Check out Where ‘Returning Citizens’ Find Housing After Prison from Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, featuring an interview with GJP Executive Director Doug Ammar.
The Georgia Department of Community Supervision‘s Metro Reentry Facility (MRF) is highlighted as an “innovative approach” to addressing barriers for returning citizens. It is thought to be the first transitional state prison for individuals scheduled for release within 18 months.
GJP has partnered with MRF since its opening in May 2018. GJP provides legal services for its returning citizens to remove the most significant barriers to successful reentry.
See Stateline’s write up of the Metro Reentry Facility below.
The Georgia Department of Corrections may be taking the most innovative approach. In August, it opened the Metro Reentry Facility in Atlanta, believed to be the first transitional state prison for offenders slated for release within 18 months. “Returning citizens” receive intensive counseling, vocational training and housing support so they will leave with two things: a job and a home.
“One of our goals is: Nobody is released to homelessness,” said Jay Sanders, assistant commissioner of inmate services at the Georgia agency.
Before, many former inmates became homeless as soon as they walked out of prison, said Doug Ammar, executive director of the Georgia Justice Project. The group is providing free legal services for those enrolled in the Metro Reentry Facility program.
“They didn’t have anywhere to go,” Ammar said. “And the state system was like, ‘Good luck, we don’t have anything to do with it.’”
Now government officials are increasingly aware of the problem, Ammar said, and willing to take steps to ameliorate it. The shift comes amid a bipartisan push to change the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism rates by, among other things, updating sentencing guidelines, decriminalizing some minor offenses and raising the age of criminal responsibility.
Teresa Wiltz, Staff Writer
Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts