The Challenges Faced During Reentry
Commonly known as offender reentry, the process of integrating individuals back into society after serving time in the justice system is complex. While successful transition back into society is the goal, it is not without many challenges. In this blog post, we will explore common hurdles faced by individuals attempting to rebuild their lives after incarceration.
- Securing employment is one of the biggest hedges faced by justice-involved individuals. Employers are often hesitant to hire anybody with a criminal background, which only contributes to the cycle of unemployment and financial instability. The stereotype of individuals who have been incarcerated, heavily contributes to potential employment opportunities and makes it difficult to gain freedom from the past.
- The lack of stable housing for those attempting to successfully reenter society is another great hurdle. Limited options are available because of many landlords being hesitant to rent to justice-involved individuals. This can lead to homelessness, strained relationships, and increased vulnerability to reoffend.
- Many restrictive policies and societal prejudices limit educational opportunities for returning citizens. New skills and knowledge are a great way to expand the employment opportunities, but they often prove difficult to gain for individuals who were previously incarcerated. Without those opportunities, there is increased risk of being unable to break the cycle of criminality.
- An extensive obstacle that surrounds justice-involved individuals is the social stigma that is almost automatically attached to them. Judgement, prejudice, and discrimination from society are faced by reentering individuals. This can inhibit their effort and desire to reintegrate into society and lead a better life. Getting over this social stigma requires action on both sides. For an individual attempting to reenter society, it requires personal resilience. For society, it requires a shift in attitude and treatment towards rehabilitation and an increased openness to give second chances.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Many of those attempting to reenter society after incarceration experience mental health and substance abuse issues in some capacity. Even freedom of choice can turn into a daunting task in society when not properly addressed. Recognizing the mental health and substance abuse needs to returning citizens is crucial to their success in trying to reenter society.
Individuals face many different complex challenges when reintegrating. Society as a whole is charged with putting in the work to dismantle these barriers that hinder the progress and success of the formerly incarcerated. A more equitable society for justice-involved individuals can be paved with emphasis of support and the importance of rehabilitation, education, and second chances.
For more about GLRC’s OS Reentry Services click the link below.