Your loved one who just got back from prison may find re-entering the community an exciting time for them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need support from the family.
There are a few things you might want to do to avoid the stress that might occur to you and your incarcerated loved one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your loved one’s reentry.
BE THERE PHYSICALLY
Being there physically when your loved one is released from jail is important. It shows that you support him and that you’re happy for his re-entry. You can meet your loved one when he exits the facility so he will not feel alone when he reenters the community. (Related: What Happens After One’s Release from Prison?)
As a family, you need to expect that your loved one’s reentry will be difficult for them for starters.
You can try to have realistic expectations for your loved one about life after prison. You can’t expect your loved on to just pick up where he/she left off. Try to be more patient when your loved one can’t keep up yet.
This will help you and your loved one avoid having arguments and fights.
SAVE SOME MONEY
Your loved one will need some time to get back on their feet, so don’t expect that they can do it all alone. It will take some time for them to readjust to the culture outside the prison and find a job. So, your loved one will need financial support for their food, clothes, and necessities.
However, it’s best to let your loved one know that supporting them financially is only for a while. It’s important to emphasize this so they will put the effort into finding a job and become independent.
EXPECT SOME CONFLICTS
Once your loved one returns, expect yourself to have some kind of conflict. Odds are you and your loved one might experience misunderstandings and arguments. Especially in the first few weeks, your loved one’s adjustments might not go smoothly. Remember, they haven’t had much contact with the outside world due to the lack of cheap jail call alternatives so they might find it hard to open up to you yet.
Just be more patient when this happens.
DEVELOP A PLAN
As mentioned, your loved one may find it difficult to adjust during the transition. So it’s better to plan ahead for the hard days, employment search, and any other issues that might occur.
FIND SUPPORT GROUPS
An incarcerated person usually experiences behavioral changes after reentry. Because of the environment inside the jail, they usually adopt the behavior of their inmates. (Related: How to Survive Prison: Survival Tips from Former Inmates)
Prison support groups will provide a source of friendship, stability, trust, and advice. This will help your family when the times get tough.
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN
It isn’t only you that you need to prepare for your loved one’s reentry, but also your children. Before your loved one returns home, it’s best to talk to your children about it.
You may need to explain to your children that their father or mother is returning home. There’s a chance that they have anger feeling towards their incarcerated parents. These feelings need to be discussed and let them know that there’s always a consequence for every action. You can also talk to them about forgiveness and how a person can change for the better.
These are the few things on how to prepare for a loved one’s reentry. How about you? What did you do to prepare for your loved one’s prison release? Tell us in the comments!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.