Saturday, February 22, 2014

Making a Plan

I put together a very simple worksheet that I give to inmates at the jail to help them plan for their release.

One side has a list of general categories for them to think about and space to write down things they need to do. The other side provides slots for them to put their to do list into a basic time frame, with a heavy emphasis on the first 48 hours, because how they spend that time can make or break them. There are also slots for things they need to do, but not straightaway. That, hopefully, can help them feel a little less intimidated by it all.

Some of the inmates are going back home, and just need to figure out how to find a job. Many, though, face rebuilding major parts of their lives from scratch. I am always relieved when I hear that they will be picked up by someone supportive. Or that they have a place to stay even if it's temporary. Or that they have a bit of money saved up. Each of those things can make a huge difference.

Imagine, though, having only the clothes you were wearing at the time of your arrest, no money, only your jail release paper for ID, and having no place to go and no one to call (except maybe your old drug dealer) when the transport van drops you off downtown, late in the afternoon when everything is closing up. Or worse, on a Sunday.

Then figure out all this:

  • Housing
  • Food 
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Identification
  • Court orders/probation
  • Sobriety
  • Health/medication
  • Work
  • School
  • Debt
  • Relationships
  • Other

Overwhelmed yet?

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