Panel: Post-Incarceration Housing Challenges and Strategies
(Crime and Drugs)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Stetson D (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  B. Danielle Williams, University of Southern California
Panel Chairs:  Jung Hyun Choi, University of Southern California
Discussants:  Michael Lens, University of California, Los Angeles

We All Want the Same Thing: An Organizational Analysis of a Housing Reentry Program
B. Danielle Williams, University of Southern California and Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Understanding the challenges faced by the formerly incarcerated and developing new strategies to address these issues is crucial for communities dealing with increasing numbers of affected individuals. Upon release, housing is one of the most immediate needs faced by the formerly incarcerated and is considered an integral part of the reentry process as it underpins other elements of a successful reentry, including employment and recidivism. Evidence has shown that unstable housing situations are associated with greater likelihoods of recidivism and non-compliance with parole (Geller and Curtis, 2011; Metreux and Culhane, 2004; Nelson, Deess, and Allen, 1999). However, the formerly incarcerated confront structural barriers that prevent them from reuniting with their families and accessing other forms of stable housing. Local governments are experimenting with programs to address these challenges, but these efforts are new and there is little research on their impact. 


The proposed panel features three papers that examine the impact of conviction and incarceration on housing instability and evaluate programs intended to reduce instability. These papers use diverse methodologies and datasets to look at various dimensions of this issue. We All Want the Same Thing: An Organizational Analysis of a Housing Reentry Program examines the implementation of a housing reentry program undertaken by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles with three partner non-profits. Using a collaborative governance perspective, this case study investigates why the collaboration was unsuccessful. Lifting a Burden for Returning Citizens: An Evaluation of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Public Housing Pilot follows formerly incarcerated participants who are provided with public housing or rental vouchers, which they are normally barred from. This paper follows the participants over a year, using surveys and qualitative interviews to assess the impacts of participation on housing stability, psychological self-sufficiency, recidivism rates, and other measures. Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 data, Housing Instability Post-Conviction compares housing stability among individuals with prior felony convictions but no experience of incarceration to those who have been both convicted and incarcerated. By focusing on convicted but not incarcerated individuals, this study disentangles the effects of conviction from incarceration in order to assess the independent contributions of discrimination and financial stability to potentially increasing housing instability. Together, these papers use rigorous methodologies to present a multidimensional investigation of the housing challenges faced by individuals with histories of conviction and incarceration and the programs that intend to assist them. The panel aims to foster a productive dialogue between the panelists and the audience regarding the context of housing instability among the formerly incarcerated and promising strategies to improve their housing outcomes.


Geller, A. & Curtis, M. (2011). A sort of homecoming: Incarceration and the housing security of urban men. Social Science Research 40, 1196–1213.

Metraux, S., & Culhane, D.P. (2004). Homeless shelter use and reincarceration following prison release: assessing the risk. Criminology and Public Policy 3(2), 201–222. 

Nelson, M., Deess, P., & Allen, C. (1999). The first month out: Post-incarceration experiences in New York City. New York: The Vera Institute of Justice.

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