You and your loved one are eagerly waiting for the day that they’ll be free. As much as you both hope and wish for that day to come, there are things you can do now to help better prepare. Taking time to plan ahead can help your loved one have a greater chance of success upon reentry.
When planning ahead there are several things to take into consideration. You’ll want to think about how they can build relationships on the outside and fill their time in healthy ways. Start researching groups or organizations that your loved one can be a part of. Find things that you think they would be interested in. You could look into church groups, local volunteer organizations, support groups for those with a criminal history, or other clubs they can be a part of. Finding these outlets can help them develop great relationships and even assist them in learning about helpful resources when they are released. In fact, someone in one of these groups may even know about a great job opportunity for them to apply for.
Speaking of work, you’ll want to start looking into what companies will hire people with a criminal history. Your loved one should set aside time each day to apply for work. Some prisons even offer programs that help individuals prepare for the workforce. You may want to work on drafting their resume ahead of time. You can also do practice interviews, if time allows, over the phone or in person.
Housing is another issue that your loved one will need to consider upon their release. It’s important to have a home plan in place ahead of time. Consider if someone in your family would be able to take your loved one in for a while, at least until they can get back on their feet. If not, look into other possibilities like halfway houses, shelters, non-profits, or other affordable housing options that may be available to your loved one.
Consider the financial needs your loved one will have when they’re released. It will take time for them to get established. They won’t have much when they reenter society. Start saving up ahead of time. Talk with your loved one about how you are able to help them, but also let them know that this help will be on a short-term basis. Make sure to set boundaries. Let them know that you’re willing to help as long as they are working hard to get themselves on their feet.
These are just a few steps you can take to prepare for when your loved one reenters society. It will take some time for your loved one to be able to establish themselves, but the better plan they have in place the greater chance they have to live a better life outside of the prison walls.
[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.]