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Barriers to Re-entry

barriers to reentry

When someone comes home from prison, there are many things that can make it difficult for them to become successful. From housing, to employment and other societal barriers, it can seem like they are coming home to a whole new world. If you or someone you know is preparing to come home, here are some of the things you can do to create a path that will empower them to have a successful re-entry. 

  • Employment Discrimination:
    • Many employers are reluctant to hire individuals with a criminal record, creating a significant barrier to stable employment.
  • Housing Challenges:
    • Ex-offenders often face difficulties in finding stable and affordable housing due to landlords’ concerns about criminal histories.
  • Stigma and Social Isolation:
    • The societal stigma attached to having a criminal record can lead to social isolation, making it challenging to build positive relationships and support networks.
  • Limited Educational Opportunities:
    • Inadequate access to educational and vocational training programs in prison can hinder an individual’s ability to acquire new skills and enhance their employability.
  • Financial Strain:
    • Many individuals leave prison with limited financial resources. This financial strain can make it difficult to meet even their most basic needs.
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues:
    • Individuals re-entering society may face mental health challenges and struggle with substance abuse. The factors can contribute to difficulties in finding stable employment and maintaining healthy relationships.


  • Lack of Support Services:
    • Inadequate access to support services, such as counseling, rehabilitation, and mental health treatment, can hinder the re-entry process.
  • Legal and Regulatory Barriers:
    • Legal restrictions, such as restrictions on voting rights, limitations on occupational licensing, and other legal barriers, can impede the successful reintegration of individuals.
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  • Family Reintegration Challenges:
    • Strained family relationships, coupled with the challenges of reconnecting with family members, can be a barrier to stability and support.
  • Limited Access to Healthcare:
    • Inadequate access to healthcare services can exacerbate existing health issues and prevent individuals from addressing their medical needs.
  • Limited Transportation:
    • Lack of reliable transportation can hinder access to employment, education, and necessary services.
  • Recidivism Risk:
    • The cycle of re-offending (recidivism) can be perpetuated if individuals do not have adequate support systems. Those without a support system can fall back into the criminal justice system.
  • Educational and Literacy Gaps:
    • Limited educational opportunities during incarceration may result in lower literacy levels, impacting an individual’s ability to navigate various aspects of life, including employment and legal matters.

Now more than ever, it is important to help men and women coming home create a plan to overcome these barriers. It will take a comprehensive and collaborative approach involving government agencies, community organizations, employers, and their loved ones working together to create easy paths to re-entry. Re-entry programs that focus on removing or mitigating these barriers are crucial for promoting successful reintegration and reducing recidivism rates. For more information on re-entry programming or equipping your loved one with character-based programming, check out