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Center for Community Engagement

UCLA

The Barriers to Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Elderly Individuals That Can Ultimately Lead to Homelessness: A Policy Document Analysis

Abstract

Although homelessness, mass incarceration, and reentry to society are discussed in many different areas of research, there is little known when it comes to the effects that these issues have on elderly individuals. The barriers that elderly individuals face upon reentry to society are countless and the transition is far from smooth. This paper primarily focuses on housing, social security, and employment  policies. Public and private housing can be difficult to access due to required background checks and other factors such as loss of contact with family members due to long-term incarceration. Elderly individuals who spent most of their lives in prison may not be able to benefit from social security either. Additionally, employment could be difficult as well for those who cannot engage in physical activities and for those who do not have the technological skills necessary for non-physical jobs. Together, these findings suggest that the current policies make it incredibly difficult for elderly formerly incarcerated individuals to have any kind of financial cushion upon release, making them inevitably vulnerable to homelessness.

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