Rebuilding Bonds: How to Support Your Loved Ones as They Transition from Jail or Prison
Getting out of jail or prison can be an overwhelming and emotional experience for anyone. For those who don’t have a strong support system in place, the transition can be even more difficult. As a friend or family member, you can provide a crucial source of support and encouragement for your loved one who is re-entering society after incarceration. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to support someone just getting out of jail or prison, including the importance of sending photos before their release.
Table of Contents
Listen without judgment
One of the most important things you can do to support your loved one who is just getting out of jail or prison is to listen to them without judgment. Your loved one may have a lot of emotions and thoughts they need to process, and it’s important to give them the space to express themselves without feeling like they’re being judged or criticized. Try to be a compassionate and empathetic listener, and let your loved one know that you’re there for them.
Help with practical needs
When someone is just getting out of jail or prison, they may have practical needs that they’re not sure how to meet. This could include finding a place to live, getting a job, or enrolling in healthcare. Offer to help your loved one with these practical needs, whether that means helping them search for housing, driving them to job interviews, or helping them fill out paperwork. Your support can make a big difference in their ability to transition back into society successfully.
Encourage healthy habits
Leaving incarceration and returning to everyday life can be a shock to the system. Encourage your loved one to establish healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. These habits can help them feel better physically and emotionally, and can help them adjust to their new circumstances.
Re-entry can be a long and difficult process, and it’s important to be patient with your loved one as they adjust to their new life. They may need time to process their experiences, and they may struggle with some aspects of re-entry. Try to be patient and understanding, and let your loved one know that you’re there for them no matter what.
Provide emotional support
Leaving jail or prison can be an emotional rollercoaster. Your loved one may experience a range of emotions, from joy and excitement to fear and uncertainty. It’s important to provide emotional support during this time, whether that means listening to your loved one talk about their experiences, offering words of encouragement, or just being a shoulder to cry on.
Stay in touch
One way to provide emotional support is to stay in touch with your loved one after their release. Make an effort to stay connected through phone calls, text messages, or visits. Your loved one needs to know that they have people who care about them and are there to support them.
Send photos before their release
Another way to support your loved one is to start sending photos before their release. This can help them stay focused on their goals and remind them of the people they care about. Seeing photos of their family and friends can be a powerful motivator to stay on track and avoid getting into trouble again.
Choose photos that are meaningful and positive. They could be photos of family gatherings, happy moments with friends, or even pictures of pets. You could also include photos of yourself and other family members holding signs or messages of encouragement.
Make sure to send the photos in a secure way that won’t get them into trouble. Many correctional facilities have strict rules about what can be sent through the mail, and that is why we show you the facility rules before you upload images to us.
Encourage education and job training
Encouraging education and job training can be a crucial way to support someone who is just getting out of prison or jail. Often, people who have been incarcerated face significant barriers to finding employment, such as a lack of skills or education. By encouraging education and job training, you can help your loved one develop the skills and qualifications they need to successfully re-enter the workforce and build a better future for themselves. Here are some ways to encourage education and job training:
Talk about the benefits of education and job training: Many people who have been incarcerated may not fully understand the benefits of education and job training. They may feel discouraged or think that they don’t have the ability to succeed. Take the time to talk with your loved one about the advantages of education and job training, such as better job prospects, higher earnings, and the ability to build a successful career.
Help them explore educational opportunities: There are many educational opportunities available for people who have been incarcerated, such as community college courses, vocational training, and apprenticeships. Encourage your loved one to explore these options and help them identify programs that align with their interests and career goals.
Provide support with the application process: Applying for education and job training programs can be overwhelming, especially for someone who has been out of school or the workforce for a while. Offer to help your loved one with the application process, whether that means helping them gather necessary documents or providing assistance with filling out forms.
Help them find funding: Education and job training programs can be expensive, but there are often funding options available for people who have been incarcerated. Research scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities that could help cover the cost of education or training.
Offer transportation support: Transportation can be a significant barrier for people who have been incarcerated, especially if they don’t have access to a car. Offer to help your loved one with transportation to and from classes or training programs, whether that means driving them or helping them navigate public transportation.
Provide emotional support: Pursuing education and job training can be challenging and stressful, especially for someone who has been incarcerated. Offer emotional support and encouragement to your loved one throughout the process. Let them know that you believe in them and that you’re there to help them succeed.
Everything mentioned in this article can be a powerful way to support someone just getting out of prison or jail. By providing guidance, assistance, and emotional support, you can help your loved one develop the skills and qualifications they need to build a better future for themselves and successfully re-enter society.