MUST BE 18 OR OLDER - MUST READ TERMS OF SERVICE You Are On:  Reduce Recidivism
Know an inmate being released within the year who's in need of a job? We are working with employers to help find inmates work before they're released. Post a free resume for them here!

Top Ten Ways to Reduce Recidivism

Although WriteAPrisoner.com is many things to many people, our number one goal is to reduce recidivism – to help inmates readjust once they leave prison and become law-abiding citizens that lead normal, productive, and happy lives and never return to prison. With millions of inmates in America’s penal system, it is important to keep in mind that nearly all of them will at some point be released. What can one person do to help keep these men and women from returning to prison? A lot!

Here is a Top 10 list of suggestions. Some are proactive – what to do before they are released. Others fall into a maintenance approach – how to help them build productive, crime-free lives once released. But all are easy to implement, and together, we can reduce recidivism one letter and one inmate at a time!

1 WRITE A PRISONER…
Being in contact with the outside world fosters a positive, healthy, and hopeful attitude in inmates. Letter writing is one of the best ways to do this. Imagine – many of these inmates no longer hear from friends and family after they’ve been in prison just a very short time. Also, most inmates are incarcerated very far away from their loved ones. Visits and mail dwindle early, and in many cases end entirely within a few short years. Often family members feel so overwhelmed by the circumstances that they simply give up. Your positive, upbeat, encouraging correspondence can help fill this void and keep inmates’ spirits up – something that can impact their actions while incarcerated. How can your cards, notes, and letters promote “good behavior”? By encouraging a positive attitude, an attitude of realistic hopefulness, and the knowledge that someone on the outside cares. Believe it or not, your few words of sincere encouragement make a tremendous impact on an inmate. Start your search here: Inmate Profiles

2 SHARE SUPPORT INFORMATION…
Knowing which support groups and other resources are available is a reassuring safety net for released inmates. Many prisons no longer have the resources to support rehabilitation efforts. We have designed several guides that you can print and share with inmates who are seeking to be proactive in their self-rehabilitation. These can be found at:
WriteAPrisoner.com Self-Help and include Credit Repair, Parenting from Prison, etc. Repairing credit and promoting better parenting are two positives for inmates and promote self-responsibility, a characteristic that will serve them well upon release. Some prisons offer support groups, and you should encourage your pen-pal to join these when appropriate. Once you know the geographic region in which your pen-pal plans to reside, you can research possible support groups and other resources there. These might include Alcoholics Anonymous, religious organizations, etc. If the released inmate is facing a difficult time, having a solid, safe support group can make all the difference in preventing recidivism. For example, in one of our Self-Help guides, we encourage you to compile a list of resources with contact information to send to your inmate just before his/her release.

3 EDUCATE…
Inmates that serve longer sentences tend to be far less educated than those that serve shorter sentences. We offer Books Behind Bars as a step in the direction of education along with Back to School: Education Opportunities for Inmates, a self-help guide for inmates who are seeking educational advancement while incarcerated. Educating inmates before releasing them back into society is essential to reduce their likelihood of recidivating. Some prisons do provide educational opportunities for inmates, but many institutions need educational materials. Whichever is the case in your pen-pal’s institution, strongly encourage him/her to make use of any educational opportunities available, or to have their education personnel contact us if materials are needed. If there are no educational opportunities within the institution, help by researching correspondence courses, etc. that the inmate can use. Many inmates have earned college degrees while serving out their sentences. Encourage your pen-pals to do the same. And to be truly proactive, let’s work on keeping people out of prison. Volunteer with your local literacy council or other agency to tutor illiterate adults. The correlation between illiteracy rates and incarceration rates is frightening and real. Promoting literacy promotes good citizenship. Print our Books Behind Bars poster to display in your community.

