The US incarcerates more individuals than any other country. Black people and other people of color are incarcerated at higher rates than white people. Nearly 700,000 people are released from prisons and jails each year. The lives of those who cycle in and out of prison are constantly disrupted.
Individual, financial, and societal costs are enormous. Many of these individuals leave prison hoping their punishment has ended, only to encounter a combination of laws, rules, biases, racial discrimination, and collateral consequences forming barriers that block them from jobs, housing, and equitable participation in political, economic, social, and cultural life. Three-quarters of these individuals have a history of substance use, and more than one-third have a physical or mental disorder.