Being released from prison is always a dream for those who are serving their time inside. When that day comes, they perceive this to be the happiest day of their lives. It should be because finally they can walk as free individuals once again. However, transitioning from being an inmate to a free individual is a huge challenge to any inmate. This is the reason why they ask themselves how to survive after jail?
With only about $100 gate pay to start his life outside, the reality starts to sink in. If you want to know how to survive after jail, consider taking into account the following tips:
1. Support from the family. Months before the release, it is essential to inform family and relatives about it. Family is an integral part in the rehabilitation process of any ex-offender. Returning to a home that is not supportive can create tension among family members and depression to a returning member. It will be difficult to survive in a home where an ex-offender cannot emotionally and psychologically acclimatize himself.
If there are no families or relatives, it would be helpful to arrange a hostel or lodging place near the area prior to the release.
2. Goal Setting. There are programs given to prisoners prior to their release. To survive after jail means to establish a plan to help the ex-offender get him back on track. There are courses that can be taken even while inside the jail to help an inmate develop his way of thinking and manners. This is done to ensure that an inmate can live in an ethical and legal way.
Constantly reading motivational books such as Purpose Driven Life can help an inmate find his purpose again in his life through spiritual enrichment.
3. Job application. Learning how to survive after jail should involve applying for new jobs. It would be great if an inmate goes out of prison with money on his bank account. If he only had about $100 gate pay, there may be a higher chance for him to resort to unethical and illegal ways of earning money.
Once released, the first thing an ex-offender needs to do is prepare for financial stability. Getting a job starts with job application. Some companies may surely discriminate but there are businesses that are open to hiring recently released individuals. Join a program that offers support and assistance to newly released former offenders.
4. Be positive. It is not easy to immerse a person imprisoned for a long time into the society again. A man locked up for 30 years will most likely find the outside world more complicated than it was before he served his time.
A number of former prisoners find it hard to return in a society where they are rejected and singled out. Be patient with the world and always look at the bright side. Take baby steps to changes and sooner the right doors will open.
Taking everything negatively will just end up in a possible chaos and disagreement which might not bid well for a former prisoner. The last thing you want to do is commit another offense.
5. Re-orient yourself with how things work. The world can change a great deal within a typical nine-year prison sentence. Anything that you see on television or on the Internet in jail cannot fully prepare you for some pretty surprising changes.
For instance, you may be surprised to find that many things that used to be done by hand are now automated. Even something as simple as placing a phone call or opening a car boot might be completely different from what you were used to. The location of some familiar institutions may also have changed completely.
Once you get out of prison, it would thus be a good idea to spend a bit of time how things work in the present day. If you aren’t too comfortable going into a shop to see how the new gadgets work, perhaps you can ask your relatives or friends to help you get your bearings back.
6. Learn proper anger management. Inmates who find themselves out of jail for the first time in years often find it difficult to deal with all of the bottled-up anxiety and anger. As a result, a lot of them get in trouble when they lash out at strangers for the smallest reason.
Bear in mind that the outside world is very different from what you’ve encountered in prison. Survival is played out on very different terms. Learn to deal with your anger in calmer and more productive ways. Meditation often helps, as does attending counseling with a qualified and trustworthy professional. Work on arriving at the realization that not everyone is out to get you.
Finding a proper outlet for pent-up aggression also helps. Go pump some iron at the gym or sign up for self-defense classes. That way, you can release your anger on a punching bag and learn some pretty useful moves too. If you want to expend your excess energy on something a little less violent, you can try training up for a triathlon.
7. Give those around you (and yourself) time to adjust. Having spent time in jail for years will inevitably change you as well as your relationships with those important to you. It may be hard to watch your son or daughter behave distantly towards you, but resist the urge to chase after them lest you end up pushing them away even further.
Don’t be too hard on yourself either. Rejoining society after doing time is never easy, and everyone has their own pace. Learn and adapt to yours rather than forcing yourself into things or activities that you aren’t ready for.
There may also be people who will prefer that you stay out of their lives, so you should prepare yourself for that as well. Acknowledge whatever pain it brings you, but let it go afterwards and move in with your own life.
8. Keep yourself healthy and fit. The mind is often in tune with the body, so you’ll have a better chance of staying sane in your new post-jail life if you look after your health. Eat a balanced diet and if you developed a pretty good fitness routine while serving time, stick to it or improve on it even further.
Surviving after jail is a great challenge but if the goal is to become an important member of the society again, preparation and the support and assistance from family and relatives are important.