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What Offenders and their families need to know

Preparing for Your Release: The Key to Starting Over

As a person who wants to leave your criminal past behind and rebuild your life, it is important that you realize that returning home to your community is a process that begins from the day you enter prison.
 
Begin preparing now. Put your time to good use.
 
It is up to you to follow the correctional plan that has been developed specifically to meet your needs. The Department of Corrections (DOC) will assign you a counselor who will monitor your progress in specific programs or treatment.
 
It is up to you to take advantage of educational and vocational programs that will help you after you are released. Talk to your counselor about a GED or college diploma, vocational training, parenting classes, basic life skills courses, and how you can get involved in other positive programs or activities within the prison. 
Returning home successfully requires work, but it will be rewarding.
 
For you to be successful when you leave prison, it is important that you maintain connections to your family, and/or religious or community organizations that are willing to assist offenders with reentry into the community. They will help you find solutions to problems and help you to live a safe and healthy life.
 
This network of support may help you find a place to live and a job, two very important parts of the reentry process. Employment will enable you to support yourself and your children, if any, and keep you on the track to a new lifestyle.

One such organization is WIC ~ Women, Infants and Children. Submit a WIC pre-application online. The WIC office closest to your family will contact you for an appointment and answer any questions you might have.
 
When you are released, get in touch with those individuals and organizations that you kept in contact with while in prison that can support your positive reentry into society. They can help you once you return home.
 
To help you adjust, get involved in local organizations. Find ways to give back to your community. Avoid individuals and organizations that will encourage you to get re-involved in criminal activity.
 
Your parole agent can help you and your family after you are released. Parole’s goal is to help you be successful. After you are released on parole, talk to your parole agent about your activities and get his or her support.
 
Remember - there are many agencies, programs and people waiting to help you succeed!

Parole Reentry Flowchart