Life isn’t easy for people who have been incarcerated. There’s a definite learning curve when you get used to living on the outside again. Fight the stigma around incarceration and hold your head high as you rebuild your life. Learn how to get back on your feet after incarceration and empower yourself.
When you begin the transition from prison to outside life, a place to stay is going to be number one on your to-find list. Right after your release, you’ll likely transition to a halfway house as you get the hang of the outside world again. While you’re staying there, contact the local housing authority or a counselor from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You may be eligible for low-income or free housing.
Catch Up With Technology
No matter how long you were incarcerated, things inevitably changed on the outside. Advances in technology have replaced bus tokens and tickets with transit cards. Loose cash has mostly given way to debit and credit cards. If your incarceration date was before 2007 or so, you’ll have to learn what a smartphone is—and how to use one. Your local library is an invaluable resource; take advantage of their computers with internet access. If you need new tech skills and don’t know where to learn them, ask a librarian.
Search for Jobs
Partner with your local career center to get started building a résumé. Tailor your resume to the jobs you’re looking for and emphasize your relevant skills. Be truthful, too. The background check is an expected part of the hiring process, but don’t fear. Many employers are willing to hire an applicant with a criminal history. And if you had a job on the inside, whether in the library or kitchen, add it to your résumé and emphasize the skills you used. No matter what sort of jobs you apply for, make sure to stay clean and sober. A pre-employment drug test could decide whether you get the job or not.
Build a Routine
Keep your days scheduled to avoid getting restless. Plus, your time is yours again! You have the power to decide when you wake up, when you eat, and when you exercise. Make choices that are healthy and productive, and continue to make them every day. Your new habits will lift your mood when you remember that you made those choices for yourself. When you regain your sense of control and use it to better yourself, you’ll turn that corner.
Life after incarceration is no picnic, but it doesn’t have to be a minefield. Get started now—get back on your feet after incarceration and build a strong, bright future for yourself.