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COVID-19 Survivor Impact Brief: Survivors with Incarceration Histories

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
4 pages
One in a series of briefs from listening sessions of victim service providers who discussed services for underserved crime survivors during COVID-19, this brief focuses on victimization survivors with incarceration histories.
The brief first notes that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people are at high risk for contracting COVID-19; however, they often have little or no access to reliable healthcare services. Many correctional and detention facilities are accelerating releases due to the high risk of infection in such facilities. Those released are returning home to face life during a global pandemic. They have little access to the support services they would typically receive during their reentry period, i.e., assistance with housing, employment, and transportation. This brief explores the needs of people with incarceration histories and creative solutions shared by victim service providers during listening sessions, strategy sessions, and conversations with newly released survivors. The brief notes that reentry and victim service providers are facing increased barriers to reaching and communicating with crime survivors; however, creative solutions are being developed. Community-based organizations have shifted to remote services, the posting of information on bulletin boards in local grocery stores, and setting up new hotlines and other phone services. Some providers are working with nonprofit groups and/or government partners to provide cell phones to former inmates. In facilitating such efforts, service staff have regular virtual team meetings to discuss how services to survivors can be facilitated during the pandemic.