Re-entry and Success

Developing basic life skills can make the re-entry process easier. The transition from prison to freedom can be a very difficult, but it does not have to result in a permanent barrier to success. Satisfying and enduring success is definitely possible. It will, however, involve great effort and an overwhelming determination to succeed – regardless of setbacks.

The desire to build a solid future and achieve enduring success is most important. Of course the firm belief that this can happen, along with the determination to do what ever it takes, is also important.

Reentry, felon, ex-offender and reintegratie may be terms used in the present. They do not, however, have to be terms or labels used in the future. You determine your vision for the future; and you decide what steps you can take to make it happen. In reality, your ultimate level of success depends on you.


Re-entry Realities:

Many companies will not hire ex-offenders. Accept this fact, but don’t get discouraged. (To get one interview, you may have to contact two to three times the number of companies that someone without a record has to contact.)

Expect to work harder just to be equal. Your skills must be much stronger than other applicants to receive equal consideration.

Develop basic life skills and additional work-related skills. Always dress for success.

Honesty is most important. In most cases, lying on an application or in an interview will result in immediate dismissal.

Do not, however, volunteer information that is not required. Keep discussions about your record to a minimum. Express regret for the past, and emphasize the desire to build a new life by developing skills and establishing a solid employment record.

Trust and respect will have to be earned and may be hard to establish. You will have to prove yourself over time.


Tips for making re-entry or overcoming a criminal record easier:

• Identify and address any other current barriers to success, such as addiction or other physical or mental health issues, such as uncontrollable anger.

• Acknowledge and use your AREA of Control to the best of your ability.

• Work on developing basic life skills. Stronger personal strengths will build self-confidence and character. Relationship skills can result in establishing quality relationships based on mutual trust and respect. And project skills can result in completing tasks quicker and more efficiently.

Create a long-term plan. Increase education level and acquire the specific job skills needed to implement the plan. (A resume that reflects recent education and skill-building shows a determination to succeed.) One long-term option might be to start your own business. But only if you are self-motivated, detail-oriented and willing to work long hours.

• Volunteer. It provides experience and also looks good on a resume.

• Explore a variety of resources for potential support and guidance: Local workforce or state employment office, Goodwill Industries, church, community college counselor.

• Start building a solid resume. If possible, try to avoid too many job changes. Construction jobs or temp agencies might be a place to start. A smaller company may also be more willing to take a chance on an ex-offender or felon.

• Accept and learn from mistakes and setbacks. Everyone has them and many cannot be avoided.

• Never give up. Giving up completely is the only way you will fail. (It might help to view re-entry as merely an obstacle that must be overcome, rather than a true barrier.)