Jurisdictions across the country face challenges in developing case plans that balance criminogenic and behavioral health needs.
For the overwhelming majority of people in federal and state prisons who will eventually reenter the community, finding employment plays a critical role in preventing recidivism. That said, it is not strictly job placement services that can make the difference between reincarceration and successful reentry; ensuring people who are returning to communities from incarceration have the skills to not only find, but also retain, jobs is also key.
Health care is one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in the country, with the demand for qualified workers greatly exceeding supply in many areas. But people who have criminal records are often unable to enter or advance within this relatively high-paying sector due to a complex web of legal barriers that make jobs and licenses difficult or impossible to obtain.
The Social Security Administration disability benefit programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – can provide income and health insurance benefits to support healthy return to communities for previously incarcerated individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a model that can help.
Individuals exiting prisons and jails have an increased likelihood of opioid overdose. Some corrections systems have chosen to address this risk through the use of reentry programs that incorporate medication-assisted treatment (MAT). While a range of Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program site-based projects are tackling the opioid epidemic by focusing on the front end of the criminal justice system (for example, through the roles of first responders), several teams are focusing on improving jail- and prison-related strategies.