Gaining perspective: what it’s like for someone who’s released from prison

There are many that struggle to understand the complexity of being released from prison. If you’ve never been in prison or know someone who has, it’s hard to imagine what a person may go through. You think that release from prison means freedom and a chance for a fresh start. But those who have gone through this before know that it’s much more than that.

I’ve written a few blogs recently on reentering society because it’s an important topic. When people are released from prison, this really is a time to start over. However, the problem is that it’s not as easy as some may believe. In this blog, I want to take a look at some things that prisoners face upon release and the challenges that await them.

When a person is released from jail, they may not have any money to their name. They may not have a place to live or even a job. Can you imagine being put outside without any money, a place to live, or a job where you could earn money? What would you do? How would you survive? It’s not easy to create a new life for yourself when you have to start over completely. To make things even more challenging, most formerly incarcerated people don’t have access to modern technology like a smartphone or the internet. Think about it, we use these tools to search for jobs, to learn things, to find places to live, to communicate with others, and more. Without access to them, basic tasks are seemingly impossible.

Yes, there’s freedom outside the prison bars, but we need to consider how difficult it is to start over so that we can get past our judgments. It’s easy to pass judgment if we don’t have a full understanding of the obstacles others are facing.

Some of these people are blessed to have individuals in their lives to help them start over. They have friends or family willing to help them get the start they need so they can thrive. There are others who aren’t so lucky. This is where we really need to think about how we can improve prison reform and also make it easier for those being released to start over. We need to consider additional programs that can help formerly incarcerated people move forward. Employers need to be willing to hire those with a criminal background to help them get a fresh start.

What can we do? We can be there for our loved ones when they’re released from prison. We can also be advocates for prison reform and for programs that assist prisoners. We can be a voice for those that are behind bars and those who are newly released. We can raise awareness and do whatever part we’re able. Collectively we can make a difference.

[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.]

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