211885 Addressing Structural Sources of Risk for the Re-entry Population in Baltimore: A Systems Thinking Approach

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:42 AM

Mike S. Bailey, MA , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Description: The recognition that housing is a pre-condition for effectively assisting homeless re-entry population who are vulnerable to Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS has led to recommendations that emphasize the need for housing strategies for both prevention and treatment. Stable housing removes the homeless re-entry population from exposure to the conditions and lifestyles, which are conducive to Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS. The overall program goal is to provide members of the minority re-entry population with a secure and supportive environment, from which they can assess their work skills, find immediate short-term employment and housing. In a pilot study service providers ensured that participants have secure housing and opportunities for immediate employment providing a secure basis for resettling in their community and avoiding a return to prison.

Methods: Structural relationships, represented by a weak system for reentry support, deny basic rights and benefits of ex-offenders limiting their ability to effectively re-settle in their communities. Systems thinking is applied as a tool for analyzing the problems due to the outcomes of these structural relationships.

Conclusion: In the pilot study ex-offenders that participated in the program were retrained in home construction and rehabilitated an abandoned house for business use. Over 70% of the participants were able to secure long term employment and avoid a return to prison. It is hoped that by expanding the program that focuses on reconstruction of abandoned homes that are within that same community a virtuous cycle of job opportunity, home renovation, community revitalization and better health outcomes can be generated.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the causes of persistent recidivism 2. Demonstrate how systems thinking can be used to understand why reentry programs continue to fail and the points of leverage where program success is possible.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 10 years of involvement with systems thinking
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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