A cost-benefit meta-analysis on transitional housing for men leaving incarceration was released in April of this year by the John Howard Society of Toronto. The report examines Transitional Housing Supports (THS) for two types of prisoners: homeless ex-prisoners and those required to abide by specific conditions outlined by the courts because they pose a threat to society (known as the “810 Group”). The analyses of the two groups were based on financial and societal outcomes of men having THS versus those who did not.
The analysis finds that it is in the community’s interest to support transitional housing for released prisoners because transitional housing and services for individuals leaving incarceration maximizes economic benefits for the community as well as protection for society. The discussion also proposes that transitional housing helps ex-prisoners to take responsibility for their previous and future behaviours instead of returning to their former way of life.
The study was done knowing that one in five short-term inmates in Toronto’s jails are homeless, and that having even a brief sentence increases a person’s chances of becoming homeless if they were not before. As well, the chronic problem of individuals with mental illness going through the “revolving door” of correctional facilities and shelters was a key issue addressed in this analysis.
For Toronto Star coverage of the report, see “Housing for ex-cons: Spend a little, save a lot” at www.thestar.com. For the full report, visit www.johnhowardtor.on.ca. For a related article by the John Howard Society, see “Homeless and Jailed: Jailed and Homeless”, at www.johnhowardtor.on.ca.