Reentry terms you should know

If you’ve never been involved with the justice system, you probably don’t know many of the terms that accompany the industry. To bring donors and industry supporters up to speed, reentry organizations like Hope2Hire have to educate supporters and followers while they educate students within prison systems. If you’re struggling to understand what reentry programs are and why they matter, learning these industry terms can help! Here is our reentry 101 glossary for followers and supporters. 

Jail – Jail is an incarceration facility where people are held while they await trial or once they are convicted of minor crimes. Oftentimes, jail and prison are used interchangeably, but the two facilities are different in most communities. 

Justice-Involved – Justice-involved is a way to refer to a person who has been previously convicted of a crime. Commonly used terms like “criminal,” “offender,” or “felon,” while true, can limit future opportunities for people coming out of prison. At Hope2Hire, we believe in second chances, so we choose to use language that is both accurate and leaves room for future life changes. 

Living Wage – A living wage is pay that allows a person to cover their essential housing, food, energy and transportation expenses. What quantifies a living wage depends upon the cost of living in your community. 

Meaningful Employment – A job is a job, but not all jobs provide the same pay and benefits. When people are released from prison, they face a number of barriers that require stable income to overcome. Meaningful employment is a career path that pays enough for a person to live in decent housing, cover transportation costs and meet their basic needs. Most often, this work is also fulfilling and requires specialized training that program participants learn during their time in Hope2Hire classes. 

Parole – Upon release from prison, many people are enrolled in parole programming. Parole conditions vary, but they often require people to comply with specific standards that help keep people from reoffending. These could include maintaining a job, meeting regularly with a parole officer, passing random drug screenings, etc. 

Prison – Prison is a long-term incarceration facility for people convicted of more serious crimes or felonies. Hope2Hire works with students in our local prison, Shelby County Division of Corrections. 

Recidivism – Recidivism is the act of committing a crime after you’ve been released from prison. 

Reentry – Reentry is a broad term that encompasses programming that prepares people for and supports people after release from prison. Reentry programs vary and can cover several critical need areas including housing, food security, education, employment, mental health, child care or substance abuse care. 

Rehabilitation – Rehabilitation is a goal for many people leaving prison who are enrolled in reentry programs. Rehabilitation is unique to every person, but at its core, it is turning away from criminal behavior. This could include making a number of positive life choices like taking control of your mental health or investing in your education as an adult. 

Transitional Housing – Transitional housing is a type of reentry programming that is growing in popularity. Research studies have shown that stable housing immediately following release from prison can change a person’s outcomes, and transitional housing is an answer to the housing insecurity many people face. 

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