The Future of Children blog recently touched on issues faced by previously incarcerated young men and their families. As noted in the Future of Children volume on Fragile Families, incarceration places additional strain on fathers by reducing earnings, compromising health, and increasing the likelihood of family breakup.
In addition to these barriers to re-entry, the latest research brief from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study indicates that previously incarcerated fathers are also at greater risk of experiencing housing insecurity such as homelessness, eviction, and being forced to move in with someone else due to financial constraints. A lack of stable housing complicates matters for recently released fathers seeking employment to support their families. Applicants often need a residential address and contact information when applying for a job. They may also be at greater risk of returning to jail if driven to sleep in public or loiter.
What can be done to help recently incarcerated young fathers get back on their feet?
The Fragile Families research brief recommends making educational and work programs accessible to prisoners prior to and upon release. Increased earnings may help ex-prisoners better maintain stable housing. As highlighted in an earlier Future of Children blog, some policies promote the hiring of ex-offenders by prohibiting questions about prior convictions from initial job interviews. Earlier this month, National Public Radio highlighted programs that seek to connect ex-offenders to medical treatment and housing. For more recommendations for policies and programs to help recently incarcerated young men, see the Future of Children issues on the Transition to Adulthood and Fragile Families.