Identify Local Needs and Barriers

CSSCFI will identify local needs and barriers in order to develop resources for incarcerated and returning citizens, their children, caregivers, families, and professionals working with children, caregivers, and families affected by incarceration.

Approximately 600,000 people are released from prison annually and are expected to return back to their home communities. Many of these individuals require basic services upon their release, which include applying for a driver's license, applying for food stamps, locating housing, applying for employment, and, if remaining under justice supervision, scheduling and attending meetings with their probation or parole officer.

However, many of the communities that these individuals return to lack the essential resources to accommodate reentry, and oftentimes this necessitates the returning citizen to travel a distance to receive these services. Unfortunately, this is problematic as it may contribute to recidivism and decrease community safety and well-being.

To address this issue, communities across the U.S. have developed reentry maps. These reentry maps provide geospatial information on the location of returning citizens and the location of necessary services and are designed to allow organizations providing services to returning citizens to answer such questions as:

  • Where are the incarcerated returning?
  • What basic needs and services are located in these communities?
  • What are the gaps in services based on the returning citizens' needs?
  • What services can be effectively developed/implemented for that particular community?

Educate the Community

CSSCFI will educate the community about the research, stereotypes, and stigma associated with incarceration.

The United States leads the world in incarceration rates with more than 2.1 million citizens which represents 655 incarcerated individuals per 100,000 population. Incarceration has been the chosen response to all levels of criminal activity while other forms of rehabilitation and correction have gone untested. Clearly, the United States falls far behind other countries in the developed world addressing alternatives to incarceration due to cultural beliefs and conditions that exist amongst our society.

It is essential to raise awareness of the social, political and economic factors that perpetuate incarceration and its failure to rehabilitate and lower recidivism. Only through education and awareness can society begin to understand the impact incarceration has on individuals and community as a whole and change the widespread acceptance of incarceration as a solution to crime.