You Are Leaving Prison...Now What?

You Are Leaving Prison…Now What?

I want you to put yourself in someone’s else’s shows for a minute. Seriously…think about this. This is what a man or woman goes through when they face the reality of leaving prison….

Hypothetically…you have just served a 10-year sentence. Your contacts on the outside are limited. Maybe you had a loved one pass away and you have nowhere to go. Resources for housing are limited and you have to depend on the state to provide you housing. You have not been prepared for release. The prison “programs” are a joke. You do not know where you are going to work, live, or how you are going to survive out in the real world. What are you going to do?You are on probation or parole for an unknown amount of time. You owe restitution, court fees and fines. You do not have a car. Your use of technology has been limited because you have been incarcerated. You have some job skills, but you have not been able to put them into practice for a decade because you have been locked up. What are you going to do?

I ask these questions to those who have never been incarcerated because I would like to hear some solutions. It is easy to talk about the problems that exist within the criminal “justice” system, but solutions? Um, I’m waiting…These are just some of the problems men and women are faced with when they are released. I have just mentioned a few of the important ones. I haven’t even touched the fact that adjusting back into society is a major hurdle, if not one of the biggest.How would you feel if you were in this situation? Some have family (many do not), but even so, is it guaranteed family is going to be there for you in the end? How are you going to make it? Oh, let me remind you…you are only leaving with $25 dollars (maybe more in other states) in your pocket upon your release. You may or may not have identification and do you really know the process of getting one after you are released? You have to have proof of residence to obtain even a walker’s ID. The mountain just got higher and the burden even greater.

Around 94–95% of ALL returning citizens are going to be released within their lifetime…aka…they are leaving prison folks and these problems are what they are going to face…if not more. I haven’t even scratched the surface.So, let me know…what would you do? What are you going to do? What are your solutions. Don’t just throw out a few thoughts. Take the time to think about it. Scary, isn’t it? I am free and I get anxious thinking about it and I have adjusted somewhat out here. I had help but it was STILL difficult adjusting (I am still learning to this day).

Recidivism is a huge problem for men and women who have been incarcerated and it all hinges on how they make it out here. See the correlation? While many point the finger at “ex-felons” look at what they are up against when they leave. The playing field is not even upon release. Granted, the responsibility falls on the individual, but still…put yourself in their shoes.When we can discuss these issues openly, we can come up with viable solutions, but guess what? It is going to take ALL of us. The men and women who have made it have a duty in my opinion to give back to others. Share your experience with someone who is going to go through what you went through.Sure, prison conditions are awful and the treatment even worse, but the reality is, life out here is going to be the real challenge for anyone leaving prison. This is the true battle. Life is not easy for anyone out here…much more for the castaways of society.So, let me say this one more time…you are leaving prison…now what are you going to do? Thousands of men and women are thinking this exact same thing…their time is coming…