Prison Policy Initiative
In this report, the Prison Policy Initiative provides the first estimate of homelessness among the 5 million formerly incarcerated people living in the United States, finding that formerly incarcerated people are almost 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public. The Initiative breaks down this data by race, gender, age, and other demographics and shows how many formerly incarcerated people are forced to live in places like hotels or motels, just one step from homelessness itself.
The report highlights how people experiencing cycles of incarceration and release – otherwise known as the “revolving door” of incarceration – are also more likely to be homeless. Further, being homeless makes formerly incarcerated people more likely to be arrested and incarcerated again, thanks to policies that criminalize homelessness.
Our findings make it clear that the 600,000 people released from prisons each year face a housing crisis in urgent need of solutions. State and local reentry organizations must make housing a priority, and provide additional services thereafter – a strategy known as “Housing First.” If formerly incarcerated people are legally and financially excluded from safe, stable, and affordable housing, they cannot be expected to successfully reintegrate into their communities.
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