For those who have spent time incarcerated, returning to society can be a difficult and lengthy process. Finding safe and affordable housing, re-establishing a career, and gaining firm footing toward a healthy and productive life takes resources and counselling. Over the past couple of decades, re-entry programs have emerged and work to provide help to the formerly incarcerated with the ultimate goal of reducing the rate of released prisoners being re-arrested for a similar offence – known as recidivism.
Reducing recidivism benefits individuals by helping them get back on their feet and lead successful and fulfilling lives. It also greatly benefits society by reducing crime rates and lowering healthcare and incarceration costs.
The United States of America has the largest prison population of any nation in the world. A staggering one of every five people in the world who are incarcerated are in the U.S. Individuals who are incarcerated are more likely to suffer from poor physical and mental health, have a comparatively lower level of education, and are more likely to be from racial and ethnic minorities.
The simple fact is that those who are incarcerated and face the prospect of fighting recidivism are among the most marginalized populations in our society. These populations have many statistical disadvantages working against them already so re-entry programs play a significant role in helping reduce the likelihood they will find themselves incarcerated again.
Prisoner reentry programs work to help ease recently release prisoners’ integration back into society. The formerly incarcerated face a host of potential issues including the lack of a support network, limited employment options, and the need for quick and safe housing.
In addition to providing these resources, the other vital and perhaps even more all-encompassing goal is to keep the formerly incarcerated just that – formerly incarcerated. Reentry programs equip individuals with the skills and head start they need to keep them from the temptation of committing the same crime that found them behind bars in the first place. Rather than return to prison, these individuals become productive members of society and have the ability to become self-sufficient.
Related Post: Reentry Programs – A New Way of Life
Incarcerated youth seeking to reintegrate into society face many of the same challenges that adults face however they also have some unique situations that require a more focused approach to reentry. Youth face the challenges of integrating back into schools, unstable homes and family life, and not having the requisite skills to enter the labour force. These can inhibit effective reentry and lead to juvenile recidivism.
Many reentry programs focus specifically on helping youth. These programs help to develop interpersonal skills, communication strategies, integration into schools, and independent living skills that will help foster a successful and happy life. These programs also often work to expunge records when they are able.
It is widely accepted that juvenile reentry programs should focus on five primary areas:
While there isn’t a wealth of data associated with how effective reentry programs are, there is some evidence to support the idea that employment solutions are among the most effective tools that they offer.
So how can these programs improve? Here are the ways that reentry programs can be more likely to succeed for the individuals they are helping:
PlanStreet is the premiere case management system for reentry case workers. Our industry-leading software offerings can help with:
We help guide case managers through the critical steps of reentry case management: intake, needs assessment, service, reporting and results, and mid-care adjustments.
Perhaps most importantly, PlanStreet integrates with Spillman Flex’s records management suite – an industry-leading software used by law enforcement and first responders all across the nation. Spillman Flex’s RMS creates a process and repository for uniform, unduplicated, and sharable data entry.
Spillman Flex’s RMS provides capability and assistance with:
These records can be shared across organizations as well as with other databases – including PlanStreet!
At PlanStreet, our passion is creating the best possible product to help social workers and case managers be as effective in their roles as possible. PlanStreet offers one of the most customizable platforms on the market and it fully integrates with Spillman Flex’s records management suite.
Contact us today for a tour of our product. We want nothing more than to help you maximize the impact that your team is having in our community.