Prison Skills Applied After Release

Getting out of prison and starting over is not easy, but with a little creative thinking, you can use the abilities you learned while incarcerated into useful tools for life.

Organization – Almost everyone who goes into prison comes out much more organized in all aspects of life. Whether it has to do with keeping things clean, remembering appointments, or figuring out the best workout method and sticking to it, you have learned to be very organized. Your family and future employers will value that positive trait in you. Develop systems to be organized during reentry and beyond, and things will go more smoothly in your life.

Problem solving – Prison was a whole new world, right? You had to learn a strange code of etiquette and learn it quickly. Living in close quarters taught you how to get along and stay out of trouble. If a problem came up, you learned to figure out a solution regardless of how limited your options were. This ability to solve problems is a huge plus in the job market. Stay aware of this part of your development.

Self-Control – The ability to control your immediate responses is a great skill to have. While in prison, you had guards say or do things that you felt warranted a response, but you knew to hold back to neutralize the situation Through this experience, you learned to control yourself and then think about the right way to handle a problem. Now that you are out, continue practicing that self-control so you don’t end up making mistakes that can cost you. Step back, breath, count to ten, whatever your method is, stick with it.

Video: Self-Control

Patience – If you learned anything by being locked up, you learned patience. Things happened on prison time, not your time. When you ate, saw a doctor, went to bed, showered and regained your freedom, you had to wait.

Physical fitness – Not all inmates work out and become physically fit, but if you are one who did, you can turn that skill into profit. Consider offering your knowledge as a personal trainer for people who want to get into shape. This can be a primary occupation or a way to save extra income.

News: Joey Merlino’s prison workout plan: “Get my six-pack back”

Negotiating – You learned in prison how to get what you wanted. Negotiation kept you going. The ability to negotiate will help you get started once you’re out. Whether it is trading lawn care for the use of the neighbor’s mower or getting training in exchange for some service you can offers, your ability to barter and negotiate will be valuable to you.

Final thoughts: Prison doesn’t have to be a waste of time. You can take what you learned and use it to meet life’s challenges upon your release.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.