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Creating a re-entry plan

coming home from prison

There is nothing you can adequately say to prepare someone to serve time in prison.

 The sights, sounds and smells are a unique experience unlike any other. As someone serves their time in prison, they will enter a new season that offers many unique challenges. One of these unique challenges is preparing for re-entry. If someone fails to prepare for their coming home properly, they may find themselves doing the same things that led them to prison in the first place.

What is re-entry? As men and women prepare to come home, there are certain things they must face. In a nutshell, re-entry is the months leading up to an individual coming home from prison

For the over two million men and women preparing to come home, the challenges can be completely debilitating. From housing, to employment, there are many barriers that make coming home a bittersweet experience. A successful re-entry will require intentionality and effort. This season prior to coming home is often referred to as “gate fever”. 


Despite the challenges facing these men and women, having a successful re-entry is not only possible but there are many resources that are designed to help. So, how can one prepare for their re-entry? If you or your loved one is coming home, we put together some resources for you.

Support System – No one should go it alone. As you prepare to come home, you will need support from friends and family. From community engagement, to building a network of people to help you, your support system is a crucial part of your re-entry plan. 


path to reentry

Accountability – Your accountability partner is someone who supports you to keep a commitment or maintain progress on a desired goal. This person is a crucial part of your re-entry process. From helping you stay focused, to holding you accountable, an accountability partner is an important part of every person’s re-entry journey. 


Rehabilitation – One of the common mistakes people make on their re-entry journey is not taking their own rehabilitation process seriously. As you prepare to come home, find a support group, program or club that will help you stay focused. Your own mental health and confidence is reliant on your ability to rehabilitate. This process will require healing mentally, physically and spiritually. 

Job Skills – Finding a job upon one’s return from prison can be immensely challenging. Not only can it be intimidating to seemingly start over, but often people find themselves in a position where they may be limited in their future opportunities based on their past. Fortunately, many businesses are open to retraining citizens. There are even many non-profits that have resources available to help men and women coming home from prison attain job skills and certificates. 

Financial and Housing – It has been said the first 72 hours is the most challenging for a person coming home from prison. From finding a place to stay, to getting back on one’s feet, it can be an immensely challenging time. As you prepare to come home, it is important to make a plan for your first 72 hours. There are many more housing options than you may think. Don’t forget to seek out the help of nonprofits within your returning community. Many organizations will have resources available for you. 

There are many state organizations and NGO’s who are dedicated to helping you on your re-entry journey. Regardless of where you or your loved one is on their re-entry path, it is never too soon to make a re-entry journey plan. Seek out assistance before you come home and don’t be afraid to network to build your re-entry journey plan.