The ultimate goal of incarceration is to confine, rehabilitate and release. Preparation for release benefits the prisoners, the society, and the whole criminal justice system. It prepares prisoners to tune to life out of confinement. In the long run, preparation for release prevents recidivism and boosts public safety. This blog post articulates 10 practical ways to prepare inmates before they are set free.
Prisons provide food, clothing, and accommodation to inmates. However, such privileges won’t be available after release. Therefore, before you free prisoners, help them plan for these immediate needs. For example, let them arrange for their next meal, accommodation, transport, and clothing.
2. Rebuilding broken relationship
Rebuilding broken relationships helps return citizens successfully reenter the society. This may involve tackling the harm that victims underwent. Involve a skilled mediator to preside over the relationship-building meetings.
3. Find resources
There are a few organizations that fund and support return citizens. Help the inmates apply for resources from government agencies, churches, NGOs, and so forth. Educate the prisoners on how to use, location of the organizations, opening hours, and qualifications.
4. Support communities
Support is essential for former convicts to rejoin the society quickly. Faith-based organizations play an indispensable role in providing moral support. Connect the prisoners with a support group that will be a source of encouragement and inspiration.
5. Reconcile with families
Before you release the prisoners, tell them to connect with their families. Families offer a good shoulder to lean on when you are at your lowest moment. Allow the prisoners to call, text, or write letters seeking reunions with their families.
6 .Look for mentors
Returning citizens need mentorship during the reentry period. Look for mentors to guide, assist, and advise the released as they reintegrate into the society.
7. Find help
Just like any other person, prisoners get sick and require assistance. Some suffer from addiction, substance abuse, mental illnesses, and other conditions that need special attendance. Help the the physically and mentally ill prisoners get treated before their release.
8. Avoid falling into trouble
After release, ex-convicts can easily fall into trouble, unlike in prison. Teach the prisoners to identify and avoid situations likely to render them into trouble. Let the prisoners learn to associate with family and friends who are less likely to put them into trouble.
9. Identify strengths and weaknesses
Help prisoners identify their strengths and weaknesses and use them to work out a reentry strategy. These strengths and weaknesses can be on spirituality, skills, work history, addiction, substance use, and so forth.
10. Serve the community
One of the easiest ways to reintegrate into the society is through serving the community. So let the ex-convicts join a charitable organization and serve the community as they search for jobs.