Being released from prison can be an emotional time, not just for the person facing reentry, but also for the loved ones eagerly awaiting to see him/her. It can seem like a wonderful time because now the person will be free and you’ll be able to see your loved one more often, without anything standing in your way. However, this can be a very challenging time for both the person leaving incarceration and the family. There are a lot of changes that can happen over time.
There’s a different culture in prison. The lifestyle and rules aren’t necessarily the same as outside the prison walls. Not only will the person need to adjust to society again, but they face other challenges. If they were locked up for some time, they may find a lot has changed over time. It may take a while to adjust to all of this. It can also be a challenge to start life again.
When a person enters society again, it’s like starting all over, but with lots of hurdles placed in front of them. It can be very difficult for them to find a good job. They may get turned away for many of the jobs they apply for, as they try to find someone willing to hire them with their record. It can be hard to create friendships and reestablish close family bonds. Not only can it be difficult for them to feel close to their relatives, since they’ve gone through something most won’t understand, but they may face criticism from some people.
There’s an ugly stigma that comes with being in prison. People aren’t always open to giving other people another chance. When we hold onto the stigma attached to ex-convicts We stifle their opportunity to grow and have a free life again.
Holding onto this stigma, we make it harder for people facing reentry to live out their second chance.
If you want to provide support to your loved one facing reentry, it’s important that you are patient and understanding during this time. Be there for them, don’t be quick to pass judgements, let them know that you love them. Try to build open, honest communication between the two of you, so they feel they can talk to you. Let them know that you are here for them.
You can also help them, by being there for them while they try to find work. You can see about gathering clothes and supplies for them to get started when they’re released. Help them locate housing so they can have a home plan. It’s important to keep in mind, without a home plan, they may be denied release in the first place.
Another way you can help them is by looking into programs, do some research to find out what is available for your loved ones. Find out who hires others with criminal records. Your loved one may also benefit from talking to a professional to help them work through everything – their past and their present situation.
Reentry can be exciting, but it can also be very frightening and challenging. There are a lot of things that need to be worked out for your loved one to succeed and be able to enjoy life again on the outside. You can show your support by letting them know you love them and you’re there for them. Help them stay positive, by being a positive light in their lives.
You can show your support by letting them know you love them and you’re there for them.
[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]