Supporting your loved one’s post-release plan.

If you have a friend or loved one who is justice-involved, but preparing for release, one great way to support them is by investing in their post-release plan. Not sure what a post-release plan is? We’ll break down what it is, who’s involved and how you can help.

What is a post-release plan?

It’s important to note that every organization and person’s post-release plan will be different. But generally, a post-release plan is the combination of programming, literal actions and care a person will receive once they are released from prison. These plans outline everything – from parole parameters to drug treatment courses and where the person will find stable housing and food. It helps to think of the post-release plan as a safety net. Each component of the plan is one strand of the net that weaves together with the other components. The goal is to create a weave so tight that our participants can’t fall through any cracks during their reentry journey.

Are all post-release plans similar?

The quick answer is, no! Systems might use different curriculums to help participants build their post-release plans. And, every individual requires specific support, so every person’s plan will be unique. Our partner organization, HopeWorks, uses the Getting Ahead While Getting Out curriculum to guide our participants through developing their post-release plan. This curriculum encourages personal accountability and in the program, which can help drive reentry success. It also allows for modifications if our participants need additional or adjusted support upon release.

Who is involved in developing the post-release plan?

Post-release plans are tailored to the individual, so the people and organizations involved will vary. One person might require substance abuse counseling while another attends anger management therapy. Generally, the most involved organizations are your local department of corrections, support organizations like Hope 2 Hire, and the participant. But other entities – like physicians, therapists, counselors, probation officers, faith encouragers, among others – can be included.

How can I help?

You can best support your loved one by approaching their post-release plan with empathy. Start by familiarizing yourself with their plan and offering (but not pushing) to support them as they navigate the process. You may be able to help them by driving them to appointments, or by coming up with fun activities to do together. It’s important to listen, as many of our participants want to process their experience and feelings with their loved ones. Do your best to stay positive and not offer too much advice – oftentimes a listening ear is all that’s needed.

You can also help by being an advocate for change. Every person has vices, and you might be familiar with those that could cause your loved one to stumble during the reentry process. Help them stay away from temptations as much as possible, and be a firm advocate for change in their life.

Above all else, being there and demonstrating that you care is the most impactful way to support a loved one’s post-release plan. By investing in their reentry, you’re saying that you want the best for them, and you want to help them remain at home with their family and friends.

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