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Welcome Home Guide: For Inmates Coming Home

Part of WriteAPrisoner.com's Self-Help Series

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this self-help guide. We encourage you to print and mail to your pen-pals.

Welcome home! We are very happy to hear of your release. This is one business where seeing a member leave us is a happy occasion. However, it is an unfortunate situation when a former member ends up back on WriteAPrisoner.com due to being rearrested, and we sincerely hope to never hear from you under such circumstances. Our site provides a great deal of information for recently released inmates to help them get started with their new lives, and we encourage you to visit our website for more information on reestablishing yourself in the outside world.

  1. Completely familiarize yourself with all conditions of release or parole. Make note of all dates that require activity on your part whether it’s a phone call, visit or restitution payment. Be sure to abide by any restrictions regarding areas where you may frequent or stay. This paragraph seems obvious, but simple mistakes can cost you your freedom again. Stay on top of it.
  2. Get Back to Work. Having employment upon release is a statistical reassurance that you will succeed upon release. If you would like to place a Reintegration Profile for Employment at no cost on our website, visit http://www.writeaprisoner.com/back-to-work/ or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

    Reintegration Profile Department
    P.O. Box 10
    Edgewater, FL 32132

  3. Join our forum. The WriteAPrisoner.com Forum can be a great place to locate resources in your area. Our forum members can be very helpful. Additionally, we also would love to get feedback on how to better help inmates rehabilitate and reintegrate. Much of our site has been built around this feedback, and we would certainly appreciate yours. http://www.writeaprisoner.com/forum/
  4. Establish positive relationships. Think of churches, synagogues, mosques, volunteer organizations. Follow the arts in your local papers. There are always free and enriching activities available. Attend! Get a library card where you will have free access to the Internet, books, magazines, etc., Check for local sports leagues to become involved with. Visit state parks. Food is easy to grow, and it's healthy and keeps you occupied. Get a cookbook, and learn to make more for less. The point? Filling your time up with quality activities will help you avoid the pitfalls of falling back into old habits, which may have landed you in prison in the first place. It may seem odd going from a cell to a car show, from lock-up to a library, from prison to a park, but each new, positive experience will take you farther from incarceration and toward a future of liberation.
  5. Get the essentials. Visit Goodwill or the Salvation Army if you need help with clothes or household items. They are both affordable resources. Many churches offer free goods. Also try your local dollar store for affordable essentials: thermos, flashlight, jumper cables (if you have a car), supplies, etc. Microwave ovens are very cheap and an affordable way to prepare meals. A TV can often be obtained through charity groups, and it can provide entertainment to keep you occupied instead of relying on bars or old friends likely to get you in trouble. A cell phone is an important tool. Buy a calendar and make notes of all important dates. Be sure to address all issues mandated by parole or probation on the calendar. Make an emergency card for your wallet with contact information of next of kin.
  6. Line up transportation. Research your local bus schedules, subways, etc. Public transportation may be your only means of travel initially, so write it all down, keep it with you, and be prepared until you are ready to purchase a car.
  7. Incarcerated men and women who maintain contact with supportive family members are more likely to succeed after their release.

    Based on a 2012 article published in American Jails titled The Family and Recidivism

    Get to know your new surroundings. Make a list below (or ask a friend or family member ahead of time to do this) listing your local healthcare clinic, dentist, etc. Locate the local Department of Motor Vehicles (call ahead of time) and ask what you need to bring in to get a state ID card prior to getting a license. Be sure to identify and locate local law enforcement organizations that you are required by law to stay in contact with. Change your address with the United States Postal Service. Check your state’s laws and determine whether or not you can have your voting rights restored. If so, register to vote. Libraries provide Internet access for those who don’t have computers. Use Google.com/maps to print directions to any of the places you need to visit.

    Sadly, as you know, many inmates end up back in prison. You have much more control over this than anyone else in your life. It's up to you to stay out, and we have faith that you will. We hope that the resources provided here will help you reintegrate smoothly back into society and keep you on track to a bright future. Wishing you all of the luck and success in the world!

    Useful numbers and addresses (Include walk-in clinics, homeless shelters, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Red Cross, United Way, church outreach programs (food banks, etc.), unemployment office, Manpower office, parole offices, etc.:

    Contact 1

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    Contact Person Within Organization
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    Contact 2

    Name of Organization
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    Contact Person Within Organization
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    Contact 3

    Name of Organization
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    Contact Person Within Organization
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    Email
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    Contact 4

    Name of Organization
    Address
     
    Contact Person Within Organization
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    Email
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    Contact 5

    Name of Organization
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    Contact Person Within Organization
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Success story or suggestion? We want to know what worked for you so we can share it with other inmates.

If you have a suggestion to make about this resource, please do so at:

Self-help Suggestion - P.O. Box 10 - Edgewater, FL 32132 USA

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this self-help guide. We encourage you to print and mail to your pen-pals.