Over 90% of prisoners return to the community

Reentry is an emergency, a bottleneck of poverty, and an opportunity.




In California, over 40,000 individuals leave prison each year. Less than 15% are picked up by friends and family. Most are provided only $200, and have to use this money to pay for clothing, the bus ticket home, housing, and other essentials. In the first weeks following release from prison, an individual’s risk of death is one dozen times that of the general population.

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Bottleneck of poverty

When someone leaves prison, they must reestablish their life by getting identification, finding housing, obtaining employment, and reestablishing public benefits. There are tremendous logistical, material, emotional, and social obstacles that continue to punish and disadvantage an individual who has been incarcerated. Of those that are rearrested, thirty percent are rearrested within the month following release.



Prisoner Reentry Network believes reentry is a leverage point for combating poverty. All our our resources were developed in response to conversations with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and address the practical issues facing people leaving prison. Prior to release, we provide information detailing how to get home, get food, find shelter, and get a job. This information is distributed directly to prisoners in print, orally in our programs, and online to the families of incarcerated people.

1. Nationwide, over 700,000 individuals leave prison each year, or 1,900 each day. Carson and Golenelli. “Prisoners in 2012.” Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. 2012.
2. Petersilia, Joan. “Community Corrections: Probation, Parole, and Prisoner Reentry.” Crime and Public Policy. 2012. 519. New York: Oxford.
3. CDCR cites a recidivism rate 63.7% in 2012. “2012 Outcome Evaluation Report.” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Office of Research. October 2012. However, recent analysis indicates that 2/3 of released prisoners never return. Rhodes et al. “Following Incarceration, Most Released Offenders Never Return to Prison.” Crime & Delinquency. September 29, 2014.
4. Binswanger et al. “Release from Prison – A High Risk of Death for Former Inmates.” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 356, No. 2, Page 157, January 11, 2007.
5. Stanford Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections. “The First 72 Hours of Reentry: Seizing the Moment of Release.” Stanford Law School. September 2008.