Read our Full Report: Re-Entry Housing Issues in Illinois: The Current Situation, Challenges, and Possible Solutions
Consider the following statistics about those re-entering communities
- Nearly 40% of people return to prison within three years, each time costing taxpayers over $150,000.
- The majority of unsheltered people in Chicago were previously incarcerated — 60% of unsheltered men and 58% of women report being previously incarcerated in jail or prison.
- Illinois spends billions each year to incarcerate men and women, and disproportionately few resources to keep them from returning.
Many solutions have been advanced, but most seem to lack what’s clearly essential: a safe, supportive and aff ordable place to live. Without that, people cannot work or get essential treatment they may need to address mental health or substance abuse issues, causing them to engage in illegal activities and threatening public safety.
That’s why the Illinois Justice Project and the Metropolitan Planning Council launched an in-depth, three-year effort to address a major, unresolved problem facing public officials: how to find stable living conditions for the tens of thousands of individuals who depart state prisons and jails each year. Re-Entry Housing Issues in Illinois: The Current Situation, Challenges, and Possible Solutions is the result of that work.
We’ve met with leaders from over 60 organizations including the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and others who interact daily with individuals leaving incarceration. Signifi cantly, this project marks the fi rst time the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Housing Development Authority have ever reviewed re-entry housing issues in depth. Discrimination, combined with aff ordable housing shortages, perpetuates the exclusion of formerly incarcerated people from the housing market.
But those aren’t the only challenges facing this population. Needs are both varied and complex, and in addition to housing, a justice-involved person may need health care, substance abuse counseling, and job training. He or she may also struggle to navigate a complicated, patchwork system that would overwhelm anyone.At the same time, resources available at the state and local levels are fragmented and services lack coordination.
The adoption of more effective re-entry housing strategies, the creation of additional housing for those currently or formerly under criminal justice supervision, and the improvement and additonal resourcing of re-entry housing programs will:
- Reduce recidivism
- Improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members
- Help dimish the burden on taxpayers in our state