Most of us imagine that prison life must be hard and extremely difficult to endure, but for many inmates, adapting to life on the outside can be that much harder. Inmates who have spent several years in prison learn to adapt to the way of life behind bars. Much of their time is structured, as they are told when they can eat, sleep, work, bathe, and exercise. Life outside of prison isn’t as strictly structured, which can be difficult for some people to adapt to after all that time incarcerated. It is often that feeling of frustration and hopelessness after release that leads many ex-cons to end up right back where they started.
The first thing that inmates need to try and sort out when they get released is a place to live. It’s a good idea to contact family and friends to see if they will give them a place to live until they find their feet financially. One thing that they really have to pay attention to when asking for help like that, is to make sure that they are not entering a home where behavior such as violence or drug use is common. Being put in a space like that can often lead to problems that will once again lead directly to the front gates of prison.
Money is more than likely going to be an issue, so it’s incredibly important that they take a position that will give them a regular paycheck, even if it’s a job that they feel is below them. Any type of job will help to build trust again, will add to their resume, and, more importantly, put money in their pockets so that they can slowly start to put their life back together again. Trust is an incredibly important issue, which is why it’s a good idea for former inmates to contact family and friends after they are released. This may be used as a time to apologize for any hurt that may have been caused, or even to simply let people know that they have a plan for the future, which includes not going back to jail.
Job opportunities may very well be few and far between, but the number of positions available can greatly increase by getting an education. Former inmates that are determined to stay on the outside are usually the ones that head back to school to further their education. Not only does it help in the search for work, but also in getting back into the social aspect of life on the outside. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and perhaps become part of a hobby group. Inmates spend so much time in prison with their head down, not making eye contact, they they have to learn and understand that on the outside they can raise their head to see the road ahead and have others see them as part of “normal” society.