JPI partnered with graduate students from George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration to explore the landscape of transitional housing for individuals returning home after long prison terms. Returning Citizens: Promising practices and recommendations for the District of Columbia presents the research and findings of the team, who explored challenges with reentry, best practices in transitional housing, and recommendations for a holistic community approach to support the transition from prison to the community. Washington, DC leaders need to take action to improve reentry services, and this report provides several actionable recommendations to make the journey home more accessible and sustainable.
The report recommendations are specific to Washington, DC but apply to any jurisdiction exploring reentry and transitional housing reform. Recommendations include:
- A successful housing program will avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to reentry services. Acknowledging the diversity of needs and the wide variety of services necessary for successful reintegration is imperative.
- An emphasis on interagency collaboration is instrumental in connecting returning citizens with comprehensive services that fully address their diverse needs.
- Interagency collaboration can be defined simply as having different departments and agencies working together for the betterment of a specific group, in this case, returning citizens.
- Offering mentoring services to returning citizens encourages successful reentry as it increases the likelihood that returning citizens will become productive members of society.
- A successful reentry program must take a holistic approach that accounts for the diverse needs of returning citizens. It is crucial for Washington, DC stakeholders to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy concerning the enactment of criminal legal policy and programming since all social issues are interrelated and connected.