As men and women come from home, they will be met with an entirely new world. Whether one has been gone for six months or sixty years, they will face a society that makes it difficult to become productive members of society. For the over 2 million people currently serving time, it can be overwhelming and discouraging to start afresh. Unfortunately, many people who leave prison, after a year or two, find themselves back. There are many reasons why this happens, but unfortunately many people feel stuck in this negative cycle.
At TYRO, we hope to help men and women break those negative cycles and create a new legacy for their lives. In this article, we hope to share a few ways to avoid the pitfalls that can lead to recidivism and empower productive, hope-filled men and women.
Employment – Once a person leaves those gates, they leave one world and enter a new one. For many reasons, employment can be a real barrier to re-entry. For many employers, the lapse in employment, or presumptions made about re-entry candidates can lead to disqualification before they even have the opportunity. As men and women come home, it’s important to be prepared to share about your positive attributes (work ethic, jobs in prison, etc) to overcome any barriers or prejudice the interviewer may have.
Housing – One of the most ideal places for a person coming home is to temporarily stay with their family. This may not be ideal or possible for some, so the next best thing is for returning citizens to stay at a halfway home, or other community center. It is vital for men and women to feel supported in this new season of their lives.
Transportation – In society, transportation is a fundamental need. In reality, many people who are coming home either don’t have a license, don’t have a car or access to one, or are limited by their probation. This leaves many using alternative methods of transportation, or relying on old connections who may not be good influences in their time of re-entry. If transportation is a barrier, seek out legal help to cover fees or get vouchers for transportation. There are many nonprofits and resource centers who have resources to help with transportation barriers. Don’t let transportation be a barrier to re-entry.
Community Support – A community that can support a returning citizen will not only empower them to feel supported, it can create a safe haven by which they can grow, and become a stronger person. Communities of faith, social clubs, and alumni communities are just a few ways to help your loved one get connected and have real accountability in their re-entry journey.
Create a Vision – Coming home from prison is a moment that should not only be celebrated, it should be supported. As many men and women come home, they may not have realistic expectations. Creating a dream board and setting both short-term and long term goals provides a path forward into their future. To learn more about vision boards, read this article.
Barriers in Parole – Unfortunately, violating parole is one of the fastest ways to end up back in prison. From following the rules, curfew and maintaining a relationship with the parole officer and board, it can be a challenge to maintain. In addition, many times the conditions of one’s parole can create barriers to one’s re-entry. In reality, parole is an opportunity to show the world you are ready to make a difference in the world around you.
There are many non-profit organizations with resources to help men and women re-enter society. There are many who want to help returning citizens not only re-enter society but thrive in life. We encourage you to be proactive about your re-entry plan, get the right resources and build a support system. Re-entry is not only possible, but within your grasp.