Delaware Experiment: Can Open Door To Public Housing Keep Former Felons From Reoffending?

open doorway
Open door at Hidcote Manor photo by Neosnaps is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For many years, U.S. governments at every level have been determined to provide no “free ride” for those newly released from various prison systems.

One incredibly self-defeating consequence of these policies? Released prisoners are barred from even temporarily staying with friends or relatives in government financed public housing. Without this inexpensive and supportive alternative, many are immediately threatened by homelessness. They are left with a difficult or well-nigh hopeless task of finding rental accommodation from wary and reluctant private landlords.

No thanks to the threat of homelessness hanging over their heads, as many as three quarters of such newly-released inmates in the state of Delaware will be re-arrested. Two thirds will wind up back behind bars.

Can at least modest housing security for newly-released prisoners help turn around these dismal statistics? Five of Delaware’s public housing authories are prepared to give it a try. With few exceptions, these authorities aim to make it possible for former inmates to spend time in public housing not just accessing the benefits of shelter, but also the potential benefits of reconnecting with family and access to professional support.

Read more in the NEWARK POST: Inmate re-entry program garners strong support at public hearing