At any one time, nearly 6.9 million people are on probation, in jail, in prison, or on parole in the United Sates. Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Another 9 million cycle through local jails. More than two-thirds of prisoners are rearrested within 3 years of their release and half are reincarcerated. When reentry fails, the costs are high — more crime, more victims, and more pressure on already-strained state and municipal budgets. There is also more family distress and community instability. Roughly 1 in 28 children currently has a parent behind bars. Mass incarceration has been a major driver of poverty. Without mass incarceration, it is estimated that 5 million fewer Americans would have been poor between 1980 and 2014.
Through the Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry, federal agencies are working together to enhance community safety and well-being, assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens, and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. Because reintegration to the community after incarceration intersects with issues of health, housing, education, employment, family, faith, and community well-being, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies are focusing on the reentry population with activities that aim to improve outcomes in these areas.
Individuals, families, and communities served by HHS programs are affected by high rates of incarceration. HHS initiatives that target this population encompass a range of human services, health, and behavioral health services. Human services initiatives aim to improve child outcomes, enhance family relationships, promote employment opportunities, and connect individuals and families affected by incarceration with needed supportive services with a larger goal of increasing the safety and economic well-being of reentering individuals, their families, and the communities to which they return. Health activities focus on connecting individuals leaving the criminal justice system with health insurance, needed treatment and preventative care. They also address the individual, family and community public health risks of incarceration and reentry, including substance abuse, mental health, chronic disease, oral health, and the gender-specific needs of the incarcerated and reentering population. Jointly, the health and human services efforts of HHS strive to increase stability, health, and overall well-being for incarcerated and reentering individuals and their families.
Douglas County Community Mental Health Center fosters relationships for incarcerated and reentering individuals recovering from substance use in Douglas County, Nebraska through coffee chats and connections with staff.
Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act can increase economic independence and labor force attachment among individuals reentering from incarceration through helping cover basic expenses while individuals seek employment and get on their feet. However, while many reentering individuals may be eligible for an Economic Impact Payment, they may need additional assistance to ensure they receive one.
People with behavioral health conditions such as serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorder (OUD), are 3-6 times more likely than the general population to be represented in the criminal justice system. Even though the majority of incarcerated people with behavioral health diagnoses have not committed any violent crime, they may end up in jail as a consequence of both poverty and their behavioral health disorders.
APPROACHES TO EARLY JAIL DIVERSION: COLLABORATIONS AND INNOVATIONS Sue Pfefferle, Sarah Steverman, Elle Gault, Samantha Karon, and Holly Swan Abt Associates July 2019 Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (91 PDF pages)
ASPE has contracted with Research Triangle Institute and the University of North Carolina School of Government to understand how local, state, faith-based, and nonprofit human services programs and organizations can create and use social capital to increase employment, reduce poverty, and improve child and family well-being.
This project explores how the need for workers in healthcare professions can be partially met by hiring individuals with criminal records who do not pose a risk to public safety. The report is organized around the following five things to consider for employing certain individuals with criminal records in the healthcare sector: Growth in the healthcare sector has created a demand for healthcare employees that some individuals with criminal records are qualified to fill safely.
Linkage to health coverage upon release from prison or jail is a critical aspect of the reentry process that may promote greater personal stability and productivity, as well as better care coordination in the community health care system and subsequent reductions in state expenditures. This paper examines operational and legal or regulatory barriers to enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid among elderly reentrants, and discusses promising correctional and community-based strategies for enrolling them in health coverage.
Rose Feinberg, Tasseli McKay, Joshua Green and Anupa Bir RTI International Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (66 PDF pages)
About the Public-Use Dataset from the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP)
This document briefly describes the public-use dataset from the Multi-site Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering.
Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering: Program Impacts Technical Report
This report presents findings on the impact of couples-based family strengthening services in four prison-based programs from the Multi-Site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP) and discusses the implications for policy, programs, and future research. In one of the four grantee programs, the low-dosage healthy relationship retreat had sustained positive effects on multiple partnership and parenting relationship outcomes for a low-income, justice-involved population. This evaluation attempted to isolate the impacts of relatively low-dosage couples programming.
A father’s incarceration can represent a serious threat to economic stability for his children and family, yet little is known about earnings and child support payments among justice-involved men over the course of incarceration and release. This brief presents findings on pre- and post-incarceration wages and child support participation in the five impact sites of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). This analysis matches MFS-IP survey data with state administrative data on wages and child support participation to examine this gap.
Impact of Couples-Based Family Strengthening Services for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners
This brief summarizes findings on the impact of couples-based family strengthening services in four prison-based programs from the Multi-Site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP) and discusses the implications for policy, programs, and future research. In one of the four grantee programs, the low-dosage healthy relationship retreat had sustained positive effects on multiple partnership and parenting relationship outcomes for a low-income, justice-involved population. This evaluation attempted to isolate the impacts of relatively low-dosage couples programming.
This brief uses a sample of over 1,000 reentering men in five states to examine reentry success. The analysis uses a common measure of recidivism as well as measures of success in other areas, including employment, drug use, and two dimensions of family relationship quality that are very rarely examined in reentry studies: financial support for children and intimate/coparenting relationship quality. The results suggest that most men were successful in at least four of the measured areas and that family contact during incarceration was positively associated with reentry success. Further,
This brief presents findings on family life during and after a father’s incarceration based on qualitative interviews conducted as part of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). Qualitative and mixed-method analysis of pre- and post-release interview data from 170 participants found that reentering men and their partners reported overwhelming, unmet needs for support to maintain family relationships during incarceration, overcome trauma, meet families’ material needs, and find housing and employment after the father’s release.
Understanding what supports strong relationship quality among formerly incarcerated men and their partners could have an impact on individual, interpersonal, and community safety and wellbeing. The information in this research brief is drawn from a couples-based longitudinal study of families affected by incarceration, focusing on 641 couples where the male partner was incarcerated at the beginning of the study and released prior to the completion of the final study interviews.
The Importance of Medicaid Coverage for Criminal Justice Involved Individuals Reentering Their Communities
The purpose of this issue brief is to highlight the importance of health insurance coverage for criminal justice involved individuals, particularly the importance of the expansion in Medicaid coverage made available through the Affordable Care Act. This issue brief explains why Medicaid and access to the health benefits the program covers can play a key role in improving the health not only of justice involved individuals, but also of their communities.
Understanding what supports strong relationships formerly incarcerated men and their children could have an impact on individual, interpersonal, and community safety and well-being. The information in this research brief is drawn from a couples-based longitudinal study of families affected by incarceration, focusing on 772 fathers who were incarcerated at the beginning of the study and released prior to the completion of the final study interviews.
This brief, part of a series on disconnected low-income men, presents selected data on low-income men’s contact with the criminal justice system.
Five Years Later: Final Implementation Lessons from the Evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners
The Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners Initiative (MFS-IP) represented a groundbreaking effort to recognize and respond to the impact of incarceration on families and the crucial role of family support in reentry success. No one program model was required for MFS-IP grantees, and sites varied widely in the program components delivered and service delivery approaches implemented. The MFS-IP implementation evaluation identified common elements of program design, organizational capacity, and operational strategy that shaped grantees’ successes and failures in bringing their programs to scale. These implementation findings can help inform ongoing work with families in correctional and reentry settings.
ASPE RESEARCH BRIEF Abstract
Overview and Inventory of HHS Efforts to Assist Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals and their Families
Prepared by: Erica Meade and Linda Mellgren The views expressed in this report are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.