formerly incarcerated individuals who cannot find stable affordable housing are more likely to recidivate than those who do. With so many tenants and so few rental units available to low income households, landlords often use criminal background checks to narrow the applicant pool for their housing. These housing practices and policies disproportionately impact people of color and people with disabilities, as these persons are over-represented in the U.S. criminal justice system.” Quoted from the Reentry and Housing Coalition.

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