Taking Stock: Housing, Homelessness and Prisoner Reentry

Caterina Gouvis Roman and Jeremy Travis

March 2004

This report examines how those who have spent time in prison or jail fare in securing safe and affordable housing following their release and discusses housing programming and practice designed to assist them. Every prisoner facing discharge from a correctional institution must answer this question: "Where will I sleep tonight?" For many returning prisoners, the family home provides an answer to that question. But reunions with families are not always possible—or are only temporary—sometimes due to the dictates of criminal justice or housing policies, or sometimes due to family dynamics. For those who cannot return to the homes of families or friends, the question of housing becomes considerably more complex. For some, the final answer to the question "Where will I sleep tonight?" is a homeless shelter or the street. Many are finding that the difficulties in securing affordable and appropriate housing complicate the reentry process, further reducing already limited chances for successful community reintegration.

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