How to Adjust to Life After Prison
Whether you've been behind bars for a few months or a couple of decades, adjusting to life outside of prison is one of the biggest challenges you'll face. Addiction, even if you're already in recovery, makes it even harder to handle. Follow this guide to help make the transition as successful as possible.
Form a Support Network
Start by connecting with family members, social workers, community advocates and other people who can support your transition back into the outside world. Even if you lost a lot of relationships when you entered prison, you can build new ones that you can rely on. A support network is essential for avoiding the urge to relapse, both into crime and drug abuse.
Plan for Housing
When you're first released from prison, you're given very little cash and expected to stay near your probation office for months or even years. With only $100 or so in your pocket, it can seem impossible to start a whole new life again. Contact groups offering housing for recent releases in the area where you'll be serving probation. You may not be told where you'll be expected to stay until the day of release, so look for groups throughout your state or work with a group that has connections across the region. Staying with friends and family is a good idea only if they're not involved in anything that could send you back to prison. In many cases, a halfway house is a better option because it's a supportive environment designed specifically to help you adjust to life outside of prison.
Get Your Identification
You can't apply for government benefits, get help with staying clean or do much with your life after prison without identification. Start with a birth certificate. It can be difficult to track down, but if you at least know the county and state you were born in, many areas now allow people to request certified copies over the Internet without all the travel. If you're unsure where you were born, you'll need to pay for investigative services to track down the information. Once you have the birth certificate, request a Social Security card, then get a driver's license or state-issued ID. These steps take time and cost money you may not have right now, so be patient and seek as much assistance as possible with these steps.
Focus on Recovery
Finally, enroll in an addiction support group as soon as possible upon re-entering outside society. The stresses of adapting to an unfamiliar world can drive you right back to the problem that put you away in the first place. Staying on track with your recovery is absolutely crucial to establishing the new life you want.
Sitting in jail instead of prison and ready to get out again? Give us a call at Free At Last Bail Bonds for immediate help any time of the day or night.