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Supporting Returning Citizens’ Financial Health

Supporting Returning Citizens’ Financial Health

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are released from state and federal prisons and millions more cycle through local jails. Upon leaving incarceration, many of these individuals face complex financial decisions and demands without the support to successfully navigate them – making it difficult for returning citizens to rebuild their financial health.

How Can Public and Private Organizations Remove Financial Health Barriers After Reentry?

For many formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, their justice involvement doesn’t end when they leave the criminal justice system. That burden lingers, largely because of the numerous financial and bureaucratic hurdles they face upon reentry. These barriers make it difficult for them to obtain identification and access the financial services they need to get a job, find housing, and secure their financial futures. 

In this brief, the Financial Health Network and Financial Solutions Lab discuss the successes and challenges of several grant-funded pilot projects serving returning citizens. We also make recommendations for how funders, financial services providers, practitioners, and policymakers can:

    • Collaborate to improve the services returning citizens need to build their financial health. 
    • Provide support, guidance, and education to help justice-impacted individuals obtain identification and access financial services.
    • Make the banking system more accessible to customers with criminal records.

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