Dorothy Owsley spent years visiting jails and prisons to help inmates figure out their plans for re-entry into the community, and she frequently heard the same story.
“I heard a lot of ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anywhere to go. Where I lived before got me in trouble in the first place,’ ” said Owsley, 62.
That’s why Owsley said transitional homes play an important role in breaking a cycle that can end with those inmates back behind bars. She’s planning to turn a brick house in Roanoke, Va., into a transitional home for about eight area women released from jail or prison.
Zachary Hamilton, an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology and an expert in offender re-entry and rehabilitation, said research is mixed regarding the effectiveness of transitional facilities. He said that places focusing on a specific goal, such as addiction recovery or employment, tend to show more positive results. His own research has shown that a structured environment coupled with parole conditions results in fewer parole violations.