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How the Pandemic Impacted Reentry Service Providers and the People They Serve

CSG | Nicole Jarrett, Rebecca Cohen: November 2, 2021

COVID-19 has impacted corrections and reentry in profound ways as agencies and organizations have suspended, pivoted, and adapted protocols and programming to maintain the health and safety of staff and the people they serve. In a survey conducted by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in June 2021, community-based organizations that provide reentry services across the country reported that while some disrupted services are now fully back up and running, many services are only partially operating at pre-pandemic levels or have stopped operating altogether. At the same time, in many areas, the level of need in the community is now greater. Almost three-quarters of 169 respondents reported that the people they serve have a greater need for support than they did before the pandemic.

These findings represent the experiences of a variety of community-based reentry service providers: in total, 194 people from community-based organizations that provide reentry services from all 50 states responded to the survey, including faith-based, grassroots, and advocacy organizations. These organizations provide a cross-section of essential reentry services, including employment training; housing; immediate support, such as food and transportation; mental health and substance use treatment; family support; and mentoring. About 40 percent provide services in urban areas, 16 percent in rural, and nearly 10 percent in suburban areas (the rest of the respondents provide services in more than one type of area).

The survey builds upon a CSG Justice Center survey issued in April 2020 to learn how the pandemic was impacting reentry service providers and the people they serve. These new results provide an updated snapshot of how service providers have adapted, where they continue to need support, and what new concerns have emerged as the field evolves more than a year after the pandemic began.

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