NPR interviewed three inmates about how they straightened out their lives and reached several conclusions. It was striking how much the former prisoners relied on social services to transition to life after prison. Whether it was paying for them to stay in some kind of transitional facility or linking them with job and educational services, or mental health services, they all seem to have navigated the transition because they had a lot of help.
Each ex-inmate has a different idea of what success looks like. For one, it’s about getting an education that he believes will open up professional doors. For another, it’s about being a better parent than she’s been in the past. For a third, success means shifting his focus to others. Although all are committed to creating a new life, it’s clear that everything could go off the rails if they make one bad choice. One former prisoner used words and phrases that could just as easily have come from a therapist or social worker. It’s what she has to tell herself to keep holding everything together.