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When women and men leave prison and go back to their homes, they experience a number of challenges, such as finding job opportunities, avoiding criminal behaviors, and ensuring stabilized living arrangements. Their success will be determined by the distinctive characteristics of the local community or neighborhood to which they return. While in the places to where they have returned, the outcomes of the ex-prisoners will be influenced by availability of employment opportunities, cost and availability of social amenities such as housing, health services and treatment of substance abuse. Lacking most of these requirements can bring about later recidivism.
Reintegration of the ex-prisoners is a very important role that is undertaken by a community to which they have returned. Likewise, individuals in the communities and families to which ex-prisoners return are faced with various concerns, such as fear of criminal activities as well as increased population on limited job opportunities, food, and housing. Increased rates of incarceration reentry of ex-prisoners in some communities may result into disappearance of traditions as well as higher tendencies of crime occurrences. Most of the ex-prisoners live with their family members once they get out of prison (Christy & Jill, 2005).
The returning prisoners may acquire more local support from their communities particularly when they are perceived as assets. But it is unfortunate that in most communities the returning prisoners are never viewed as assets because of the earlier offences they committed. Reentry practitioners and policymakers held that the returning prisoners act as a very important source of social capital to their communities. However, they came to recognize that, these returning prisoners could be perceived as a burden if the communities lacked sufficient resources to enable the ex-prisoners acquire necessary skills to manage their transition. Neighborhood organizations help to promote the social ties of ex-prisoners to their community by offering needed services, skills, and opportunities necessary for local participation. The state functions such as parole and law enforcement are considered very important in defining reentry policies.
According to Travis & Visher (2005), in the United States of America many reentry programs have been established to promote thorough assessment of the released ex-prisoners. For instance, in the state of Illinois an initiative called "Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Grantee" was established with a target of releasing two hundred male offenders aged between 18 to 24 years , and ten juveniles aged between 14 to 17 years, into the North Lawndale community in Chicago (Shahidullah, 2008). This program partners with other service agencies to deal with substance abuse, recidivism, mental and physical health issues, reunification of families, mentoring services, job opportunities, and housing problems. The program is very important in Illinois because it has enhances thorough conversion of crime offenders into useful individuals in various societies (Shahidullah, 2008).