Release & Recidivism

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For the Day of Conversation - Release & Recidivism Release & Recidivism Overview, links to resources and conversation guide for the day of your conversation.
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We all want our communities to be safe and our criminal justice system to be fair, humane and effective. When formerly incarcerated people return to their communities without a safety net, their recidivism rates run well above 60%.  Some states have provided a safety net, such as job training, housing assistance, treatment for substance abuse and mental health and more, which, substantially reduces recidivism.  What is different in communities with lower recidivism rates? What are the costs and benefits of our current practices and what opportunities are there to improve our systems?  This conversation explores opportunities and obstacles to change with the goal that our community is safe for everyone.

Brookings article on reducing incarceration rates.

Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
A Living Room Conversation flows through 5 rounds of questions and the closing. During some rounds, each question will be addressed. In other rounds, the multiple questions are intended as conversation starters and you need only respond to the one or two that matter the most to you. In the event the conversation wanders off track, we will refer to this Conversation Guide to get it back on track.

Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
● What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
● What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
● What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
● What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country now and long-term?

Round Three: Release, Recidivism and Community Safety
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
● What is an appropriate “road back to success” in our community for people who have been convicted?
● If you or a loved one has been incarcerated, what did you/they need most (and when) upon release?
● Since jobs and housing, along with other support, are needed to reduce recidivism, what solutions would you recommend?
● Where is community safety and post-release programs on your top-10 community focus list? Why?

Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
● In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
● What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
● Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
● What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
● Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing – Thank you! Please complete the feedback form (attached) to help improve Living Room Conversations.