Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Supporting Efforts to Reintegrate Residents Returning from Prison

  • Donnie W. Watson Friends Research Institute, Torrance, California
  • Winnie Tsai Friends Research Institute, Torrance, California
  • Victoria S. Chu Friends Research Institute, Torrance, California
  • Eugene Williams Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations, Los Angeles, California
  • Michele Mouttapa California State University, Fullerton
  • Aliya Asghar California State University, Fullerton
  • Michael E. Shaw Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland, California


California is experiencing an unprecedented influx of recently released ex-offenders from the penal system. Nowhere is this public health burden felt more than in Alameda County, where 16,800 adult parolees preside. The public health impact of ex-offenders has potentially serious social, political, economic and health implications. Faith-based communities in Oakland are an untapped resource that can assist in reentry efforts for ex-offenders and their families. In 2008, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) commissioned Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations Training Center (RCNO) and its local affiliate, Bay Area Action Council (BAAC), to survey 50 Alameda County African American faith-based organizations. The purpose of this study was to obtain baseline information regarding the feasibility of utilizing faith-based community assets to develop new public health strategies. The results of this descriptive key informant study indicates that faith-based organizations in Oakland have the potential to establish partnerships to improve the public health and safety of residents returning from prison, their families, and the communities that receive them from prison. Our findings indicate that 13 (27.1%) of the 48 faith-based organizations in the study have transitional housing capacity. The resources available and the challenges of maximizing faith-based organizational capacity are presented.
How to Cite
Watson, D. W., Tsai, W., Chu, V. S., Williams, E., Mouttapa, M., Asghar, A., & Shaw, M. E. (2008). Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Supporting Efforts to Reintegrate Residents Returning from Prison. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 6(2), 26-35.

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