3 Ways To Help A Loved One Stay Out Of Jail After A Prison Sentence

Posted on: 15 January 2015


Picking up an adult child from prison can be a bittersweet experience for many parents. If you are in this situation, you may wonder what you can do to help ensure that your son or daughter stays out of trouble and has a chance to succeed. Statistics show that over half of released prisoners end up back in prison after only one year, but there are things you can do that might help your grown child avoid being one of these statistics.

Request a Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are commonly used with prisoners, and they are completed by experts trained in this area. A risk assessment is used to determine a person's state of mind, and to decide if the person is a risk to society. If the prisoner passes the assessment, the system will set the prisoner free, if he or she has completed the sentencing.

Your child will most likely go through risk assessments on a regular basis during the prison stay, and one of the tools used during this is counseling. Counseling is used to help prisoners work through their feelings, and to determine what is going on in the person's mind.

When your child is about to be released, you may want to find out what types of assessments were used, the frequency of the assessments, and the findings they revealed. This is a good way to judge how your loved one will respond to life outside of prison.

Avoid Enabling

One of the hardest parts of parenting is allowing an adult child to move back home after being gone for months or years, especially if the adult is just getting out of prison. As a parent, you will want to help him or her succeed, but you must carefully determine how to go about doing this.

You may want to seek advice from a counselor or parole officer as you prepare for this event, and you may even want to read books on this subject, or search for articles online. Anything you can do to prepare will help you know how to respond, and this preparation may also help you avoid being an enabler.

Enabling involves:

  • Making it too easy for a person to continue bad habits
  • Avoiding consequences of bad decisions and choices
  • Helping a person continue a destructive way of life

While you want to help, you must avoid enabling at all costs, and there are numerous ways to do this. One of the most important involves money. It is extremely hard for ex-convicts to find jobs, and they often end up without jobs because employers do not want to hire people with criminal records.

To help avoid enabling, you can take your child around to apply for jobs, and you can make sure he or she has a ride to and from work. The type of job and the amount of pay your child earns doesn't really matter. What matters is that he or she is working and staying busy. You should avoid handing out money to him or her, but you could offer a free place to stay while the child works to get back on his or her feet.

Require They Seek Help

According to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, released prisoners tend to do better if they have loving, supportive families; however, this is not always enough.

The term "recidivism" refers to the likelihood of a person going back to prison after being released. The National Institute of Justice records statistics for released prisoners and the odds are not in a released prisoner's favor. The odds are likely that the person will end up locked up behind bars once again, and this is why getting professional help is so important.

If your child will live with you, you will have some control over what he or she does, and you may want to require:

  • Professional counseling – Requiring this will help your child work through the feelings and challenges of life on the outside of a prison.
  • Support groups – Attending support groups is a great way for a person to talk about issues and struggles with other people that can relate.
  • Medication – If he or she is struggling with an emotional disorder, taking the proper medication will be essential.

Life outside of prison can be extremely challenging for a person, but you might be able to help. You can follow these tips to help your child after he or she is released, and you can even talk to a risk assessment expert about other things you can do.

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