4 HELP WITH JOB SEARCHES…
Having a job waiting upon release is an important insurance that an inmate can restart life with a positive outcome, and it is usually a requirement for parole to be granted. That’s why we launched Back to Work, our free inmate resume-posting service.  You can also work with the inmate one on one using our Back to Work Self-Help document with respect to lining up work before release by preparing clothing, transportation, employment leads, and much more. Suggest displaying one of our posters at your place of employment.

5 BE POLIITCALLY ACTIVE…
Standing up for the rights of others is a way to protect your own rights as well. Read the paper, listen to the news, and be aware of politically motivated legislation, human rights violations, unfair sentencing, and any other issues that further disenfranchise inmates. Many states have restored voting rights to inmates, due in large part to pressure from the community. A letter to your governor, senator, or representative has more impact than you might realize. A letter to the editor can reach thousands of voters and alert them to unjust practices. Be aware of what is going on, and invite others to join you in the political process. Print and display our posters in your community.

6 ENCOURAGE PLANNING…
A cramped cell and isolation may not be conducive to planning, but success does not happen by accident. We have created a "Welcome Home" guide to help inmates plan their reintegration back into society. Encourage inmates to dream, yes, but setting goals and making realistic plans are essential for any dream to come true. Many inmate profiles describe some lofty dreams, such as owning their own business, etc. Certainly dreams can sustain us through some pretty dark times, but no inmate is going to walk out of the prison into the lifestyle some are imagining. This takes much planning and effort on their part, and the first days and weeks upon being released are crucial to preventing recidivism. They need a thorough plan regarding living arrangements, employment, and personal relationships. They need to be thinking ahead and planning out their responses to dilemmas such as old friends looking them up. (Good influence? Bad influence?) Yes, dreams are healthy and necessary, but a pragmatic approach to “getting out and staying out” will come of careful planning. If the inmate has other healthy relationships (e.g., families) besides yours, encourage these. Perhaps now is also a good time for inmates to be making amends and asking forgiveness. This is a very personal area, and as you develop your own friendship with your pen-pals, you will have to decide what is appropriate as far as encouragement. But do encourage them to be realistic in their planning for the future.

7 MOVE FROM TOLERANCE TO ACCEPTANCE…
To truly accept others, faults and all, is a level rarely attained by most people. To merely “tolerate” others that are different from us – race, ethnicity, religion, etc. – is no longer sufficient if we really want to reduce recidivism. We must look beyond superficial differences and recognize that what we have in common is the human condition. For instance, African Americans are statistically over-represented in the prison system. If you are not African American, perhaps you are not comfortable writing to someone who is. However, these are the kinds of differences we must not merely “tolerate” but must “accept.” Educator James Banks has researched and written extensively on this topic. If you belong to a religious or civic organization (e.g., church group, Rotary Club), encourage your fellow members to explore this concept. You could a) sponsor a letter-writing event to inmates; b) “adopt-an-inmate” and provide him/her with books and other educational materials; c) sponsor a “birthday club” in which each month cards were sent to inmates… the list is long. The idea is to select inmates to whom you might not typically reach out. Consider printing some of our posters to display at the local library, churches, meetings and events. Moving from tolerance to acceptance can require a great deal of effort, but it is easy to start.

8 LINK TO US...
We provide links for each section of WriteAPrisoner.com (e.g., Books Behind Bars, Back to Work) that you can post on your website, Facebook page, etc. By linking to back to our site we can expand our efforts in sharing our resources geared towards reducing recidivism.

9 PREVENT CRIME...
A sure way to reduce recidivism is to prevent crimes from occurring in the first place. Visit our Crime Prevention section and share with friends and family. Awareness leads to proactive measures than can deter crime.

10 KNOW YOUR RESOURCES...
Whether you are trying to assist a prisoner or a crime victim, resources are available to you. Visit our Prisoner Resource Directory and Victim Resource Directory to find the resources you need to make a difference.



spacer
Visit our sponsors
Visit our sponsors

2000-2017 WriteAPrisoner.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Must be 18 to be viewing this website and have read our Terms of Service.