Jacobs says a person’s successful re-entry into society can be viewed through how adequately they are able to meet six basic life needs: livelihood, residence, family, health, criminal justice compliance and social connections. Those needs manifest differently, depending on the phase an inmate is in when they’re released. Jacobs breaks these phases down into three categories: Survival, stabilization and self sufficiency.
…But sometimes successful re-entry can begin with something as simple as giving a former inmate a ride.
Take the “Ride Home Program” from the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in California, which was recently profiled in The New York Times Magazine. It employs former inmates to pick up ex-prisoners on the day they are released to help guide them through the changed world.
ARC’s drivers spend all day with the newly released prisoners — they buy them food and some clothing, give them advice on finding work and getting a haircut, as well as help with calling family on smartphones or showing photos of family members on Facebook. In other words, they start to reintroduce them to the culture — and being former inmates themselves, they can deliver that message in a uniquely empathetic way.
…MacKenzie found programs at the time covering a wide array of subjects — from vocational education to electronic monitoring — and found no “single explanation” for programs that weren’t effective. But she speculated it could be due to something as simple as poor implementation. It also could be because the programs are focused on “punishment, deterrence, or control” or don’t do enough to change the individual’s thought process during the program course work.