The task of preparing for the challenges inmates will face outside the "walls" of a correctional facility are a difficult one. A comprehensive, holistic approach to reentry planning is clearly the "gold standard". A critical element in the reentry process, and one we encourage, is preparation. Any services and information offered while incarcerated or upon release should not be considered a "silver bullet" to an inmates challenges. Success will take work on the inmates part and will require them to make some significant changes.
The community has a vested interest in their success and the Department of Corrections is willing and prepared to work hand in hand with them to achieve this goal by outlining available resources that can be beneficial to them upon their release. Believe it or not, it is never too early to begin thinking about their release. Whether they have days, weeks, months or even years in custody, they can start taking steps TODAY to remap their destiny and change the course of their lives.
As disheartening as incarceration can be on any inmate and their family, life outside jail is not easy either. Work, bills, housing, transportation, family and relationship issues, access to food and clothing, parenting, drivers licenses, faith based mentoring, medical care and a host of other obligations can sometimes feel like a different kind of incarceration! Ultimately, the more prepared they are to handle these challenges, the better off they'll be.
Among many resources (GED, work placement, career exploration and preparation), the department has designed a booklet that each inmate receives upon entry to DOC to help them take an assessment of the challenges they are bound to encounter upon release and unlock the keys to successful re-entry by providing them with some limited resources that may be helpful to them. Ultimately, the more prepared they are to handle these challenges, the better off they'll be.
As Director of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community DOC and on behalf of all my staff, it is our hope and mission that these efforts may lead to a successful, healthy and positive transition to the community.