Adjusting from the confines and habits of prison into the free world.

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.

Absolutely

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2018
7,305
2,071
113
#1
Does anyone know any books on how to adjust into society after a prolonged time in prison?

Or any expertise?
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
12,704
2,974
113
#3
Does anyone know any books on how to adjust into society after a prolonged time in prison?

Or any expertise?
Hi Absolutely,

As The Indian Girl said, I would suggest looking up as many resources as possible (personally, I would start online, because this would give you the most up-to-date information, as well as phone numbers to start with.)

I am by no means any kind of expert in any way, but I went through a stretch of writing inmates for about 8 years, and made visits to 5 maximum security prisons in 3 states. I am still in touch with one former inmate from that time, and we've been friends for nearly 20 years.

For the sake of his privacy, I will just say that he had a very long incarceration, but today is doing better than anyone could have ever dreamed of. However, he always had a different mindset, even from the time I met him. The whole time I knew him, he took advantage of everything they offered behind bars that would help him adjust. He took any job he could get, went through as many programs as they offered, and was always taking some kind of educational classes.

When he got out, the first thing he did was to start researching community resources. He went and spoke to people at these places, and was eventually able to find a program that helped him finish a degree in the area that he had started with in prison. He was able to finish school on a grant (no loans, no debts,) and today works both a regular job and has his own business. But he started working on his future from the very beginning, even when he had only been in prison a few years.

If the person you're speaking of is still serving time, I would suggest that they if they haven't already, to try to look into anything the prison offers that will help them build a skill base. My friend also found correspondence classes to be very helpful, though of course, they do have a cost (which is why he always had a job, often working 40 hours a week for $20, which was the prison's top rate for inmate jobs at the time.)

Even if all that person can do is attend chaplain services, at least it will give them some exposure to people on the outside. The inmates I spoke to said that having some kind of positive interaction with the outside world is crucial. Hopefully, the person you're speaking about has friends or family who are willing to write to them or even visit.

I am just starting to look into this organization, but I'm sure they would have some helpful advice if you contacted them:

https://www.prisonfellowship.org

If the person is still in and wants to start doing research, I can definitely understand why books would be ideal. I don't know of any off hand but I'm sure some internet research will turn up a few good sources of what you are seeking, as well as suggestions on how to get it to the person if they are still inside.

I know prisons can have some insane rules about what you can send one. I once photocopied a booklet page by page (and could only send something like 5 pages at a time) because the prison would not allow me to send the actual booklet to the inmate.

Best wishes to you and/or the person you are concerned about.

God bless you for caring about this person, and please keep us posted!
 

Solemateleft

Honor, Courage, Commitment
Jun 25, 2017
2,156
1,853
113
#4
Does anyone know any books on how to adjust into society after a prolonged time in prison?

Or any expertise?
Absolutely,
while I do not have direct experience or recommendations in that specific scenario - I suspect that much of this transitional opportunity might be similar to a person who is on a journey to rediscover and redefine themselves... If that is the case here (I am not certain, but just in case) here are a couple ideas...

- Myers Briggs offers a wide collection of opportunities for such an individual to learn about their own personality type (if self reflection is desired); could be helpful for recommended occupational interests; as well as provide recommendations for who people with other personalities tend to relate to theirs... We all need a 'Purpose' - Myers Briggs self assessment packages can serve as an initial step in peeling the onion back to self-discovery...

- Here is a book that can help an individual shift focus, acknowledge their struggle, achieve self-mastery, dignity and love as a means for Self-Examination... It's not about what others think - it is about what we think about ourselves that matters most...
"The Road to Character" by David Brooks...
"Self Matters" 'Creating Your Life from the Inside Out' by Philiip C. McGraw, PhD

- Similarly if they are having self esteem challenges:
"Change Your Thoughts - Change Your LIfe" 'Living the Wisdom...' by Dr Wayne W. Dyer

- If they are ready to begin developing a new Roadmap for their new transition:
"Start with the Vision" - '6 Steps to Effectively Plan, Create Solutions, and Take Action' by Steven and Rob Shappenberger
"Becoming Your Best" - 'The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Individuals' by Steven and Rob Shappenberger
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
2,104
2,257
113
64
#6
Whoops, I just noticed that @seoulsearch has already mentioned Prison Fellowship above :)(y)(y)

~Deut

Proverbs 13
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

1 Corinthians 15

33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.
 

Absolutely

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2018
7,305
2,071
113
#7
Wow,a million thanks!!!
So much to process here.
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
2,104
2,257
113
64
#8
Hello again @Absolutely, the two verses that I posted above were two that I used regularly when counseling inmates, particularly those who were about to be released. One of the biggest problems that newly released (former) inmates face is the very same one that helped to get them into prison in the first place .. the company that they keep (and these "friends" of theirs are most often the ones that they turn to not long after being released :().

As you can imagine, separating themselves from the only friends that they may have left on the outside is really hard to do, but hanging out with the same crowd that helped get them in trouble usually means that their newfound freedom will be short-lived. Parents can control who their minor children see, but once they turn 18 they are considered to be adults, so all you can do is try to encourage them and help them understand, and then hope/pray that they make the right decision this time around.

Along with that, I'd encourage them to move back into life slowly and carefully, and to make use of any help that is offered to them. They should, for instance, look for a job that they will have no trouble handling, no trouble doing well at (even if it is a bit boring at first). It's important that they sense that they can be successful in life again, because if all they do is fail at everything they try to do, that's how they'll end up seeing themselves, then they'll give up on life and get themselves in trouble again.

God bless you!

~Deut
p.s. - pray for them regularly, and have others do so as well (you can use our prayer wall here if you'd like to). And help them start to go (or go back) to church (if they are willing to).

Proverbs 13
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
1 Corinthians 15
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
 

stepbystep

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2020
613
486
63
#9