Below are some tools to help you reach your educational goals.
High School Equivalency Diploma: Depending on where you live, you will need to take either the GED® test or HiSET® exam. Many programs offer free or low-cost classes. Learn more.
Trade Programs: Looking to complete a trade program to get licensed or certified, click here.
Adult Education Centers: Located in various places such as libraries, high schools, and community colleges, adult education centers offer a wide range of courses. Plus, training at these centers is often free of charge. Learn more.
Email is a free and reliable form of communication that enables you to send and receive information in letter format, including documents, photos, and videos.
Service Providers: Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Outlook provide free email services.
Internet: You will need an internet/Wi-Fi connection to access your email from a computer or phone. If you do not have your own Wi-Fi, libraries offer free internet as well as computers for use.
Choosing a Username: Be sure to keep your email address short, simple, and relevant. A professional address will help to convey credibility and trustworthiness, especially when communicating with potential employers. Example: [email protected]
Appropriate housing may be difficult to find due to financial or background requirements. Federal housing opportunities are available for low-income families, and halfway houses can help you through early sobriety.
Federal Housing: The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8, connects individuals with public housing and helps pay for rent. Check eligibility.
Transitional Housing: For individuals that struggle with substance abuse, transitional housing, known as halfway houses, provide structured living in a group setting. Find halfway houses near you.
Shelter Housing: Shelters offer temporary housing for individuals in emergencies such as a sudden eviction or domestic violence situations. Find local shelters near you.
Rentals: Rental sites such as apartments.com can help you find housing within your budget.
Identification documentation is necessary for most aspects of life—to secure employment and housing, apply for benefits, access treatment, and much more.
Birth Certificate:Contact the Office of Vital Records in the state in which you were born to learn about the process.
Driver’s License/State ID: A driver’s license or state ID are the most acceptable forms of photo identification. Learn what documents you will need, and find a local Department of Motor Vehicle office near you.
Finding a job with a criminal record can be overwhelming. Narrow down your interests with a career assessment, learn how to write a resume, prepare for an interview, and apply for jobs at companies willing to give you a second chance.
Click here for more information on how to find a job.
Records Pre-incarceration: Most facilities have a form you can fill out to request your medical records. If they do not have a request form, contact your last known medical provider by writing a letter, and include your name, social security number, date of birth, address, phone number, and the records you are requesting.
Records During Incarceration: This process and guidelines vary by state. Some facilities may charge you for copies of your medical records, while some will allow you to review your records, but they may not release copies, and some facilities may deny your request altogether. You will likely not be allowed to view your psychotherapy notes or your records if they are being used as a part of a trial or investigation. Ask someone at the facility to explain the process.
If you are unable to pay off your fines and fees, talk to your officer, judge, or public defender office sooner rather than later. If you do not have the resources to pay off your fees, you may be able to complete community service instead.
Apply: If you are eligible, you can also apply for benefits online.
Disability: To receive disability benefits, you will need to provide documents such as birth certificate, proof of citizenship, military discharge papers, or medical records. Review this checklist to ensure you have everything you need, then apply online.
Sobriety is one of the most important aspects of successful reentry, and oftentimes the transition from incarceration to the community can trigger a relapse. There are many treatment and support options to help you maintain sobriety.
Substance Use Providers:Find a service provider in your area.
12-Step Meetings:Find a 12-step program near you for a wide range of support.
Voting rights vary depending on the state in which you live, your conviction type, and number of convictions. Many states restore voting rights after prison, parole, or probation, but there are a few exceptions. Depending on the state, your voting rights might be automatically restored, or you may have to apply for restoration.
GEO Reentry Connect is a comprehensive resource for individuals who have been incarcerated. Find resources you need upon release from prison or jail–employment, housing, education, family services, treatment, and more.