Supporting Successful Reentry
Every year, Washington state correctional facilities release over 7,000 people from the adult correctional system, and 550 individuals from the juvenile rehabilitation system. Of those adults who receive a felony sentence in Washington, 96 percent are released and return home to a community. Washington state is invested in assisting previously incarcerated individuals as they reenter back into communities.
To support successful reentry, the state focuses on providing supports in five domains: social support, housing, employment, education, and healthcare. The result of these efforts is not only a lower recidivism rate, but also safer communities and more engaged community members.
Housing & Essential Needs: Currently 8.5 percent of adults released are self-reporting as homeless. In addition to housing, access to food and other basic needs is necessary for stability during reentry.
Healthcare & Treatment: Proper healthcare for physical and mental health needs is necessary for stability post-release.
Education: Increasing an individual’s educational obtainment is a leading indicator for successful reentry and reduced recidivism.
Employment: Currently 40 percent of eligible individuals are employed within six months of release. Research has found that stigma associated with incarceration is a major barrier to employment.
Social Connections: Families, friends and mentors can be important sources of support during incarceration and the transition back into community.
- Governor Inslee signed Executive Order 16-05 to prepare individuals for release from prison by developing a web of supports across state agencies in the five essential domains necessary for an individual to successfully reenter society.
- Results Washington is coordinating a collaborative Reentry Results Team of state agency representatives to streamline cross-agency reentry efforts.
- The Department of Corrections prioritizes preparing individuals for successful reentry months prior to their release date. Juvenile Rehabilitation works with youth to prepare them for reentry as well as a successful transition to adulthood.
- Starting January 2019, the Department of Licensing is ensuring individuals leaving state facilities have a Washington identification card at the time of release, to enhance access to resources such as housing, employment and other services.
- The Washington Statewide Reentry Council, housed in the Department of Commerce, pursues legislation to remove barriers to the reentry process.
- In March 2018, Governor Inslee signed the passage of House Bill 1298 that prohibits employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position
- Offering work training programs and developing marketable job skills to incarcerated individuals at Washington State Correctional Industries.