Access to Justice

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 10% of those in prisons and jails are homeless in the months before their incarceration.

Individuals experiencing homelessness with serious mental illness and/or substance use issues often find themselves in jail or prison because they were unable to get appropriate care. Incarceration is an ineffective and costly intervention for this population. Targeted outreach, case management, and specialized courts are effective tools to keep people out of jail and emergency rooms and in programs that help them regain stability.

In addition, those who have been involved in the criminal justice system are at a higher risk of homelessness upon release. Upon release, many ex-offenders struggle with basic life necessities, facing barriers to housing and employment due to their criminal background. Such barriers only prolong the cycle of homelessness, arrest, and incarceration.

Opening Doors emphasizes the need for collaboration among housing, services, health, and criminal justice agencies to help prevent and end homelessness for the unsheltered and reentering population. Below users will find information and resources related to the following topics:

  • Discharge planning/prison reentry
  • Jail diversion courts
  • Strategies to reduce the criminalization of homelessness
     

Additional Resources

Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adult Offenders FY 2013 Competitive Grant Announcement

Applications due May 16, 2013 WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice, (DOJ) Office of Justice...

Supportive Housing for Returning Prisoners: Outcomes and Impacts of the Returning Home-Ohio Pilot Project

Jocelyn Fontaine, Douglas Gilchrist-Scott, John Roman, Samuel Taxy, Caterina Gouvis Roman August 2012 This evaluation of...

Still Serving Time: Struggling with Homelessness , Incarceration, and Re-entry in Baltimore

Health Care for the Homeless October 2011 This study evaluates the costs of incarceration and recidivism,...

Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless July 2009 ...

Assessing Criminal History as a Predictor of Future Housing Success for Homeless Adults With Behavioral Health Disorders

Daniel K. Malone February 2009 Homeless adults with serious mental illnesses and chronic substance abuse problems...

Homelessness in the State and Federal Prison Population

Greg A. Greenberg and Robert A. Rosenheck March 27, 2008 This study sought to investigate the rates...

Closing a Front Door to Homelessness among Veterans

James McGuire June 2007 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been identified as...

Intensive Case Management as a Jail Diversion Program for People with a Serious Mental Illness

David Loveland and Michael Boyle April 2007 This article reviews the research on intensive case management ...

Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry

Amy L. Solomon, Christy Visher, Nancy G. La Vigne, and  Jenny Osborne March 2006 The...

A Dream Denied: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless January 2006 ...

Taking Stock: Housing, Homelessness and Prisoner Reentry

Caterina Gouvis Roman and Jeremy Travis March 2004 This report examines how those who have spent...

Criminal history as a prognostic indicator in the treatment of homeless people with severe mental illness

James F. McGuire 2004 This study examined the clinical problems and treatment outcomes of homeless people...

An Empirical Portrait of the Youth Reentry Population

Howard N. Snyder 2004 Nearly 100,000 juvenile offenders are released annually from custody facilities following adjudication or...

From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry

Jeremy Travis, Amy L. Soloman, and Michele Waul June 2001 This study examines the challenges of...

Homeless and Non-Homeless Arrestees: Distinctions in Prevalence and in Sociodemographic, Drug Use, and Arrest Characteristics Across DUF Sites, Final Report

Richard Spieglman 1999 The study hypothesized that homeless persons would be arrested more often for less...

A SAMHSA Research Initiative Assessing the Effectiveness of Jail Diversion Programs for Mentally Ill

Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D., Martha Williams Deane, M.A., Joseph P. Morrissey, Ph.D.,...

An Empirical Portrait of the Youth Reentry Population

Howard N. Snyder January 2004 Nearly 100,000 juvenile offenders are released annually from custody facilities following adjudication...

Impact of the San Diego Serial Inebriate Program

James V. Dunford, Edward M. Castillo, Theodore C. Chan, Gary M. Vilke, MD, Peter Jenson...

Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program

The Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program funds the development and implementation of drug treatment courts...

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program funds grants and assistance to states and local...

Second Chance Act

The Second Chance Act includes funding for programs to provide assistance to the reentering population...

Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative

The Veterans Justice Outreach initiative limits the criminalization and unnecessary arrest of Veterans suffering from...

Effective Community-Based Solutions to Encampments

Ending homelessness is about protecting and furthering human rights. Balancing health, safety, and community impact...

Successful Reentry Program: Oakland Prisoner Reentry Initiative

The Oakland Prisoner Reentry Initiative (OPRI) Program is a two-year-old collaborative (or “the collaborative)...

Access to Justice

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 10%...

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