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In 2001, the Urban Institute launched a four-state, longitudinal study entitled Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry to examine the experiences of released prisoners returning to communities in Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. This research brief presents findings from the Returning Home study in Ohio, focusing on Cleveland and the surrounding area. The first phase of the study involved analyzing preexisting data maintained by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to describe incarceration and reentry characteristics (see sidebar "A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Cleveland"). The second phase involved interviewing male prisoners returning to the Cleveland area, once before and three times after their release (see sidebar "Profile of Study Participants" for a description of the men interviewed). In addition, researchers held focus groups with residents of three Cleveland communities home to the highest concentrations of returning prisoners, and interviews with Cleveland policymakers and practitioners are under way (see sidebar "Returning Home Study Methodology" for more details about the data collection and analysis). This research brief documents preliminary findings from phase two, the original data collection effort, and describes the experiences of prisoners returning to the Cleveland area in the first few months after release. A previous research brief entitled Ohio Prisoners' Reflections on Returning Home described the prerelease experiences and expectations of prisoners in our sample (Visher, Baer, and Naser 2006). This research brief expands on that information by comparing the prerelease experiences of those prisoners with their experiences after release. We present key findings on a range of reentry challenges and describe factors likely related to postrelease success or failure, such as employment, substance use, attitudes and beliefs, health challenges, criminal histories, and family and community environments. This research brief is intended to serve as a foundation for policy discussions about how released prisoners can successfully reintegrate into their communities, whether in Cleveland or in similar cities around the country. (Authors)
Washington, DC: Urban Institute
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