Returning Residents: 2 Challenges Faced By Newly Released Prisoners & How You Can Help

There are approximately 2.2 million Americans who are in prison and almost 7 hundred thousand of them are released each year. Since almost two thirds of those who are released are estimated to find their way back into incarceration within three years of getting their freedom, it's likely that they face some amount of difficulty in finding their place in the outside world.

This difficulty can possibly be compounded by the amount of time they have been incarcerated and the fact that an estimated 56 percent of them have some form of mental illness.

If you have a relative or friend who has had to spend some time in the prison system, here are some challenges that they face and ways that you can help them make a smoother transition.

Help Them Adjust to Living Independently

Ex-convicts who have been locked up for a number of years have spent a lot time being assessed by how well they learn to do what they are told. Many of them have developed learned behaviors of not trusting those around them due to the violent nature of prisons. When they are released these issues can often become a problem because they are expected to make myriad independent decisions on a daily basis and suddenly expected to let their guards down in dealing with regular citizens.

To provide the right kind of assistance for better transition into society, you can help your relative find stability by getting a job that will put them on the path to financial independence. You can also either give them a place to stay or help them to find one and help to provide them with access to healthcare for their mental issues or drug problems (if applicable).

Finally, you can participate in mentoring as it is estimated that this results in them taking 30 percent longer to get re-incarcerated and usually involved in less violent crimes. 

Tap into Their Skills

When a prisoner is released from prison it can be quite easy for them to ease back into the kind of life and the friends they used to know. In order to help them make better choices and improve their chances of staying rehabilitated, they need to learn certain life skills.

Decision making, assertiveness, coping strategies are not skills that are necessarily valued while in prison and many inmates are estimated to have had issues with these concepts before being incarcerated. These life skills are needed if they are to become successfully integrated into the society.

It is possible to find support groups from churches or community based groups that would be able to assist your friend or relative in learning the life skills necessary for making quality life after lockup. These places can help to teach important lessons such as interviewing skills, anger management, and relationship skills.

Another important asset for an ex-convict to have is the ability to accurately pinpoint what educational or vocational training skills they need to acquire to make their lives more fulfilled.  

For more tips and suggestions, consider talking to resources such as A Alpha Bail Bonds.