Family helps Ex-offender Return Home and Re-enter Society



Re-entering society after long-term incarceration is riddled with challenges. Those with a criminal history face many barriers to receiving public benefits, gaining successful employment, regaining custody of children and obtaining housing. Especially, a big portion of them lack of supports from families. Why is family important in rehabilitation of ex-prisoners.

Positive family relationships can promote successful reentry. More than half of all incarcerated persons are parents

  • In 2007, more than 1.7 million children in the U.S. had at least one parent in prison
    • Approximately half of these children are under age 10
  • Parental incarceration can cause major disruptions in a child’s life and cause stigma and isolation
  • Women are more likely to be the primary caretakers of their children before incarceration
  • Many children of prisoners are taken care of by other family members

A stable family life can provide an ex-offender with the support and encouragement to stay crime-free. But relations with family members are often strained due to years of criminal activity and incarceration. Program topics include:

  • How the stigma of “ex-con” affects the relationship ex-offenders have with their spouses, children and other family members
  • The need to learn constructive ways to deal with the pressure, problems and conflict of family life
  • Finding resources in the community to help deal with important issues such as guilt, anger, addiction and child-care
  • Personal testimony from inmates, ex-offenders, as well as people who work with them – counselors, teachers and employers

“Returning Home” Project

“Chicago Prisoners’ Experiences Returning Home” is part of “Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry,” a multistate research initiative exploring ways to improve reentry outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. The Illinois research has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.


Help Ex-offenders Return Home and Re-enter Society!

– by Xinru Liu


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