Weak Support Networks

After release, you may find that members of your old support network, such as family and friends, may no longer assist you. At the same time, many ex-offenders are not sure where to go for assistance or who might be of most assistance in helping them get through their first few weeks and months of life on the outside.

Numerous government, nonprofit, and faith-based groups assist ex-offenders with re-entry issues, from housing and food to documentation, health care, transportation, and the job search. Some groups even provide job readiness training.

Communities with well developed programs to assist people with criminal records include New York City (www.ceoworks.org), Chicago (www.saferfoundation.org), and Baltimore (www.oedworks.com/exoffender.htm). The state of Texas operates Project RIO (www.workforcelink.com/html/rio/default_rio.html) to assist ex-offenders.

Nonprofit groups that regularly assist ex-offenders include Goodwill Industries (www.goodwill.org) and the Salvation Army (www.salvationarmyusa.org).

Public employment services, such as One-Stop Career Centers (www.careeronestop.org), should be included in every ex-offender's support network. The HIRE Network (National Helping Individuals With Criminal Records Re-Enter Through Employment - www.hirenetwork.org) provides information on supports in all 50 states.

SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds, The Ex-Offender's Job Hunting Guide (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications). Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.