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UTSA researchers embark on unique project to help former inmates

UTSA researchers embark on unique project to help local inmates

UTSA scholars will study effectiveness of local programs that help inmates re-enter society

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(July 21, 2016) — Michael Caudy, assistant professor of criminal justice at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and an interdisciplinary team of colleagues have received a grant to study the effectiveness of social services and resources that help jail and prison inmates successfully re-enter society.

Approximately 95 percent of all prisoners in county and state penitentiaries are released into the community. More than 600,000 individuals have been released from prison each year since 2000.

Many of these individuals, face barriers during reentry into the community, leading to re-offending behaviors.

Released individuals often lack access to stable employment, affordable housing, or mental or health care. However, resources exist across the country to help foster successful reentry. Bexar County is home to more than 100 such services.

Caudy, the study’s principal investigator, and his fellow researchers — assistant professors Rebecca Walter (UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning), Jill Viglione and James V. Ray (UTSA College of Public Policy) — will spend the next year working with and studying the experiences of approximately 40 local individuals who were recently released from the criminal justice system.

“The resources to help facilitate a successful reintegration exist,” said Caudy. He cites more than 100 different programs and organizations to help inmates reintegrate into society. “It’s just that we don’t know how effective they are, or the ways formerly incarcerated individuals view the resource centers. Our study is going to look into how these individuals navigate reentry and their reasons for using or not using the available services."

The researchers will examine the role of personal motivations, the surrounding communities and neighborhoods, and the resources themselves in shaping individuals’ reentry and reintegration experiences.

Walter, an expert on the geographies of inequality, will also study whether the geographical locations of Bexar County service and resource centers has a quantifiable effect on whether they are used by individuals.

“Elucidating the Mechanisms of Reentry” is funded by a $20,000 grant from the UTSA Office of the Vice President for Research’s Grants for Research Advancement and Transformation (GREAT) Program.

-- Jesus Chavez
Public Affairs Specialist


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Learn more about how UTSA invested more than half a million dollars to foster new research projects in the new academic year.

Learn more about the Department of Criminal Justice, housed in UTSA College of Public Policy.

Learn more about the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Learn more about UTSA Research.

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