The Detroit Free Press published the second part in a series on post-incarceration supervision this week—this one on the housing situations of many people released from prison and back on to Detroit streets. What they found, is that despite being told otherwise, many felons are living together. But, just how does this affect their chances of reoffending and is it something the state really should have a say in?
According to the Free Press, about 70,000 parolees are currently under supervision by the state of Michigan, and the majority of them are told not only to not live with other ex-offenders, but to not associate with them. For many, after being released from prison, this is a hard rule to stick by.
When you come out of prison, whether you served time for drug charges or a sex offense, your options are pretty limited. Though some offenders find the support they need from family, many don’t have this option. For them, finding a place to live can be difficult.
Group homes, the majority of which are privately owned, offer cheap rent and cooperative living that draws many felons in.
In particular, older homes with many bedrooms in less-desirable parts of town are being turned into informal post-release bunk houses, housing four to ten ex-inmates a piece. And while some think this could nurture a positive rehabilitation, that isn’t always the case.
For many, living with other felons means a greater risk of recidivism. After all, if you are a heroin addict and so is your roommate, and he relapses, it would be far easier for you to follow him down that path. But, in other cases, parolees can offer each other the support that’s needed during a difficult transition period.
Many times, support group meetings are held in the home and the parolees keep each other in line. Studies indicate this type of living situation is particularly helpful in the rehabilitation of sex offenders.
But, some of these houses are being bought up and rented out to the parolees by people who are in it for the money, not necessarily a sense of social responsibility.
When you come out of prison, or even when you serve probation for a criminal charge, your record can significantly impact your ability to find work, housing, and establish positive relationships. In these situations, the best possible prevention is to avoid a conviction altogether.
If you are charged with a crime in the state of Michigan, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and the legal options available to you.