A Sort of Homecoming: Incarceration and the Housing Security of Urban Men
39 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 29, 2010
Securing housing is the most difficult and important barrier to successful re-entry faced by individuals returning from prison. A safe and stable residence has long been recognized as a prerequisite for steady employment, access to health care and social services, and other aspects of individual and family functioning. Housing instability threatens to compound the legal problems of ex-offenders, and increases their odds of re-incarceration. Persons released from prison face legal, administrative and de facto restrictions on their housing options; however, little is known about the extent of their housing instability, or whether they face greater instability than do other socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. We analyze a longitudinal survey of urban families and estimate a series of regression models to examine the experience of housing insecurity among nearly 3,000 urban men, including 1,000 who have been to prison or jail. We find that men recently incarcerated face significantly greater odds of housing insecurity in the years following their release. Housing insecurities include serious hardships such as homelessness, as well as precursors to homelessness such as residential turnover and relying on others for housing expenses. For other housing outcomes, however, the increased risk associated with incarceration is not statistically significant. The increase in housing insecurity among the formerly incarcerated is tied to reductions in their annual earnings and to other factors. In particular, we find evidence of a link between housing insecurity and the deliberate exclusions from public housing supported by Federal “one-strike” policies.
Keywords: Incarceration, Housing, Social Exclusion
JEL Classification: I31, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation