Love and Inspiration After Prison
Michael B. Jackson
Living Well is the Best Revenge.
Do Good, with Vengeance!
Copyright © 2003 by Michael B. Jackson
This book is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered. The publisher and author are not engaged in rendering legal or professional services and assume no liability with regards to the use of the information contained herein.
PMB #104, 621 Beverly/Rancocas Rd.
Willingboro, NJ 08046
Library of Congress Control Number: 2003090774
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of AmericaTable of Contents
About The Author 11
Author’s Acknowledgement 12
Chapter 1 14
Effects of the Prison 14
Chapter 2 35
Success After Prison Begins In Prison 35
Chapter 3 45
Loving a Felon 45
Chapter 4 53
Forgive & Forward 53
Chapter 5 59
Chapter 6 64
Chapter 7 69
Establishing Credit and Credibility 69
Chapter 8 73
The Conditions of Parole 73
Chapter 9 88
Parole, Your Man & You 88
Chapter 10 96
Chapter 11 101
Happily-Ever-After-Prison Stories 101
Happy Story #1 By Debra C. Jackson-Salaam 102
Happy Story #2 By Storm Reyes 106
Appendix A 114
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION STANDARD CONDITIONS OF RELEASE For U.S. Code Offenders 114
Appendix B 117
Federal Parole FAQs 117
Appendix C 134
Federal & Military Parole/Probation Agencies 134
Appendix D 137
State Parole Offices 137
Appendix E 144
ORDER FORM 144
How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for the Committed Man By Michael B. Jackson 144
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Serenity Prayer
It’s not easy loving and caring for a man who is in prison. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters, and other women who do. Sometimes known as the “Prisonwife” or one of the “Prisonwives,” she suffers in her own private prison while her only apparent crime is that she loves a man who is caught up in the criminal justice system. Never has there been a more under-appreciated, under-supported and generally misunderstood group of women. But, don’t feel sorry for her. She’s successful, strong, educated, intelligent, and law-abiding. She’s in control of her world and she’s able to take care of herself.
Then there’s that man of hers. He’s a convicted felon, in prison, on parole, probation, or other form of post-incarceration supervision. He has made a lot of mistakes in his life.
She longs to see him do well and succeed and she wants to take an active role in his drive for success. So, if you want to help her, give her something useful and effective in her desire to help her man get his head straight. This book was written for the Prisonwife.
This is not a relationship book, per se. You will not find secret jewels on how to make a man into a better lover, or more faithful, nor will you find advice on how he can secretly be molded into the perfect man. However, if a man does well there is a good chance that the other aspects of his life, including matters relating to his significant others, will also improve.
This book explores the reality of a man’s life after prison based on the author’s personal experiences and the experiences of other felons and their loved-ones. The author shares advice and insight to better understand a man’s transition from prison to freedom and more fully understand how she can be supportive and encouraging for him when he needs it.
Each man’s experience is different. It is impossible to even imagine the blizzard of challenges and obstacles both from external sources and those he creates himself that he will encounter in the days ahead. This book looks to highlight the behaviors and attitudes that are consistent in the lives of those people who make it after prison.
It would be nice if every man coming out of the prison could be successful based solely on the strength of the people who care for him and love him, but it is not like that in real life. In real life three out of five men paroled or released from prison on mandatory supervision go back to prison within twelve to twenty-four months of release. Many if not most of those men have loved-ones who have suffered, sacrificed and supported him for years waiting for him to come home, only to see him transform back into the guy he was before he “went in” and eventually wind up back in prison.
It does not have to be that way. The cycle can be broken. Many, many people with lengthy prison histories have successfully broken away from a life of crime and made their piece of the American dream happen for them.
Ultimately, the responsibility for whether one is successful or not in his life after prison will be up to each individual man. The people in the life of a man leaving prison can be a big influence on him, but in the end it will be the decisions he makes and how he deals with the realities of trying to make it in the real world that will dictate his success or failure.
Nothing will make a bit of difference if the man is not committed to staying on track and to doing what is necessary so as not to return to prison. The successful man has to want to do this for himself. He must commit to himself first before he can even think seriously about making any commitments to others.
This book was written as a companion book to How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for the Committed Man, by Michael B. Jackson (2001, JointFXPress). “Do Good” was written to assist men to succeed and prosper after leaving prison. The same things that a man needs to know about improving himself and his chances for success after prison are the same things his loved-ones need to know to help him achieve that success. Thus, much of the advice and information has been updated to enhance that success.
This book covers two primary phases:
- While a man is in prison.
- After a man gets out of prison.
The topics are in response to real email questions sent to the “Ask Shakir” advice column at www.Jointfx.com. Emphasis is focused on after prison issues, including relationships, adjustment, and parole.
Also included in this book are contributions from two ex-prisonwives, Debra C. Jackson and Storm Reyes. Each has found happiness and success with her man after prison. These women tell their stories and offer advice to others.
The information and advice in this book is intended to help someone inspire and motivate a man to achieving personal-growth, self-improvement, self-healing, self-realization, and positive behavior/attitude adjustments in preparation for his successful journey through the prison system and back to society.
About The Author
MICHAEL B. JACKSON is author and publisher of 2 books entitled, How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for the Committed man (2001), and How to Love and Inspire Your Man After Prison (2003).
Mr. Jackson, who spent several years in and out of prison before turning his life around, does motivational speaking and “Transition Readiness” workshops for prisoners, their families, and industry professionals. Mr. Jackson is also the founder of the very popular website, www.jointfx.com
He has been featured in numerous newspapers and has appeared on several national television shows, such as “The Iyanla Vansant Show” (ABC), “Dayside with Linda Vester” (Fox News Network), and “Comcast Newsmakers” (CN8).
A State Juvenile Parole Commission has employed him for 17 years.
I am extremely thankful and appreciative to Almighty God for all the mercy and blessings He has bestowed upon me in my life. I believe my faith and my personal relationship with God was a major key to my success in life after prison. It was important that I was able to recognize a Higher Power outside of myself to discover the higher power within myself. Through faith I found the inner-strength to hang in there when things got tough and the strength to successfully create a better life for my family and myself. It’s not necessarily about going to church and joining the choir. One must believe and have faith that God will come through for you as long as you continue to do the right things.
It is going to take all the faith and personal strength that a man can gather to repair, rebuild, and maintain his personal relationships with all the significant people in his life, such as his woman, parents, children, while at the same time trying to overcome his own personal post-prison demons.
Recognition and acceptance of a Higher Power than oneself is just as important to the woman as it is to a man. Lord knows it is going to take a saintly level of faith, inner-strength, understanding, tolerance, and love on the part a woman lucky enough to love a convicted felon.
Every man coming out of prison has a lot to be thankful for. Each has personally been blessed by the power and mercy of God many times in his life. Just consider the over indulgences and abuses of a prisoner’s past lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, violence and who-knows-what. The mere fact that he is still alive and in relatively sound physical and mental health is, in itself, a miracle. That alone, plus getting another chance at freedom after all the sins that he has committed in his past, proves that Someone or Something more powerful than himself has been looking out for his butt over the years.
Chapter 1: Effects of the Prison
To help a man succeed after prison you must first have a little understanding of how prisonized he has become as a result of the time he has spent incarcerated.
Today a man is likely to have been arrested and in custody several times before and have a lengthy history of alcohol and drug abuse. He is also more likely to be involved in gang activities and drug dealing, has probably experienced significant periods of unemployment and homelessness, and may have a mental or physical disability. A significant number of inmates will have spent weeks, if not months, in solitary confinement or Super Max prisons devoid of human contact and prison program participation.
Most everything about the prison experience is designed to drive a man to the point of hopelessness and despair. This way the prison-keepers can more easily control his mind, body, and spirit. The point is not so much to deliberately make a guy’s life miserable after he gets out of the prison as much as it is to control the prison population inside the prison. The prison is concerned with controlling the mind of the prisoner while he is inside so that he will give them as few problems as possible. If the after-effects on the man are harmful, that is not the concern of the prison.
What was your man’s prison experience? In his battle to survive in the prison, what compromises did he have to make in his mind, in his personality, and to cope? What are the after-effects of his years of incarceration? What habits or tendencies has he picked up that have become a part of who he is?
Violence, decadence and demoralization is without a doubt a big part of the prison culture. After all, it is Prison! However, despite what you see on HBO’s popular prison show, “OZ”, it is possible for a man to go more than five minutes in prison without being involved in a violent or sexual encounter with guards or other prisoners or being thrown naked into a stinking, dark, rat-infested solitary confinement cell.
To what degree a man becomes prisonized depends on several factors, including:
- How long he was in prison.
- The total number of times he has been in prison.
- His level of education and training.
- The level of educational/vocational training opportunities he had while in prison.
- His experiences and social interactions with guards and other prisoners.
- His status in life before he went to prison.
- His personal inner strength and commitment to overcome his situation and change his life.
The real test of who a man is and how the time in prison has affected him will not reveal itself while he is still in prison. The average man in prison is an expert at looking good. In other words he knows how to smile at the right times, say “yes sir” and “no ma’am,” at the right time to get what he wants. Also, life in prison does not have the regular stresses and aggravations of life on the street. The real test will be when he gets out into the real world and his “three hots and a cot” are not guaranteed every day.
Every man leaving prison will carry some after-effects from his prison experience with him after he is released. However, the average man’s prison experience does not turn him into a ticking-time-bomb maniac waiting to explode. Not all prison after effects have violent or threatening realizations. In fact some are comical or just plain weird to anyone outside of the prison culture. An example of common behaviors caused by after effects might include;
- Being distrustful and suspicious of everyone and everything (even of those closest to him).
- Recurring nightmares (about going back to prison, or of his life before prison).
- Fear and anxiety of leaving the house (fear that bad things will happen outside).
- Eating his food very fast (men in prisons have a limited amount of time to eat their meals before these are taken away and thrown out).
- Making a sandwich out of his food (makes it quick to eat).
- Sitting with his back to the wall in restaurants and other public places. (So no one can sneak up behind him}.
- Jumping when he is touched unexpectedly (especially while he is asleep. That was sure sign of forthcoming trouble where he came from).
- Paranoia and nervousness in public places (i.e., thinking people are watching or following him).
- Light sleeper, waking up at the slightest noise or movement.
- Insomnia /Pacing (he may not be able to sleep without the prison ambience).
- Difficulty adjusting to sleeping in the same bed with someone.
- Washing his underwear while he takes a shower/bathtub (you do not get washing machines in prison, plus it saves time).
My husband was incarcerated for seven years and was finally released on parole eleven months ago. We knew each other and dated on and off before he went to prison for embezzlement, but we were married after he was in for five years. He was always an easygoing person and our relationship was good, but it seem like he has changed a lot. For one thing he is more irritable and moody all the time. He gets frustrated and snaps at me when he is under stress. Whenever we seem to get closer he pulls back. I believe he loves me because he always apologizes later, but he really doesn't know how to open up. He says he can’t help it because he was ruined by the system. I know he has been through a lot and I only want to love and support him, but I don't know how anymore.
Seven years is a long time in prison and your husband is surely a different man now than before he went into prison ten years ago. He can’t help but be a changed man. That’s what prison does. It changes people. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it’s for the worse.
If for no other reason than to keep from losing his mind, every prisoner has to make personal adjustments and adaptation to survive his prison experience. Your husband could be struggling with the after-effects of his prison experience. It is going to take time for him to become comfortable in a personal, intimate, trusting relationship with you after being devoid of any meaningful human contact or interaction for all those years. However he needs to understand that he alone is responsible for his behavior and he must confront his problems straightforward.
Be a Role Model
A man’s transition from incarceration to freedom will take time. The quicker he makes that transition the better off he will be; however, it cannot be rushed.
Be a Role Model
A woman must be a positive example for her man to observe and emulate. He may not have a lot of experience being an upstanding, law-abiding member of the community. He may only know one way of solving a problem. Everyone is human and no one is perfect; however, try to practice honesty and integrity in how you live your daily life. The people around him must live upright and it may encourage him to follow your example
Hold him responsible
Do not allow your man to justify his behavior by feeling sorry for himself.
As in all relationships communication is key. Keep talking to one another. Once you stop communicating the situation can only deteriorate.
Seek professional counseling
Professional counseling, both individually and as a couple, can be very important. Counseling is recommended repeatedly throughout this book. There are many things for a prison-effected family to work out, both individually and as a couple or family. While he is still inside, encourage him to be involved in anger management counseling, if it is available.
Practice “Tough love”
You must stay strong and let him know that you do not intend to be treated like an ex cellmate and you will not allow him or anyone else to take you down to a level that you are not comfortable with. He must adapt his life to compliment your happiness as well as the other way around.
My husband shuts himself in the basement bathroom when we argue or he gets mad at me. He can stay in there for hours. It really pisses me off that he won’t come out and talk it out. What’s up with that?
In prison a man’s cell is his castle. His cell is the only spot in the prison where he can find sanctuary and have any semblance of privacy and ownership. When a man in prison feels as though he does not want to deal or just wants to be alone, he can escape into his cell. The front of the cell may be wide open, but cons respect each other’s privacy and they don’t look into another man’s cell as they pass by. If there are cellmates, he can retreat to his bunk (bed) to be left alone. Prisoners generally respect one another’s “personal space,” however minute it may be. Your husband appears to have relocated his castle to the basement bathroom.
Many times a prisoner learns to avoid problems and unwanted situations by walking away and going into the cell and removing himself from the situation. He can just not deal with it and shut down.
That may have worked in prison, but your man is going to have to realize that he is not in prison any more and that shutting himself up in the bathroom is not an acceptable way of coping. Like other men leaving prisons, your man has to understand that the avoidance behavior that was successful in the prison can be destructive and unproductive in the real world.
Because it is so important, proper self-preparation for anyone expecting to share a life with a person coming out of prison is mentioned several times in this book. Many times relationship problems arise or are amplified in and after prison because the parties involved are not prepared. If a woman thinks she knows a man, she will find out that she may not know him as well as she thought. Read and find out as much information about the laws and rules governing a convicted felon and how they will effect all the people in his life. Try to minimize the surprises.
My husband is coming home soon and I am really happy and excited about it. I’ve heard a lot about the problems in prison with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, and even parasites like body lice. I have been thinking that I would like for him to go to a doctor and get a physical check-up when he comes home. I’m talking about blood work, urine analysis, and the works. My problem is that I don’t know how to ask him to get an exam. I don’t want to offend him or make him self-conscious. He is not sick and has not shown any symptoms of anything (that I know of). Am I right to be concerned or am I just being too paranoid?
There is a growing epidemic of infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS in the prison systems and definitely a potential after-effect of the prison experience that can be deadly. Some prison systems vaccinate all men against infectious diseases. Some prison systems only vaccinate long-term inmates. Some states don’t vaccinate at all. Most correctional systems have extremely poor care and treatment programs for inmates who have contracted these diseases.
You are very wise and have every right to be “paranoid” and concerned about your health risks. You also not only have every right to ask him to get a physical, you have an obligation to make him get a physical. Not only for your sake, but for his sake also.
Depending on his age and how long he has been in prison he may be long overdue for a complete physical check, anyway. He should get checked for things like Diabetes, Heart Disease and Colon and Prostate Cancer (Let him know that they have a new prostate test that does not require the doctor sticking his rubber gloved fingers up the rectum procedure. Most men can be sensitive about that procedure). Unfortunately, the doctor will still have to go up there to check the colon. The good news is that he will be asleep for the colonoscopy).
Make Him at Ease
Maybe he resists or is little nervous Make an appointment for the both of you to get a check up together.
Educate Him and Yourself
Give him literature that explains the tests and their benefits.
Express Your Love & Concern for Him and His Health
Let him know that you are concerned about his overall health and well being, not merely concerned about whether he has a disease that he can pass on to you.
My father has been in a federal prison for three years. He is fifteen hundred miles away from where we live and we don’t get to see him much, but we write letters and send cards as much as possible. We (my mom and me) seem to write more these days than he does. He used to love holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and was always the one excited and making a big deal about everyone’s birthday. Since he’s been away he doesn’t seem to care about those things anymore. He comes home in two more years and I’m afraid prison has killed his spirit and enthusiasm.
A man who has spent considerable time in prison finds it difficult to get excited about, or even remember, little things that may be important to others in his life such as anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. Many times people around him misunderstand his behavior and believe he is cold, insensitive and does not care. That may be partially true, but he does not behave this way because he is intentionally trying to be cold or hard.
Many prisoners try to forget holidays and birthdays and other outside pleasures because they can be painful to him. Holidays can bring up memories of happier times before prison with family and loved-ones, memories he may be trying to suppress. Thinking about those things makes life in a cell that much more difficult, especially if he is not in contact with those loved ones any longer.
He will probably never be the same as before, but once he is released and is back around the people he loves, he can easily get back into the spirit of things.
Family support is important to a man in prison. Sometimes it can be the difference in how well a man can successfully and quickly transition back to the streets after he is released.
Keep Sending the Cards and Letters
Keep writing, even if he does not answer them all. Let him know that everyone is still thinking about him
My husband is in on a parole violation for leaving the state without permission. He was working, driving a truck and making money legally for his daughter and me. He drove over the state line to make a delivery, without telling the parole officer. His parole was revoked and they gave him six months back in prison.
I’m not sure about the state you are in but in Arkansas Prisons cigarettes and other tobacco products are prohibited and inmates are not allowed to have them. I think that is so STUPID because automatically it causes a problem for anyone who smokes. As I’m sure you know there are ways to get things in prison that are illegal if you really want it. He is a smoker and has been for years so he wanted cigarettes and he got them. Well the bad part is he got caught and he went before the disciplinary court. They gave him thirty days in the hole, which means no phone privileges or visits.
When he got out of the hole he called me to talk about everything that happened. While we were on the phone he mentioned that the guy that he had gotten the cigarettes from was giving him some heat because he had not been able to pay him since he had been in the hole. He asked me would I send the guy the money on the guy’s books. I said yes of course. I did not think there was anything wrong with it.
The next day I waited for him to call me and he never did. I really started to worry because he always calls when he said he would. The next day I found out that he was back in the hole for coercing me on the phone to send money for more cigarettes. He explained to them that he was just trying to get this settled with the other inmate and put it behind him, but they were not listening. They give him thirty more days in the hole for this.
I was shocked when I found out that the guards were listening in on our telephone conversation. I did not think anything was illegal about our conversation but the prisons can do whatever they want and get away with it. Anyway they moved him to another unit and took my visitation rights away from me because of the phone conversation. I think this is totally wrong! Now he is moved to a different facility and we can only communicate by mail.
Anyway, everything was looking good and we were trying to get excited about him coming home in a few more months when the craziest thing that could ever happen happened. Someone sent him some mail that had illegal drugs in it. My husband has never seen the drug or the mail that it came in and I know he did not have anything to do with it. He is not perfect by any means but I know he was too excited about finally working on coming home.
My husband thinks it was the guy that he owed the money to at the other unit. Which to me is not too far-fetched. My husband has done drugs in the past but I know he was not doing them now because of what has been going on.
They gave him thirty days in the hole again! The bad thing about it is that they said they think his wife (me) did this. I’m so mad because I would never do anything like this. They said because of the past experience at the other unit with the phone conversation they just figured it was me.
I’m not in prison and I know I do have rights and I’m just not real sure what to do. Should I get an attorney involved? They have not given him another charge but they gave him an institutional disciplinary charge. If he ever gets a chance to go before the parole board again and they see all this he will automatically get denied parole for a year or more. We have dealt with the prison system before but this time it just seems like a nightmare or something you would see on TV. It is crazy! I love my husband very much and I will always support him no matter what. I know he is innocent. I have no doubts in my mind but I do not know where to go or who to talk to get this all straight. I feel like it was a total set up. No doubt in my mind. Can you please advise me on this?
It sounds like your husband is setting up himself (and you also) by getting caught up in nonsense in and out of prison that he should not be involved with. It seems to me that there is a lot going on with your husband that you don’t know about, or more likely, things you don’t want to acknowledge. First, it doesn’t seem likely that your husband would be returned to prison for just a single parole violation of leaving the state in the performance of a legitimate job. There are likely more things going on there. Also it is not very likely that your husband could have run up a cigarette debt large enough to have someone in another prison have drugs sent to him in the mail as a set up. Nor do I readily believe his story about not knowing who would send him drugs through the mail. It would seem like after four 30-day stints in the hole, in six months, he would have kicked his smoking habit by now.
You express shock and confusion as to why these things continue to happen, but after violating his parole and being sent back to prison he immediately gets involved with jailhouse borrowing, possessing contraband cigarettes. Then he tries to get you to send money to another inmates account when he knows perfectly well it is not allowed. I would bet that's probably only the tip of the iceberg.
If you want to know who to talk to get it all straightened out, try talking to your husband. He has been around and he knows the consequences of his decisions. He needs to take a look at how he is living on the streets and in the joint. You also know what is going on and as long as you defend and support what he is doing you can expect the nightmare to continue. As far as buying a lawyer, save your money. If he is living a criminal life while he is in prison, most likely he will continue his lawlessness when he gets out of prison. It would be a lot cheaper if your husband, and you, grew up and started making more responsible decisions. Good luck!
Understand, Support, Encourage, but Don’t Enable
You should understand him, support him, encourage him, and love him, but do not enable him to continue negative, unproductive behaviors and attitudes. Women tend to be notorious enablers of the men they love. By being an enabler, the women help perpetuate the negative patterns and behaviors of her man. Men, in general, are notorious whiners, quick to place the blame for failures and shortcomings on forces outside of oneself.
There may or may not be a chance that your man has never been accountable to anyone but the prison system, for much of his life. It is time that he becomes accountable for himself. Accountability is very important to a man’s quest to live right and live well after prison. He needs to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the things he has done and the things he will do in the future.
Don’t Get Caught Up in His Hate
One of the more destructive after-affects of doing time in prison, for some men, is the anger and resentment that can consume them. Some men will go through years angry at the world. They feel that they got a raw deal in life and everyone owes them something. Sometimes a guy may have indeed been wronged, whether it is by the courts, police, or family members. The problem with blaming the world is that those guys never get around to looking at their own input into their present situation and past problems. If a man sits around in prison and allows anger to fester within him, he is very likely to express that anger in a way that is destructive to himself and everyone around him. Guys who allow anger to consume them usually goes out on the street with an attitude of getting revenge and they are usually back in trouble all too soon.
The men who make it, use any anger they might house in a positive manner to motivate themselves to do better. I am not saying a man needs to go as far as to “love” his perceived enemy; however, hating people takes a lot of energy and resources that could be better directed in more productive areas of life.
Through their constant contact and exposure to the prison system, via visits, phone calls, and other dealings, family members are also at risk of becoming prisonized and experience symptoms of post-incarceration syndrome just like the man inside. Before you know it, his woman and all the people around him are harboring the same resentment and hatred that he is carrying and it begins to affect their lives in a negative way.
It is as important for a person with a loved one in prison to protect herself from the effects of the prison as it is for the man inside.
Every day there are women being arrested and locked up for attempting to smuggle drugs and other contraband to their man in jail or prison. Anyone caught bringing drugs or other contraband to someone in a prison will be arrested on the spot and sent to jail. That person will also not be able to visit, write, call, or communicate with that inmate again until you both get out.
A woman in a situation where her man is in prison and continuing his criminal ways through her should reassess her situation. It does not sound like he is done with that lifestyle yet.
Respect the Authority and the Rules
It is not possible to avoid dealing with a guard if you go into the prison; however, you can control your response. When encountering prison personnel, respect his/her authority and the circumstances, even if you don’t respect the individual. The guards have natural power and influence over you and your man in prison. It may be difficult to avoid problems altogether, but stay focused on your future and the day that you will not have to deal with the guards or the system anymore.
Whatever the situation, a man in prison cannot afford to get caught up in feuds and altercations with prison personnel, because it is obvious who has more to lose – and it is not the guards. Always keep your interactions with someone representing the correctional system professional and business like.
You may not agree with the rules or the way things are done in the prison system, but it is best to respect them. Whether inside the prison or outside on parole, rules will rule his life and impose a heavy toll on the lives of those around him.
Chapter 2: Success After Prison Begins In Prison
A man’s journey on the road to success after prison should begin the moment he enters the prison system. The moment he learns that he will be serving time is the moment he should begin adjusting his mindset to survive mentally, spiritually and physically. The main purpose of the prison system is to punish, not rehabilitate. Any rehabilitation that is going to take place is up to the individual person. That is why it is important that a man has the right mindset entering the prison and throughout his stay there to avoid becoming prisonized. If a man is going to have a chance to be successful, he must have a plan. If you are going to help him succeed, you have to know his plan. Ideally, you are talking and planning together.
The prison that my fiancé is in does not have many educational or training programs for the prisoners. He got his GED there, but there is nothing more beyond that. What are some things that he can do if the prison doesn’t offer any opportunities? Is there anything that I can do?
There are many ways to help a man to organize his time while he is in prison in a way that will aide in preparing him to be successful after prison. Don’t assume that he knows what to do to prepare for life after prison. Take a proactive role by becoming involved in planning his, and your, after-prison life.
One must always keep in mind that he cannot be forced into putting in the time and work that it will take to be successful; however, with the support and encouragement of a loved one he may be encouraged and motivated to work hard.
How to Love and Inspire This Man.
Be Proactive in Your Own Success
You and your man cannot wait for the prison authorities to give you anything except a hard time. Too much time is spent focusing on what the prison does not do for the prisoners. You must encourage your man to be self-motivated and self-inspired to get things done for himself.
Develop a Plan
If a man is going to have a chance after prison he must have a good, well-thought-out plan. If you are his partner and you plan to help him, you need to know what his plan is.
If you are not sure whether your man has a plan for his life after prison, you might want to find out. Once he tells you his primary plan “A”. Ask him what are his Plans “B” & “C”. Things are not likely to go as smoothly as he anticipates and there must be a back-up plan. To ensure that he is not back behind bars shortly after his release, ask him to explain how things are going to be different this time when he gets out.
Assess His Skills
One of the first things to do is to get a true assessment of his academic skills. How are his reading and writing skills? Do not be fooled by those poetic letters you’ve gotten from him over the years. They could be a “front.” It is very easy, and common, for a prisoner to have someone write letters for him. He could also be using someone to read your letters to him.
Encourage Him to Keep a Personal Journal
He should work on improving his writing, spelling and penmanship skills. There is nothing more detrimental to his chances of getting a job than turning in a job application that is sloppy and full of misspelled words.
This is a good practice for the both of you. Write something every day, even if only a few sentences. Reading a variety of literary styles and topics is also important. It is good for you both to broaden your horizons by reading and learning about different people and different cultures from your own. Books, magazines, newspapers, the prison handbook, comic books, cereal boxes. Read self-improvement books and vocabulary builders.
Get Him Educated/Trained
There is a high rate of illiteracy among men in prison. Education and/or training is up there in importance with personal commitment, attitude, good decision-making, heart, a few breaks, and, most importantly, a good woman. How well a man prepares himself while still in the joint will go a long way in determining whether he will still be out and doing well a year after parole. Or whether he locked up again, running up your phone bill.
Encourage your man to work towards his GED and take college courses, and vocational training, if possible, if this is available to him. Encourage him to take advantage of all the opportunities he can that will help prepare him for a new life in a new world. Encourage him to spend time in the prison library, if there is one. If there is no library or when he has exhausted and progressed beyond the resources that are available inside the prison, help him to seek more knowledge from the outside through mail order sources.
Help Develop Life/Social Skills.
It is important that a man coming out of prison learns and understands all he can about how the real world works and what he will need to do to get along in it. Among other things, a man needs to know how to:
- Fill out a check or bank deposit slip.
- Open a checking and savings account. (He will never be completely accepted in the real world until he has a legitimate checking and savings account.)
- Budget and manage his money
- Read a bus/train schedule.
Help Get His Credentials in Order
Driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate are very important documents that a man should have to better his chances of getting a better job.
If he does not already have them, it is best to obtain copies of birth certificates and social security cards through the mail while he is still in the prison. You or he can write or call the Records Department in the city where he was born to obtain information.
Short and long term goals are very important in the life of a successful ex-Con. Don’t try to make up for the years the two of you wasted apart while he was in prison. Set short-term goals for yourselves. A man coming out of prison should have a personal plan with short and long-term goals that he has set for himself and his personal success. You and your man should also have a plan that you designed together with common, corresponding goals for your life and future together. Acknowledge each time the two of you reach a goal and reward yourselves. I will leave the choice or methods of reward up to you.
Set time frames and work your way up to where you and your man want to be in your new life. Take it slow and steady. You have the rest of your lives ahead of you. When it appears that you have reached your goals, don’t settle and get complacent. In other words, don’t be happy just to be in the game. Encourage your man to stretch himself by reaching higher to maximize his potential. If he fails occasionally, so what? It does not mean that he is going back to the joint. Nothing beats a failure but a try.
Keep Him Current
We live in an era dominated by technology. Many jobs on the street call for the use of a computer in some form or fashion. The Internet opens up a world of resources, opportunities, and information for him. If he does not have a computer at home, check with the public libraries in your area. Sometimes the library offers access to the Internet, to search jobs and other information. Being aware of the Internet and how it works will definitely give him an edge. Send him books and magazines on computers and the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW)
Help Improve His Speech and Conversational Skills
You and your man should also spend time working on his speaking and conversational skills. Strengthen his personal vocabulary and his knowledge and usage of proper grammar. The way he speaks is as important as what he says. When he begins to meet new people who are not familiar with the prison culture, he will want to be able to hold an intelligent conversation without embarrassing himself and you. None of that slick jailhouse banter he used in the prison yard will fly in the real world. Remind him when you hear him using prison slang or profanity. That lingo was second nature in the joint and sometimes he may not realize that he is doing it. I recommend that when in the presence of others you pull him to the side and correct him in private. Otherwise it could be embarrassing to him.
Once again, reading books and other materials is the best and most interesting way to broaden his worldly knowledge and vocabulary. Reading also helps him to overcome the sensory deprivation effects of the prison environment by taking his mind outside the prison walls and keeping touch with the real world. Play little games to practice speech exercises during those expensive collect telephone calls he makes to you from the prison. Make that money pay off for something.
I met a guy on parole and he has a two-teardrop tattoo on his cheek (under his eye), and I think this may pose a problem if we decide to get serious. I know that the teardrops are supposed to be a sign that gang members use to show that they have killed someone. He is not currently in a gang, and I have a hard time believing this guy killed anyone. It's a sure give away with the tattoos. I also have a fifteen-year-old son who has met him briefly but didn't get close enough to get a good look at his face (my son knows what the tattoos mean). Do I ditch this guy and move on, or see where it takes us. If things get serious I can ask him if he'd get the tattoos removed.
Whether he has killed anyone or not, your man appears to have committed to a gangster/thug lifestyle when he had those tattoos put on his face. How can he possibly get a legitimate job? As long as those tattoos are on his face, anyone who looks at him will know who he is and what he is about. As they say, “it’s written all over his face.” You must remember why he put the tattoos on his face in the first place. He was making a statement about who he. Any man serious about changing his life would not have to be asked or told to have them removed.
You have a fifteen-year old son who you say knows what the teardrops represent. What impact do you think seeing that tattoo will have on him? Whether you “ditch this guy” or not is up to you. I do suggest that you do your homework and take it real slow with this person before you start bringing him around your loved ones.
Many times ex-prisoners complain that they feel uncomfortable and out of place in crowded places like malls, restaurants, office buildings, and at their workplace. This man feels paranoid because he thinks everyone knows that he just left the prison, and that everyone is looking at him “funny,” and that everyone is talking about him. Part of the adjustment a man has to make in his transitions from prison to the streets is to realize that the word “EX-CONVICT” is not written across his face. So not only do people not know that he just got out of prison, they probably are not looking at him or talking about him. That is unless the man has wild markings such as piercing and teardrop tattoos on his face that scream “DANGEROUS EX-CONVICT.”
A tattoo of a teardrop or other gang related symbols that are visible on the exposed areas of a man’s body such as his face, neck, lower arms and hands can cause him problems in the real world. Many people, including potential employers, have negative stereotypes about heavily tattooed and pierced individuals and they tend not to hire them.
If your man has a lot of visible tattoos or piercing, encourage him to consider getting them removed. If he doesn’t have a lot of visible tattoos or piercing, encourage him not to start.
Are Halfway Houses good? My husband is supposed to get transferred to one in two months (that’s how long it takes for a bed to become vacant). Will he have a lot of freedom and be able to come home a lot?
Halfway houses are usually very good situations for a pre-parolee, if he can get it. Halfway houses allow for a gradual transition from prison to parole. This way the traumas that come from being held years in prison isolation and then suddenly being thrown into society are not as severe, because he has an opportunity to gradually adapt and adjust to the outside world.
Halfway houses are also opportunities for a man to save money, practice budgeting, and establish banking accounts in the real world. Of course, he will do this with the knowledge and blessing of the authorities. Most important, a Halfway house situation can be a safe haven for a parolee to escape the rush of society, to relax and process all his new experiences and emotions.
Halfway House rules and penalties vary from state to state. You have to check with the Corrections department in your state for whether they offer pre-release community living programs such as Halfway Houses and what their rules are. One thing that is usually constant about all halfway and community house situations is that they are strictly unforgiving and have zero-tolerance. Do not test the limits.
If your man gets the opportunity to go to a halfway house, he must represent! He does not want to do anything that would ruin the next man’s chances of benefiting from the halfway-house experience.
Chapter 3: Loving a Felon
I met my fiancé years ago through a prison pen pal club. We are planning to get married when he comes home in less than four months. I love him, but I can’t help but wonder how life is going to be when he gets out. I wonder and worry about all the challenges I will have to take on because my husband is a felon. I love my fiancé and I knew the facts when I went into this relationship, but I get really scared. I also worry about how my family is going to act, if we will have the same goals in life and will we be sexually compatible. There are so many unknowns. I have heard all the horror stories about the relationships with felons that have gone terribly bad. I don’t want to make my fiancé feel bad so I try to put my fears aside, but it is hard. What should I do?
There is no doubt that life can be complicated for a woman who loves a man who has served time in prison for a felony offense. Sexual compatibility is important, but that is not what you should be concerned about. Have you thought about how you might feel in six months when the sex is not carrying the flame like it used to and you are still carrying the full financial burden for the both of you because he has not found a job?
It is not uncommon or unreasonable for a woman to love her man, yet feel uncomfortable about his criminal history. You have to be one hundred percent sure that you want to go forward with him.
You should also talk to your fiancée about how you feel. Your man should be sensitive to your feelings and respect them. He probably has many of the same concerns and fears that he has not verbalized. Communication is important and there is no time likes now to begin sharing.
Learn the life of an man who has served time in prison
The man is not the only one who is going to be subjected to prejudices and judgments as a result of his prison sentence.
A woman who falls in love with a man in prison and makes a decision to have a personal relationship with him while he is in prison and plans to share her life with him after he gets out of prison gets more than a man. She also gets to share that man’s relationship with the prison system and all the baggage that comes with it, like parole officers and government agencies. Learning all you can about your man’s world and how it will impact on your world will make it better for the both of you.
Keep it Real
Your man will need your help and understanding but he is not a fragile basket case that needs to be treated with kid gloves. It is important not to change whom you are to accommodate your man and what you may perceive that he is experiencing. Be honest, be patient, be loving, but stay who you are. Let him know when you are concerned with what is happening in his life; especially if it is something that he has control over. Let him know that you don’t intend to allow him or anyone else to take you down to a level that you are not comfortable with. He must adapt his life to compliment your happiness as well as the other way around.
Do not just sit around crossing days off the calendar waiting for the day when your man finally comes home. You must also be preparing for that day and the days to follow. In addition to learning all you can about the life of a convicted felon, you should also be doing things to improve yourself, such as going to school or taking training courses. Your interest in your education and self-improvement may inspire him to do better for himself.
I’m a 35-year-old teacher and I recently met a man who is on Parole for destruction of police/fire property. He had a prior conviction and has spent 8 of the last 11 years in prison. He has another two years on parole. I’m getting to know him, and plan on taking things slow.
My problem is that my family is very law abiding and would have a problem with this guy if they know he's been in the system. My sister is a Corrections officer and her boyfriend a police detective. While this man's past is his business, our state has an offender search and he is on the website, listing him as being on parole. He is a nice guy and has treated me with respect. I like him and would love to get to know him, but I'm in a bind. I don't want to lose my family over this. I already had a marriage to an ex con and they disowned me until I got rid of him (he was an abuser).
Who you tell your business to is your business, but consider the significant people in your life, who will also be a part of your man’s life. You probably don’t want your sister to find out that your man is on parole because she happened to be at your place when the parole officer stopped by to do an unannounced curfew check on your man.
Let Your Significant Others Know the Deal
There are many people who will think that a woman has lost her mind to try and continue or enter into a relationship with a convicted felon. Her family will disown and ostracize her and her friends will shun her. Everybody will have an opinion about her, him and their forbidden relationship. Sometimes they are genuinely, and understandably, concerned about her well-being. Sometimes they are just being nosey. Whatever the case, the pressure of loving a convicted felon on a woman can be tremendous.
It appears an easy out to hide your man’s past from the people in your life, but think the decision though before you decide.
Having family members and significant others in your life discover that your man is an exCon by accident can cause more problems than hiding it was meant to prevent.
Let Him Know What He Is Coming Home To
Be truthful with a man about the situation at home and what he should expect when he gets there. He also deserves the opportunity to decide how he wants information about his life disseminated. This is especially important if he is coming to live with you and there are others living in the house, such as children or other adults. If this was his home before he went to prison and the children are familiar with him, it won’t be such a problem at the house, but what do you plan to tell your co-workers about him?
Be completely up front about your financial status or the fact that members of your family disapprove of him. Whatever the situation, you should always let him know how it is. It becomes a trust and confidence factor in your relationship together. Letting your man know that there are problems or potential problems will also allow the two of you to plan realistically how you will overcome that problem together.
Clean Up Your Lingering Affairs
If you have any “loose ends” or unfinished business in your personal life that you need to straighten out, you need to take care of it before your man comes home. Moreover, once you take care of it make sure it is taken care of. You know how jealous he can be. He probably suspects that you had an affair while he was in the joint, even if he swears he does not. However, don’t take it personal; that is just how guys in prison think. So the last thing he needs is an unexpected ex-boyfriend drama popping up in the middle of the game. That could throw everything off, to say the least. Remember, you are trying not to create unnecessary drama. Check those closets twice.
I wonder how women deal with the negative attitudes directed toward their loved one who is in prison or toward an exCon? I always react with anger, because people who do all the talking and judging are people who are suppose to be close to him, or me. His friends, his family, my friends and family. It makes me so hurt and angry. He says, “screw them,” but I know it hurts him too.
Don’t let the hate get you down. Use the negative energy that people throw at you as fuel to ignite and reinforce your commitment and determination to keep going.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Their Hate
There are many people who have very bad opinions of anyone coming out of prison. As far as some people are concerned, there is no such thing as an “ex-felon” or “ex-offender.” They don’t believe people in prison should ever get out. Most times these people would hate him, and you, for one reason or another even if he had not been to prison.
In general, however, there is much fear, prejudice, and suspicion of someone who has served time in prison among the general members of society. In many cases all people know is what they have seen on television and in the news. Those images are usually negative.
It is important to remember that many of the negative beliefs and perceptions have been earned legitimately by the past actions of some formerly incarcerated peoples. You cannot control how and what other people think and you should not overly concern yourself with it.
Not everyone wants to see an exCon do well. It is important to remember that “hate whispering” does not always come from strangers. A number of people close to him, including perhaps family members, will do and say things meant to keep him from growing and moving beyond them.
Chapter 4: Forgive & Forward
When my husband went to prison for selling cocaine we lost our house and everything. I was not making enough money at the time to pay the bills. My three children (2, 5, 7 at the time) and I moved back with my parents until my name came up in the rent subsidy program and we were able to get our own apartment. It has been four years and I have been able to complete school and I’m earning enough money where I was able to get off rent subsidy last month and even buy a brand new car. The problem is that my husband is coming home in a few months and I’m not really feeling it like I should. I love my husband and I’m happy that he is getting out of prison, but I think I’m still holding onto the anger I had for him tearing our family apart. We have talked about it and I know he is sorry about it, but he lied to me about selling drugs and it left us with nothing. I’m just hoping that I can get over it
The first thing is to make a decision about whether you want to be with this man or not. If you don’t want to be with him, it is only fair that you let him know as soon as possible. He deserves to have time to make alternative arrangements for his release plan.
If you do decide to remain in this relationship, you are going to have to get over it and prepare to move forward together with him. You have stayed with him for four years while he was in prison, so it would seem that you still have love for him. If you have love, you have forgiveness. Either way you may need to look into professional emotional and spiritual counseling for yourself.
Even the most successful man must never forget or take for granted the harm and pain that he has caused others in the past. Sometimes his worse offenses have been against his family and his loved ones. He may have done something reprehensible to you in the past. Most guys in prison have burned a lot of people and violated a lot of trusts. Many times the prisoner or ex-prisoner’s woman, or mother, are the only people left who have not completely washed their hands of him. Sometimes he was so lowdown out there that his mother does not even want to be bothered with him.
It is not uncommon for a wife or girlfriend to be the only one left in a prisoner’s life. Some women stay with their man for love and conviction to the wedding vows of “better or worse.” Some do it because of guilt. The “I’m all he has and if I leave him he’ll be all alone”, syndrome. Guilt, however, is not a good foundation for a relationship.
One of the big challenges confronting a man in his post-prison life is to work his way back into the lives of others who have gotten used to living their lives without him. Everyone may love him, but these people have developed existences without him in their lives. While he was gone, life went on for everyone else and some guys find it hard to adjust to the changes that have taken place within the family and the world he knew when he left. Life for the woman he may have left out there did not stop when he got busted. In many instances the families quality of life improved once he went away
Tell him exactly how you feel and talk it over with him.
Forgive Him and Move Forward.
He may be carrying a lot of guilt about the bad things he has done to people in the past. It is important that the people in an ex-prisoner’s life allow him to make peace with himself for his past errors in judgment and behavior. He will have to come to terms with his past, and work to make the future better; and you will, too.
Get professional counseling together.
I’m still married to a career criminal. I’m in the process of filing my papers. I feel like such a fool because I really believed that he would change. Yet after doing two bids with him, he still came out and within eight months he was back in. I don't feel like the typical jail wife, etc. I’m a nurse and my husband is really a very sweet and loving person who has a drug problem. He knows it’s better to be with your family than to be without. He knows its better to work for money than to steal money and have your family doing without. He knows better than to risk loosing the one you love than to be without. But he is still in there again. I tried everything to keep him out this last time, but the crack "was calling him." I never have used any drugs and I can't understand how you can give up everything special to you for a high. I have moved on with my life yet I miss him so much. I can't ever go back to that type of life: jails visits, etc. It’s so beneath me, I feel that I deserve someone who can meet me half way and we can build. Not someone who destroys everything that I build. I pray that the lord can help him and others like him. Its so sad to see a good person wasting away in those jails like an animal, but it’s worse to see those young ladies wasting there lives away with them. I know that each man in prison is someone’s child, but I feel that these men learn some very bad behaviors in there. They use people; and brainwash the weak. If any one could learn from my experience that would really make my pain worth something. I have seen so many things, I have seen so many come out and out of ten couples only one is still a couple, and he just came home two months ago after eighteen, so that it’s too early to tell. I would elaborate, but I would be wasting my time because unfortunately the young girls who need to hear my story either won't listen or can't see it because they have to learn the hard way like we did. Thanks for letting me express my feelings.
You have undoubtedly given this a lot of thought and you must follow your instincts. You have to look out for yourself, first.
Your husband sounds like he has been prisonized. He has found his comfort zone, like so many other men who have accepted the prison as a way of life. You may not feel like the typical prisonwife, but you sound like many other women who have experienced nothing but frustration and disappointment in loving a prisonized man. The difference between them and you is that many of those women have not verbalized it to their man or done anything about it.
However, although things may look their worst right now, there is always hope. It takes some guys longer than others to “get it.” Unfortunately, some never do. Maybe one day your man will realize the power he has within him to overcome his problems and take control. It’s all on him right now.
Chapter 5: Employment
While in prison my husband received an Associate degree in Child Development. He was convicted of Sales of Narcotics (Cocaine) and Child Abduction (his own child from a previous marriage). For the last three years he has had to work in factories because he can’t keep a job in the child development field. As soon as his prints come back he gets let go. Some of the places told him that he was an excellent worker, but the child abduction charge screwed him. He wants to go back to school for something else, but he does not know what field he will be able to get a job in.
There are many career fields open to people with felony convictions, but, by law, the childcare business is not one of them.
Your husband should make a list of the fields he is interested in pursuing and research the requirements and eligibility restrictions of that field. He may also want to research the restrictions that are formed by the attitudes and prejudices of society about felons being hired in certain job fields. This way he can focus his efforts in a direction that gives him the best opportunities.
Employment is one of the most important vehicles for improving an ex-offender’s chances for successful reintegration back into society.
However, finding a job remains one of the most difficult challenges most ex’s will face. Not only just getting a job but finding a job that pays a decent wage that he can live on and possibly support a family. A man will need to put together an attractive package for potential employers in order to overcome the convicted felon factor. It won't be easy, but if he has the right frame of mind and he is willing to work hard and hang in tough good things will eventually come his way. This, of course, depends on whether or not the man is sincerely committed to making things work. If he isn’t, it won't matter because before long he will probably be rehired by the only employer on earth that turns no man down regardless of his past history in the State and Federal prison system.
A man’s chances of finding a job can be increased with proper pre-release planning, preparation, and research. The help and support that his woman and other loved ones provide can be invaluable in his success.
Studies have shown that men with jobs are three times more likely to be successful after prison than are those men who don’t get jobs. So, naturally employment is very important.
There are things a man can do while he is in the prison and after he is released to improve himself and plan for his future. The following are tips and advice for improving the employability of someone in prison planning to get out some day.
How to Love and Inspire This Man.
Stay Within Your Circle of Possibilities
As a convicted felon, there are some career areas that are not open to your man. For instance, don’t waste your time sending him applications for the state police or to be a bank manager. In California, convicted felons are banned from becoming lawyers, doctors, nurses, or real estate salesman. Help your man research the field of work he wants to go into and make sure that he won’t be disqualified as an ex-felon.
There are many occupations where a criminal background will definitely get in the way. It doesn’t matter whether or not he is capable of performing the duties of the job. Clearly, a convicted felon is not going to get hired for certain jobs in society. When going after a job he must be assertive, yet realistic.
There are many businesses looking for responsible and competent people to work for them. A man must make the employer understand that he will never regret giving him a chance to prove himself.
There will be times when it will seem to your man like every employer in the world has denied him, but there is a job out there for him. He has to be diligent and keep looking until he finds that job.
If the prison does not provide training, you can help your man learn job search skills such as filling out a job application and writing a resume.
Send Job Applications.
Collect copies of different job applications and send them to your man so he can practice filling them out. Applications close to the job field he intends to pursue are best, however, it really does not matter where the applications are from. The point is for him to become familiar with the language and content on job applications and how he will answer the questions on them
Practicing Completing Applications and Resumes.
Almost all job applications ask the applicant whether they have ever been convicted of a crime. Each man coming out of prison who is faced with this question must adjust to his own unique situation. Honesty is usually the best policy, but sometimes a man has to be creative. It also gets sticky trying to explain the gaps of several years when he had no jobs to list. Each person must decide how much information to divulge about his past.
Have him complete the applications and send them to you for critique. Do it until he is comfortable with the information.
Collect Personal References
Sometimes employers will check beyond the past employer and references listed on an application and sometimes they do not. In any event, it could be beneficial for you to collect as many names of people willing to act as references and character witnesses for your man. People like the pastor of the church, a respected friend, etc.
If your man is fortunate enough to get someone to agree to stand for and sponsor him, he must understand that references are sacred and they must be respected as such. Once a person has put his personal reputation and credibility on the line, he has an obligation to respect and represent those sponsors well.
Start a Business
Consider the possibility of going into legitimate business for yourselves. Read books on starting and managing your own business. Send him books on how to start a business and to research what resources are out there to help people start businesses.
Chapter 6: Relocation
My man is getting paroled in six – eight months and he has expressed a desire to move to a new town, maybe even a new state, when he gets out. He says that he wants to go to a place where no one knows him and where we can start a new life together. He has a good job offer to work with the company he worked with before he went away, only in another state. They even offered to give us moving expenses and an apartment for six months. I am not completely against relocating. But I am not sure that moving away will make a difference in whether he stays sober. He may be away from his old friends, but alcohol and drugs are his problem and those things are everywhere. I am a nurse and I can usually get a job easily, but moving to another state where I don’t know anyone is a big, scary deal for me. If he decides to go back to his old ways, I don’t want to wind up alone so far away from everything and everyone I know. Does relocating help ex-prisoners do better? Thanks for the web site www.jointfx.com.
You are correct. If he is just going to be the same guy in the new location that he was in the old neighborhood, than relocating is a waste of time. However, many successful ex-prisoners say that relocating was the best decision they made in their after prison life. It removed the familiar comforts and complications of the old life and presented a clear slate for them to create the life they wanted.
Ultimately, every successful man as with every unsuccessful man will not be so much a product of his environment as much as he will be the product of the choices and decisions he makes within his environment.
The decision not to return to the old neighborhood and old habits but instead to re-establish in new surroundings has played a major role in the personal success of many ex-prisoners. Many had failed again and again in the past when they went back to the old neighborhood after leaving the prison.
Staying focused is important to anyone out of prison trying to do the right things. Sometimes it is difficult to stay focused when surrounded by familiarity. The distractions may come from old acquaintances in the street or from people and circumstances right there in his family home where you live.
Whatever the distraction, sometimes it might be necessary to distance him from the situation so he can concentrate. Not every man, for one reason or another, can just up and relocate to another city or state. However, as little as 15 to 20 miles between him and the old neighborhood can make a big difference.
Help Him Redefine Himself
While he was in prison, your man lost much of who he really is in relation to the real. When he left the streets he was not a good person. He was an outcast and criminal and society was afraid of him and hated him. That is why they sent him away to prison. While in prison he found his niche and adapted to survive his prison experience. As time went on your man probably began to rebuild his self-esteem and confidence as he looked forward to and anticipated his eventual release from prison and his new life with you.
Now he is out and he may not feel that he is fitting in with the world as he had hoped. Sometimes he may feel lost and afraid. This fear and uncertainty can materialize in many ways.
There may be long periods of silence when he has nothing to say. When this happens, don’t take it personal; allow yourself to retreat, too. Then the next thing you know he is going non-stop with prison war-stories until you just want to duct tape his mouth. When he starts with the prison tales and war stories about his old life, he is probably just feeling lost and confused. Talking about prison, where he did experience a level of comfort and security, helps to calm him. When this happens, try to redirect his thoughts onto something more relevant and timely.
Encourage Him to Meet New People & Make New Friends.
Get out. Mingle, Do things. Night school, college classes, special interest courses, social groups and churches are ideal places to meet new people and become involved in a variety of community activities.
Encourage Him to Maintain Positive Family Ties
Family can also be a detriment to success, yet family support is also very important and increases a man’s chances of being successful after prison. If he has strong family ties, encourage him to continue with them.
Pick Friends & Associates Carefully.
Also beware of people who appear to be drawn to your man because he has served time in prison and somewhat of a celebrity in their eyes. Believe it or not, there are many of those type people out there. Sometimes people admire men who have served time in prison and want to be around one because of his past life, and they don’t want to see him stop doing those things.
If a man is an exCon, that is what he is and that is what he will be for the rest of his life – regardless of his latter success or the status he reaches in life. A man should be proud of his criminal past only in the sense that he was able to overcome it and begin the new life he has.
Once he has worked to create a new life and a new image, it would not make sense for him to involve himself with the wrong crowd and start the whole negative thing over again.
Encourage Him to Get Involved With His Children
Encourage and support your man to get involved with his children. Make him get involved in the schools, check homework, join the PTA and meet your children’s teachers.
If he has children outside of your relationship, encourage him to stay in contact with them and to spend time with them whenever possible. If there is baby-mama-drama with his children where his ex is being difficult, help him through it. Don’t make him have to decide between doing the right thing for his kids or being with you.
Every successful man needs a cause to rally behind. Being around his kids and feeling as though he is a positive influence in their lives can build a man’s confidence and self-esteem. I believe that if every man in prison came out and took a positive and active role in his kids’ lives he will benefit greatly. Having your support and trust will make him feel like he is king of the world.
Maintain contact with Positive Supportive family
Family is very important. If a man is fortunate enough to have supportive family ties that are strong and positive, it may be important for him to maintain contact with them.
Some men go into prison homeless and alone and they leave prison homeless and alone and without ties. If you and your man have the flexibility to relocate, than treat it as a positive. It may be easier for him to look for jobs and opportunities in places other than his old community. Research and explore the possibilities. Start a new life together in a new town with new people, a new lease on life, and a new attitude.
You and your man may feel that you don’t need to relocate to be successful. Many men have been successful after prison living in their old neighborhood. However, for those who have tried everything else without success, relocating might make the difference. Remember to go through the parole officer before changing addresses.
Chapter 7: Establishing Credit and Credibility
My ex-husband has been out of prison for two years now and for the first time in his life he has come to know what responsibility is. This is the longest he has ever been out of prison (robbery) drug free and alcohol free. He is finding it difficult to find loans. He had a car but needs a new one and we want to buy a home.
We are trying to make it again but this is killing me to watch how hard he tries. I am afraid he will say ‘The heck with this, all this is not worth it.’ I know he is a strong-minded man. Hell, he would have had to be doing fifteen years and before that seven and before that – well, you get my drift.
Where does one go for these things? I have looked and I can't find any answers. He called many financial institutions for help and all turned him down, or they want a co signer. How can one continue to live free and be self-sufficient when no one will give him the chance?
Yes, he has a job and has been working two years. I want to know what the credit report says about ex-convicts. So far the ones we have say “No credit history.” Does it have a secret code that says he is a state felony parolee?
In today’s society of technology it would not be surprising if there were some secret code identifying convicted felons on a credit report. Having no credit history is as bad as having bad credit. Your man’s problem is more likely his lack of credit history than a secret code on his reports. In order to establish a good credit, he needs a good credit history. If he has no credit history, it is easy to start creating one.
How to Love and Inspire This Man.
Start Establishing Credit
Opening a bank account is the simplest, safest, and most effective way for him to manage his finances. By opening a checking and savings account he can build good credit by:
- Saving money and earning interest
- Promptly paying his bills
- Tracking his expenses
- Managing his accounts
Responsible use and management of a checking account or an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card will reflect favorable on his credit report.
Services and utilities in his name (gas, electric, and telephone) are also included in a credit history report. If it is possible to get some utility and service accounts in his name, do it. Then he must make sure that he pays them in full and on time each month. Make sure to pay all loans and credit accounts on time each month.
Applying for credit cards and using them responsibly can help build a good credit history. If he has been denied a credit card in the past, he may want to look into a “secured” credit card. Almost anyone can get a secured card. To secure the card, he will have to deposit a pre-determined amount of money in a bank account. The secured card can then be used just like a regular credit card, with the same convenience and payment flexibility. He may even be able to close the secured account and open an unsecured account once he has established a consistent payment history.
Department store credit cards or gasoline cards are also a possibility for establishing credit. He may have to pay higher percentage rates in the beginning, but if he plans it right he can establish a credit history in no time.
He may have to postpone the plans for the house and new car for a little while. However, if he does it correctly, before you know it he will have established a good credit history.
Register to Vote and become Politically Aware
Voting does not have much to do with establishing credit. However, it does help establish credibility and responsibility. Since he is going to be paying taxes and living the consequences of the people in public office, whether he believe in the system or not, he should vote. The laws on convicted felons voting rights vary from state to state. In some states a convicted felon can register and vote once he completes parole or probation. In other states convicted felons lose their right to vote forever. Check the election laws in your state. (See jointfx.com for specific voting and other state/federal disabilities of ex-felons).
Chapter 8: The Conditions of Parole
My son's father is on parole and lives with me. Recently his parole officer obtained a key to our apartment from the apartment managers and let himself into our home. His excuse to the managers was that my son's father is hard to wake up. I feel he had no right accessing our home like this, especially since he did not even know if anyone was home at the time. I have spoken to his supervisor regarding the issue and he stated the parole officer clearly overstepped his home or work to find out if my son's father had moved or was back in the home. So as far as he knew, there was no longer a parole in the home and he took it upon boundaries, but the excuse for entering our home to his supervisor was that it was a safety issue. A week and a half before he entered our home my son's father and I had gotten in an argument and I put him out of my home. That morning I left a message for his parole officer stating he no longer lived there. Two days later he moved back in and we never heard from his officer until this incident. He never once called my himself to enter the home of a private citizen. My son, his father, and I live in a very crowded one-bedroom apartment and have a LOT of clothes. On top of that I work six days out of the week to support our family, since my son's father does not work. He came by the house on a Thursday. Friday, being my only day off during the week, is laundry day; so when he came by the house there were a lot of clothes on the floor. He stated that if my home was not clean by the next week he had no problem putting my son's father back in jail and calling Child Protective Services to come and get my son. His supervisor also agreed that he overstepped his boundaries on this issue and that he had no right to threaten my son or me. While his supervisor is in agreement that the officer is in the wrong, he has done nothing to rectify the situation. We have asked for a change of officer and he stated that this is only done in rare cases where there is a personal conflict.
In the past two years, this officer has violated my son’s father’s rights three times. Once because he was homeless. His parole officer said he would give him an address and sure enough did when he sent him back to prison.
Do you know of any actions we can take to try and have his officer changed? I’m considering going over his supervisor and filing a complaint with the state board, since his supervisor does not seem to think this a serious enough issue. I do not know a lot about the parole system and am not sure of our rights.
It is not the PO’s responsibility to call to find out if your man was living with you again. Just as it was not your responsibility to call the PO and tell him that he was not staying there. It is your man’s responsibility to let the PO know where he is. You think that you can involve the PO when you get mad at your man and then when the two of you kiss and make up the PO is suppose to forget the problem. It doesn’t work like that. Obviously the PO knew your boyfriend was in there and that he was not entering the home of a “private citizen.” You gave up that right when you agreed to allow him to live at your home, knowing the PO was looking for him.
It would seem likely that the PO has a lot more things to do than go out of his way to make your life miserable. It is not wise or productive to spend so much time and energy waging war against the parole system. It may be better for you and your man to take a look at how you can get your acts together.
What are Conditions of Parole?
Conditions of Parole or Standard Conditions of Release are the rules and guidelines that spell what a parolee can and cannot do while under post prison supervision. The conditions are usually spelled out on the Certificate of Parole or Certificate of Release.
There are “General” or “Standard” COPs that appear on all certificates. For example, the parolee is ordered to
- Seek and maintain employment
- Obey all laws and ordinances
- Refrain from drug use and possession, etc.
There may also be “Special” or “Addendums” conditions to address the specific circumstances of each individual parolee. For example:
A sex offender may have a special condition stating that he must stay away from places where there are children or women and he may be required to register with the local police as a sex offender.
There could also be special conditions ordering a parolee to attend mental health counseling, or drug counseling.
What are a Parole Probable Cause Hearing and a Revocation Hearing?
A parolee accused of violating the conditions of parole or conditional release is usually entitled to a probable cause or pre-disposition type hearing in front of a Hearing Officer from the Parole Board. That would determine whether the parole will actually be revoked or not. In many instances, parolees are found not to be in violation of the conditions of parole as the parole officer has charged.
Sometimes a Parole Revocation Hearing Officer determines that the parolee has violated one or more conditions of parole, but not seriously or persistently enough to send the parolee back to prison. In many of those cases, the parolee is released from custody to continue on parole. When a parolee is reinstated on parole by the parole board, it may appear to be a victory for the parolee. In reality, a parolee could spend weeks, even months, in jail waiting for the process to take its course. That is why every parolee should try to avoid any complications and misunderstandings that may get him caught up in the red tape of the system.
My husband has been on parole for a drug charge and he was due to be off of parole in July. Yesterday, when he went for his weekly visit to the parole office, they told him that his urine had tested dirty for marijuana and took him to jail for violating his parole.
Plus, the parole officer added violations for two dirty urine tests that happened three months ago. My husband admitted smoking pot back then so why didn’t they violate him back then? They just made him go to outpatient drug counseling for thirty days. My husband swears that he did not smoke pot. I believe him because I have timed him and watched him for the last two months and there is no way that he has been able to smoke any pot on my watch. Is there anything that I can do, such as hiring an attorney? I am at a total loss of what to do.
A man may be able to fool his woman and family about what he is and is not doing, but he will not be able to fool those drug tests.
The PO does not have to violate a parolee the first, second, or even third time an act is committed that constitutes a violation. For example, a parolee may not get violated and sent back to prison the first time he tests positive for drugs, or breaks his curfew, or the second time he misses a reporting appointment. However, when the PO does move to violate him all the past parole indiscretions that the parolee thought he had gotten away with will be listed on the violation of parole. If the PO allows your man to make a few mistakes without violating him, consider it a blessing. Hopefully he will learn from it and not repeat the same mistakes. Save your money. Forget the lawyer. Good luck.
It is important for a parolee, but it is also very important that anyone planning to have a man who is involved in the criminal justice system in his or her life read and understand the rules of parole.
A parolee should know what his rights are under the law. For instance, a person being accused of a violation of parole or conditional release has a right to a hearing and to be represented by an attorney at that hearing. Sometimes a state appointed attorney will be assigned if the parolee is indigent – or broke.
Relaying solely on court appointed attorneys or public defenders in a parole violations hearing can be very time consuming and expensive. It is much more effective for a parolee, if he understands everything about his parole so that he can defend and protect himself, and for you to help him effectively.
The following are examples of Conditions of Parole from the New Jersey Parole Board Parole Certificate. The specific language may vary from state to state and with different authorities. However, these are typical examples; the same or similar to other states and federal rules.
A Parolee must obey all laws
Obeying the law is the most important key to successfully completing parole and staying out of prison in the future. If a parolee is still dabbing in illegal activity while he is on parole nothing else he does will matter. It will just be a matter of time before he is busted and headed back to prison with new charges, parole violations, or both.
Sometimes a parolee can only be found in violation of a particular COP if he is actually convicted of a new crime while on parole. An arrest or even an indictment for criminal activity is not always enough for a PO to arrest a parolee for violation of this COP. The parolee must be convicted in a court of law, or plead guilty to criminal charges in a court of law first.
A Parolee must report to Parole immediately after being released from the prison, unless given other instructions
The first responsibility of a parolee when he is released on parole is to contact the parole officer. Nothing is more important to a parolee than getting with the PO when the PO is expecting him to get with him. An unbelievable number of parolees are violated and returned to jail within days of being paroled simply because instead of checking in with the PO after they were released, they went elsewhere. It would really be unwise to screw up the very first visit.
If a man does not expect to get home until later in the day, he may be required to contact the PO the next day, or on Monday, in cases where he is paroled on a Friday. If something legitimate prevents him from getting to the parole office (such as his train derailing on the trip home), he should call and let the PO know what is up. It is important to make the right decisions and take care of responsibilities from the door. Make sure he reports or contacts the PO as ordered in his parole certificate, as soon as he is released.
A Parolee must notify his or her Parole Officer immediately after being arrested.
Plainly and simply put, if a man comes into contact with the police, the courts, or any other legal or law enforcement authority, in any way or at any time while he is on parole, he must tell the parole officer about it immediately. An arrest or even being charged with a new crime may not be enough to automatically put a parolee in violation of his parole. However, not telling the PO about it is sufficient to send a parolee back to prison. It is best to avoid the drama that will surely play out if the PO finds out from other sources about what the parolee has been up to.
In real life there are many situations and circumstance that would prevent a parolee from getting in touch with the PO from lockup, especially if he only gets one phone call. Still he should make the effort.
In addition, if he posts bail he must contact the PO right away and let him know about it.
Many if not most parole offices accept collect telephone calls from parolees. If you are asked by your man in jail to call the PO and the PO is not in when you call leave the information and your name with the person who answers the phone. Get that person’s name before you hang up, in case you have to prove that you called. Always get the name of the person you speak to at the parole office. Write your information (time, date, who you spoke to, what was said), down in your journal.
It does not matter whether a parolee is guilty of the new charges or not. A parolee still on parole supervision must tell the PO that he was arrested, or received a traffic ticket, or a jaywalking summons, or whatever.
A Parolee must immediately notify his PO upon issuance of an order against him, or an order establishing bail in a criminal matter or offense arising out of a domestic violence situation. A Parolee must comply with any condition established within the respective order until the appropriate court dissolves the order or until a condition is modified or discharged by the appropriate court.
In the event that someone, anyone, files a restraining order against a parolee for any reason, he must tell the PO about it right away. No one except the court can modify or remove a restraining order once it has been issued. Not even the person who filed the order.
A Parolee must first get approval of the parole officer for any change in residence.
A standard prerequisite to a man being released on parole is having an “approved residence.” This is basically the place where the parolee will live when he is paroled. The residence is usually visited by the PO for inspection and evaluation as an appropriate place for the parolee to live. Prisoners are also released to homeless shelters or hospital and treatment programs as approved residences. Once an address has been approved the parolee cannot move or change his address without the approval of the PO.
If a parolee is not sleeping at his approved address, and acting without the knowledge and approval of the PO, he is in violation of his parole. Even if he comes home to change clothes every morning he may be in violation. Unless the PO gives him permission to stay elsewhere, a parolee must sleep at the approved home.
A Parolee must first get approval of the parole officer for any change in employment location.
In addition, every able adult parolee must get a job as soon as possible after he is paroled. This is usually added as a ‘special’ COP on the parole certificate. Occasionally the Parole Board requires that a man have the promise of a job on the outside before they will grant him parole. Once a parolee gets that job, he needs to get permission before he leave that job for any reason, even to go to another job.
A Parolee must first get approval of the parole officer before leaving the state of approved residence.
A parolee cannot leave the state in which he has been paroled for any reason, for any period of time, without the permission of the PO.
A Parolee cannot own or possess any firearm or weapon for any purpose.
Many different things can qualify as a “weapon.” Guns, knives, swords and the like will probably be considered weapons. Under normal circumstances a parolee would not be violated for a steak knife he has in his kitchen or the baseball bat in his bedroom closet. However, they may be considered a weapon if a parolee is caught with those same items in his pocket, or on his person outside the home.
The important thing to remember here is that unlike general COP #1, it is not necessary for a parolee to be convicted, or arrested by the police, or formally charged in a court of law with illegal weapons possession, for this violation to be applied.
A parolee must refrain from the possession and/or use of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS)
Parolee cannot use, possess, or distribute controlled dangerous substances, or CDS, such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and crack and, in some cases, alcohol.
Drug testing is to parole what dirty urine is to a parole violation. They are absolutes. They go together. Do drugs, do time! Failed drug tests and drug related issues accounted for eighty-two percent of the technical violations that sent people back to prison. If your man is taking prescribed medication, keep the bottle and let the PO know what he is taking before giving his drug test urine sample. It is best to avoid any potential problems.
A parolee must pay any fines, restitution, penalties, and Lab Fees imposed by the sentencing court and/or State Parole Board.
A parolee’s discharge or release from parole supervision at the end of his sentence can be delayed if there are outstanding fines, fees, etc., owed by the parolee. This usually pertains specifically to fines, fees, lab fees, etc., imposed by the court in connection with the original conviction and sentence. This does not include any fines from traffic tickets, or that the parolee may have accumulated from unrelated sources before or during his parole supervision. Unless, for some reason, those unrelated fines were written in as ’special’ COP it is best to just pay the bills. It is always possible to set up a reasonable payment plan with the PO. Know and understand all the responsibilities of parole, including fines, fees, etc., for your own good and your man's good. It is up to you to help him see that they are taken care of. Just because the PO does not hassle him about the small details of his parole responsibilities, that does not mean they will go away.
Any Parolee convicted of a “sex crime” must register with the appropriate community law enforcement agencies.
Sex Offenders must register with the police department in the community where he is going to live. Failure to register will mean going back to the Joint. Sex offenders must walk a tight line on parole. Sex offenders are more closely scrutinized than most other offenders are when being considered for parole. Sex offenders are also more closely monitored and scrutinized by parole officers and sometimes these offenders tend not to get the breaks that a non-sex-offender might get.
A Parolee must refrain from behavior that results in the issuance of a restraining order.
It is wise that a parolee does not go around hitting, threatening and harassing people. That is the type of ‘behavior’ that could result in the issuance of a restraining order against him and get him sent back to prison.
A Parolee must waive extradition to the state of his parole from any other jurisdiction in which he is arrested and detained for violation of parole status. A Parolee is expected not to contest any effort by any jurisdiction to return the parolee to the state of his parole.
Say a parolee is arrested in a different state than that in which he has been paroled, and there is a parole violation warrant waiting for him back in his home state. If he attempts to fight or block extradition proceedings to return him to his home state, that will result in an additional parole violation.
Is there a difference between State and Federal parole?
The Federal Prison System and many states do not have an “early release or parole program.” However, the U.S. Government and many states do have what is called Mandatory Post-Incarceration Supervision. Basically that means that although a prisoner has served his entire sentence in prison, he/she will still have a period of supervision after being released. The U.S. Parole Commission, which oversees Federal Parolees, utilizes a Standard Condition of Release.
Chapter 9: Parole, Your Man & You
Is it harder to get a parole for a Class A Misdemeanor parole violation? My husband had one year left on his parole when he violated. We got into an argument, the police were called and he was charged with a domestic violation. They gave him one year for this and just last week, we both saw the Parole Board. We'll know in thirty days if he gets out or gets a flop. What do you think will happen?
It is hard to get paroled on any violation of parole, if only because of the red tape and bureaucracy involved in the processing of a parole violator, even before he has been found guilty of the alleged violations. Think twice before calling the police or the parole officer to get involved in your “arguments.” Once you invite the authorities to get involved in your personal life, it’s out of your control.
Parole, probation or some other form of post-incarceration supervision will probably be a part of your man’s life for a while after his release from prison. All Federal prisons and most states have some form of post-incarceration supervision programs such as parole or probation.
Taking the following advice can increase a man’s chances of successfully completing his post-release supervision; it can also make such supervision easier and greatly minimize the intrusion in your lives.
Avoid Unnecessary Contacts with the Police
Do not use the police or parole officer to get back at your man when you are angry with him. Unless your man is a serious threat or risk to your life and well being, to the life and well being of others, or to his own life and well being, you should be careful about involving the police in your affairs. Remember that no matter how long your man is out of prison or how successful he becomes after prison, he will always carry the stigma of an exCon. He is only a traffic stop away from misery if he is pulled over by the wrong cop on a bad day. Some law enforcement officers take on a new personality when they learn that a man is a convicted felon. A stop for an expired inspection sticker can easily turn into the him being accused of every burglary in that neighborhood over the past six months.
Avoid Unnecessary Drama
You know that your man wants to be all those wonderful things that he promised you he would be in those romantic letters he wrote you while he was inside. Your hero, your knight in shining armor, would not hesitate to do whatever to defend your honor against any man or woman who would dare even look the wrong way at you his Queen. That is why the last thing you want to do is to create situations that can jeopardize his freedom and your future together.
Try not to get him involved in petty personal problems on your job to the point where he begins to feel like he has to get physically involved in your defense. Do not get him involved in petty arguments at bars or other public places.
What do the parole officer and the probation officer do?
The Parole Officer, Probation Officer, or Parole Advisor, commonly known as the PO, may be the single most powerful and influential person in the life of any man after prison. The sooner everyone realizes and accepts that fact, the better off that person will be.
In most states, POs carry guns and handcuffs and are considered law enforcement officers. The POs primary job responsibility is to protect the public from your man, the convicted felon. The way POs do that is by making sure that every parolee under his/her supervision is obeying the conditions and mandates of the parole/release agreement.
Just like parolees, POs come in all shapes, sizes, and mentalities. A parole officer is a law enforcement officer with all the powers to arrest and lock up a parolee thought to have violated conditions of parole. Some POs will give a parolee a little rope, and some will be in his stuff like bread in the prison meatloaf.
The PO is not you or your man’s enemy, but he also is not your friend. It is best to keep the relation with the PO cordial and professional.
When a parolee finds himself standing before a judge or Parole Revocation Hearing Officer, the PO has a powerful voice in the decision whether a parolee goes back to prison or whether he gets another chance at life on the outside. Develop a good relationship with your PO and there will be mutual benefits for everyone.
Advice on how to do parole.
Work with Him to Develop a “Win-Win” Attitude
Men in prison and parolees alike tend to have a very one-sided and selfish way of thinking and behaving. Experience has conditioned them to view every interaction with other people, especially authority figure types, as a competition that must produce a winner and a loser. He must get over that mindset. He must approach parole and life in general with a "win-win" attitude, not win-lose. He can win and the parole officer can win. He wins, you win, everyone wins. Try to look at it from the parole officer's point of view. POs carry extremely high caseloads and it is not uncommon for a single parole officer to have 50, 75, 100 or more parolees under his or her supervision at any given time. It is an awesome if not impossible task for one person to supervise and monitor that many people on a regular and thorough basis. If a parole officer gets a parolee that he or she does not have to be concerned about, they may relax and stay off his back, as long as he is showing that he is doing the right things.
The parole officer can adjust the level or intensity of a parolee’s supervision according to how well, or not, he or she thinks the parolee is doing and can be trusted. A parolee can be required to report to the parole officer several times a week or he can be required to give a phone call every thirty days. How parole effects your man’s life and ultimately your life is determined to a great extent by how the parolee handles the situation.
Talk to the Parole Officer
It is important that your man understand exactly what the PO expects from your man and you, so that there are no surprises. If there is something you don’t understand or have any question about, talk to the PO about it.
Show Due Respect
Many ex-felons have deep-rooted problems with people they consider to be authority figures. Be it their parents, teachers, a social worker, the police, the Judge, anyone, no one could tell them what to do. That is probably much of the reason why they ended up in prison in the first place. The instinct is either fight or flight, with no consideration for compromise.
Be careful that you are not caught up in conflicts with a P.O. It is counter-productive for a parolee to get into playing head games with the PO. The parolee has to leave the “Joe Prison” attitude at the Prison and rise above it and move beyond it.
In reality, the PO is not much different from any of the other various authority figures who will continue to be a part of the parolee’s life. Be it his PO, his employer, his wife, or whoever. If a parolee has difficulty dealing with a parole officer, he will probably continue to have difficulty in other important areas of his life.
In most cases the PO is just doing his job, not deliberately trying to make your man’s life miserable. Easy supervision for the PO means easy supervision for the parolee. Never let your man forget that his goal is to successfully complete parole at all costs.
Keep Your Reporting Dates
Encourage your man to be responsible by keeping his scheduled reporting appointments with the PO. He should try not to miss any reporting dates, but if for some reason he absolutely cannot avoid missing an appointment he should call the PO and let him know. It is good to volunteer to come in and stop by or call the parole office between appointments, every now and then. Let the parole officer see that he is doing okay and that he has nothing to hide.
Keep a Record or Diary
Whenever you or your man go to the parole office or call the parole office and your PO is not there, leave your name and information with the person you speak to and ask them to tell the PO that you called. Also, it’s worth repeating make sure you get the name of the person you spoke to and write it down. Parole officers use a detailed chronological record of all his contacts, attempted contacts, and interactions with each parolee under their supervision. That is how PO’s prove what they say happened, in terms of your man violating his parole, actually happened. The information in the PO’s notes may or may not be accurate, but at least they have a record of events. It is a good idea to keep a small ledger to record all of your contacts and interactions with parole. It could come in handy one day.
Obey the COPs (Conditions of Parole)
It is most important that your man read, memorize, learn and understand the conditions of his parole or early release from prison. The next important thing is for him to comply with them one hundred percent. You and your man will most likely feel that parole imposes too many restrictions and demands on his time and energy. There will probably be “special conditions” ordering your man to comply with things such as drug counseling, mental health counseling, community service, curfews, or something else that neither of you feel that he needs. Don’t fight it. Encourage your man to just do it. Tell him to prove that he does not need it. Help your man to turn the experience into a positive one and make it work for him. It probably will not hurt him. He may even learn something useful.
Keep the Parole Officer Informed
As noted, a parolee must keep the PO informed of any changes in his status, any problems that he is experiencing, and problems that he anticipates having. If your man changes addresses, gets a speeding ticket or plans to leave the state he must inform the parole officer. If he does not, it is an automatic violation. Parole is an extremely personal relationship between a parolee and the parole officer. You cannot get more personal than peeing in a cup (drug testing) while someone looks at you. It could also be a personal relationship for you, should the P.O. get the urge to go searching through your home looking for something he thinks your man is hiding in there that he should not have in there. Communication and mutual respect solve and prevent many problems. Stay focused on that day when your man successfully completes parole; the day he, and you, are one with the system.
Chapter 10: Marriage
I’m in love with a man I met by pen pal web site. We started writing and found a connection. Then we fell in love, especially after we met in person in visiting. We talk about everything and I feel that we are both honest. He made the decision a few years back to change his life. As he puts it, "If I go back to my old ways, I might as well take my toothbrush and suitcase and get ready to be in prison for the rest of my life.”
He seems to be very committed to change, to settle down into a domestic life, and be a father to my daughter, who is nine. He tells me a lot of how he used to be, how the change took place, and how it didn't happen overnight. He is getting out one year from today. We are getting married while he is still in there, in July. We both want this. He didn’t at first, because he didn't like the ceremony taking place in a prison. But he decided that it would be good for both of us, and my daughter, as well as for his release and interstate compact. But I still have my worries. I hear all the time of people who met while one was in prison, and the stats are not good for when they get out and the marriage working.
I bought a copy of your book How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for the Committed Man (Joint FX Press, 2001,) for myself and one for my man. The book helped me and I’m sure it will help my man. I appreciate that you wrote the book. Can you tell me the reason that you think there are not many success stories of getting married while a man is incarcerated? I would think that if two people know what they want, are older and wiser, and have deep love and commitment that would make a difference.
There is a reason why you do not hear many stories of long-lasting and successful prison-made marriages. There aren’t many. There are some, but not very many.
There are many negative forces going against prison-made marriages that most couples cannot overcome. The entire dynamics of the relationship you had with your man while he was in prison will change and you will be like two strangers, with personal issues, trying to live together.
If your man has no chance, or little chance, of coming home that is one thing. However, if he is planning to get out in the future, it is advisable to delay wedding plans until he is out of prison. He may be making decisions about what is good for you and your daughter; however, be especially careful about exposing your child to a man you really do not know, so soon after him leaving prison. Best of luck to you both.
A solid marriage can give a prisoner emotional support upon release, an intermediate place to stay, motivation to succeed, and possibly financial assistance until he gets his feet on the ground. Reviews of prisoners’ family relationships find that prisoners who maintain strong family ties during imprisonment have higher rates of post-release success. Also those who assume husband and parenting roles upon release have higher rates of success than those who do not.
As noted, one major flaw in marriages made in prison is that the relationship the couple has built while he was in prison is different and nothing like what it will be when he is out of prison and they have to deal with one another every day.
Once the man gets out of prison the individual roles each of them has played up to that point change. The entire dynamics of the relationship the couple had built and come to know changes drastically. The woman is no longer in control in the relationship as she was before. She no longer controls when to visit, when not to visit, when to be home to answer his phone calls, and when she is not available.
He no longer has the structure and restrictions of the prison and is no longer as dependent on the woman.
She no longer has the structure and restrictions of the prison that allowed her personal time and space to do whatever she wanted to do.
He also loses the protection and discipline of the prison structure and now has to deal with the stress of the real world.
The sweet romantic letters and the long intimate telephone conversations stop. His senses are being overloaded with the world of freedom and she is no longer the center of his universe. He is shocked and disillusioned to find out that all the time he was away she had a life and that the thought of him was not really what kept her alive.
Speaking solely on how it relates to his chances of ultimate overall success after prison, it may not be wise for a man and woman to get married while he is in prison.
On top of all the trials, tribulations and temptations that any man will have on his plate trying to find his way back into society, he will also have the added pressure of trying to develop a relationship with a woman, and possibly children, he does not really know. Letters, telephone calls, and a few visits cannot prepare a man in prison for life with a woman. Nor can it prepare a woman for life with that man. The added stress and drama can distract him from keeping up with the most important things he will have on his plate, such as staying out of prison. Postponing the ceremonies until he has been out awhile and gotten his feet under him will also give everyone a chance to become more familiar and knowledgeable about one another. If love is true, it will hold. Somewhere down the road you both may be happy that you did not rush into anything.
I wrote you last year and told you about my boyfriend and me getting married while he was in prison. You told me to wait until my fiancé got paroled before we got married. I am so glad that I followed your advice.
He finally came home and in less than a week it is like he never went away. I don’t think he was in long enough because he didn’t have to adjust back to street mode at all. He has not followed through on a single thing that he swore that he would do while he was locked up. He has not seemed to have changed a bit. He has committed five parole violations in the first two days that his parole officer does not know about, including getting high, going out after his curfew, and staying out all night. He says, “If the PO doesn’t find out about it, it isn’t a violation.”
Can he be lonely for prison food so soon? I am pissed, hurt, sick, disheartened, and disappointed. I am mostly angry with myself for believing him – again. This was his third time and I was there through them all. If I did not know any better I would swear that he likes being locked up. I am just happy that I did not get married because I don’t like being locked up and that is what I am if I stay with him. Thank you, thank you, thank you, very much.
You’re very welcome.
Chapter 11: Happily-Ever-After-Prison Stories
Are there any stories of successful relations after prison?
Women with successful experiences wrote the following two stories.
Story #1 By Debra C. Jackson-Salaam
When Musa was given a parole date my first and main concern was sharing my space. Where are his clothes going? I hardly have enough closet space for myself. How does he expect me to give up what little space I have? Sharing my space was hard. I had lived alone for so long it was hard to picture anyone else there. I could not imagine sharing anything that had been mine for so long. I knew I had to learn to adjust.
When we moved into a new apartment together, and I could no longer say “mine,” things began to change for the better. It got even better when he found a job and began to contribute to the household.
At first I did his time with no problem. I was new in my own recovery from drug addiction so I needed time to myself, to work on myself. So him not being here was sort of a good thing for me. After a while it got harder to do the time with him. Several times during those six years I felt like I wanted to walk away. I began to slack up on the visits. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
I met a woman who worked for an organization that provides services for prisoners and ex-prisoners. She also had a man in prison. She and I started a support group for women with partners in prison. It saved my relationship.
When he finally got out, it was hard for the both of us. It was hard for him because he had to learn how to become a productive member of society. Not steal, not do drugs, be a responsible parent and a good man to his woman. I had stepped up to the plate and if he wanted to be with me he definitely had to bring something to the table. I put unreal and unfair pressure and expectations on him. I saw in him the ability to be all the things that I wanted him to be and I put him on a pedestal. Of course he failed.
Once again he was back in jail. This time for a parole violation (leaving the state without permission). I was disappointed, stressed out, confused, hurt, embarrassed, and most of all I was finished. I could not do any more time. I would take the phone calls, but that was it. No visits, no packages, no nothing. I just did not have it in me.
It was difficult enough the first time, but the humiliation and embarrassment of him being back in prison caused me to become a liar. I lied to everyone about his whereabouts. Only a choice few knew that he was back in prison. That was only because I needed someone to talk to about what I was going through. For some reason, I hung in there for another seven months. He finally came home and the process started all over again.
At times I felt like I was raising another child. I had to constantly work on my patience. There were so many things that he didn’t know how to do, like paying bills, handling a checking account, dealing with the phone company or just doing the grocery shopping. I had to take control of most situations and be the woman and the man of the house. I realized that if there were things that he needed to know, I would be the one to teach him.
Musa worked hard and soon he began to get better as he gained confidence and got more comfortable. Soon he was becoming the man of the house. I also became more confident and comfortable letting go and letting him handle more of the household responsibilities.
Things were going so well that we got married. After a while he developed an obsession with always having money and carrying the financial burden as head of the family; and that almost caused us to break up.
Musa went back to jail two more times, once for another parole violation for testing positive for marijuana, and then for suspicion of a drug distribution. He didn’t do any time, however. He was reinstated for the violation and the drug charge was eventually dismissed, due to lack of evidence.
It was the most difficult period of our relationship. I believe three things gave me the strength and motivation to keep going and not give up. First, we had built a strong foundation over the years. We had known each other casually since the mid-seventies. We had developed a friendship, but we did not get romantically involved until he was in prison in the mid-eighties. Second, I was too embarrassed to let people know that there were problems so soon after we were married. Third, I saw in him the man I knew he could be. I knew he was a good person, with a good heart, who only wanted to take care of his family. He really needed to do that. Besides, he was my husband now and it wasn’t that simple to walk away. It was for better or for worse, till death do us part.
So, in order to save the relationship I had to be willing to change myself and to help him work on understanding and changing his behaviors. I had to remember not to throw prison and his past mistakes in his face. I had to become willing to do whatever necessary to see it through to the end. He had to learn how to take care of his responsibilities without putting us all at risk of reliving the nightmare of prison life. We both had to learn to put the entire prison experience behind us and become a normal family.
Musa has been out several years now and, although we take it a day at a time, things are just great. Prison took a heavy toll on us as individuals and in our relationship. I feel like I have done every bit of prison time that he has done. But I think finally it was worth the struggle and the pain.
I need to say that I have a good husband. Of course, we still have issues but at least now everything is up front. Many couples who experience prison don’t make it. I realize that we may be the exception to the rule. All I know is that it takes hard work and commitment from both parties to make it work.
Debra C. Jackson-Salaam, who is the sister of your author, has overcome a lot in her personal life as well. She and Musa are happily married and currently in the process of purchasing their first home.
Story #2 By Storm Reyes
After years of waiting and counting down, it is almost time for the gates on the Iron House to open and your loved one to step through and about to be realized. ‘Yes,’ it is your loved one and ‘No,’ you don't know this person anymore. Is there hope that all can be healed and your loved one become once again the person you knew and loved? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes,’ but it will take honesty, patience and work by all.
The experts say that it only takes eighteen months for a person to be institutionalized. After twenty-plus years working with First Nations persons locked up in Iron Houses, I would say that the experts are being optimistic and that any amount of time locked up leaves wounds that must be healed and behaviors unlearned. You must understand the nature of the enemy, the Iron House, in order to understand the damage done to your loved one. The prison system, regardless of where located, systematically, intentionally and scientifically makes every effort to dehumanize a person in order to better control and "manage" the prison population.
Immediately upon entering the prison system, activities are undertaken to strip away a person's identity, decision-making capabilities, and self-esteem. Their names are taken away to be replaced with a number. Their sense of "Who I Am" is replaced with "What I Am.” All opportunities to make a choice are removed. They are consistently told and retold what little worth they have to humanity. They are punished for showing any emotion, questioning any decision, or stepping outside of the accepted standard. Complete and utter compliance and conformity are demanded. Individualism is punished swiftly and severely. And it never changes. Colors are bland, meals are bland, activities are bland, and days and night fold into each other. Time slows and stops, as does growth and life for the man in prison. In order to survive such an environment, your loved one must have been flexible enough to adapt and, once modified, it has become his/her life. It is life, alien and warped, but it is their life. And now comes the time for the him to come home to a world that has become alien and unfamiliar and, more importantly, terrifying. This is a time that will require more strength from him than going into prison. But this time your loved one is not alone; you are there to help the healing process and to encourage the growth. Your loved one has been deeply wounded, but can heal. Yes, there will always be scars but one can live with scars. But only distant reminders of bad times. So here are a few things to be aware of and several things you can do. You and your loved one are no longer helpless. Take your power back and use it!
Tips and Hints
First, recognize that he is coming from a place where he has had to be constantly alert and attentive, a place that is never quiet, a place he is never alone in peace, and that quiet is foreign to him. He will need periods of quiet time in short intervals. And he will not be comfortable with loud noises that he is not accustomed to, such as the babble of party noises, street noises, and the like.
He will be uncomfortable around a variety of colors, genders, children and animals.
He will at first be uncomfortable moving from room to room, and will tend to stay in one room until it has become familiar.
He will be uncomfortable going out the door ahead of anyone else. His eyes will always be shifting around and his heading turning, and he will probably wish to sit with his back to a wall.
These are instinctual things he has learned and he won't even be conscious of it. The best cure is simply time, to replace his instincts with new ones and to help him be aware of his actions, without trying to correct the actions. Pay attention to his comfort level and help make his new environment comfortable, introducing new things slowly. The worst damage done to your loved one is that his ability to make decisions or choices was taken away. It has to be relearned. We unconsciously make hundreds of decisions a day. Your loved one was not allowed any and has forgotten how to make them. He was not even allowed to choose what he would wear for the day; or, if had the choice, it was extremely limited. Do not overwhelm him with choice.
The key to helping is staying supportive, but not smothering. He has to learn to make decisions and to choose in order to survive and grow in the new world, but he doesn't have to learn it overnight. Think in terms of small and slow steps. Let him set the pace, and be there for him if he demands too much of himself. He will want it all, the sensations he lost, the colors he lost, the sounds, the feels, and the music. He can have it all, but in smaller doses. Wide-open spaces will scare him at first. Start with just watching a sunset to draw his attention up and out. A short walk in the neighborhood or light picnic in his own backyard. When you see he is comfortable, then expand to something a bit larger, a bit longer.
Don't ask him what he wants you to cook for dinner. Ask him if there's anything in particular that he would like, that he's been craving.
Don't be surprised if some of his old favorites have changed and if he no longer likes macaroni and cheese or turkey or meat loaf or pancakes. Those are prison staples and he is sick of them, even if you’re "home-cooked" was special. Again, give him small choices to make. “Do you want corn or green beans?”
He will want to do those things that have been denied him all those years, social functions, entertainment, etc. Help him to realize the dream, but be cautious in how you do it.
Do not take him to a movie the first weeks home. Dark, enclosed places where people surround him will cause those flight/fight instincts to kick in. Rent a video instead.
Do not take him to car races. Try watching it on TV first to let him get accustomed to the noise.
Do not take him to a restaurant for a full meal. Start by going into a smaller, comfortable, familiar place and order just dessert or a beverage. Menus are really intimidating and ordering dinner is overwhelming: soup or salad, what kind of soup or what dressing on the salad, what kind of potato, mashed, baked, fried or rice, rolls or toast, what to drink with dinner.
Don't ever come up behind him quietly and put your arms around him for a quick hug, or tap on his shoulder. The flight/fight instinct will immediately kick in. Make a little noise before entering a room he's in or call out to him.
Encourage him to come into another room by inviting him in with you.
Do not take him shopping unless he asks to go. Under no circumstances, take him into a shopping mall the first few weeks home. Start out with small convenience stores or grocery stores.
Don't ask him what he wants, ask him what brand of something he was using or liked. If you put him in front of two dozen brands of toothpaste, he'll freeze.
Watch him closely at shopping expeditions. If he begins to sweat or starts looking around more and more, pull him out of the store. He's on overload.
Encourage his participation in household decisions by asking his opinion, but do not pressure him to make the decision.
I know that you have longed to have the burden shared and it can be, but first he must learn to trust his decision-making skills and feel comfortable with airing his opinion. It's been a long time since he was asked and a long time since he was trusted.
Prepare for him coming home by having a new wardrobe ready for him, preferably colors he wasn't allowed to wear. But keep the wardrobe small, six or seven shirts at most. He won't be able to decide what to wear if he is overwhelmed with too much choice.
Help him with the choice by mentioning that you particularly like a shirt or that he looks good in jeans, or you will be going someplace that tennis shoes might be comfortable. Don't tell him what to wear, but give hints or encouragement that will help.
Even though he is out of prison, there is still a long string tying him to prison (i.e., fines owed, parole officers to check in with, boxes on forms that ask if he ever committed a felony). The reality is that being a prisoner forever marks him and you both and he must accept that reality. Reduce the stress levels of the string by reducing the situation to an annoyance rather than an obstacle. Acknowledge that it is annoying, but then so are paying taxes, getting a driver's license, showing ID to cash a check. Reinforce the idea that such a requirement is simply a task to be done and has little importance in day-to-day life.
Help your loved one to redefine himself. He has lost "Who I Am," and must now start over; only this time he must do so while carrying a backpack full of shame, guilt, pain, anger and confusion.
Don't remind him of who or what he used to be. Encourage him to look for what he wants to be. Let him know there are no limits to what he can be.
Expect periods of silence from him when he has nothing to say. Expect periods when he won't shut up and you want to scream because you are tired of the prison stories.
Expect evasions and direct lies because they have become a necessary part of his living system.
Expect and understand where these things are coming from, but do not change your life to accommodate these things.
When he is silent, respect his silence but do not retreat into it with him. When he won't stop talking about prison, understand that he is feeling particularly lost and redirect his thoughts to the here and now.
Call him on the lies and let him know there is no reason to lie. Remember, however, that he is used to instant and harsh punishment and will, unreasonably, expect the same from you.
Human touch was one of the first things taken away from him. His only experience with human touch during his imprisonment has been in a negative way or fleeting moments during visits. He will crave touch and be repelled by it at the same time.
Watch for his comfort level and adjust to it and help him to expand. Never touch him when he is unaware of your presence.
Do not sacrifice yourself and your needs to accommodate him. It will only add to the burden of guilt he is feeling. Let him know that even though the transition to home is tough, you are working on it together, and expect him to be a partner in the work. Guide, do not nag.
Make opportunities for him to be a partner, and then even if you want to take it out of his hands and do it yourself, sit back and allow him to do it.
Be honest, be patient, be loving and, most importantly, be human. Don’t try to be perfect and do not try to be strong all the time. He needs to be needed. He needs to give love as well as receive it. He needs to know he is of value to you and the creation. He needs to relearn pride and faith. He needs to be judged on his actions now and for the past to become a whisper of memory. Help him to find his spirituality. Help him to see the world beyond himself and his place in the world through his spirituality.
Be the living example by which he can learn. Show compassion, honor, trust, respect and fairness. These are qualities that he has not seen for a long time and they cannot be described in words. By your example, show him the way home.
Each situation, each human, is different. But there is one truth for all. Your loved one has been wounded by the horror of being locked up. What must take place is a healing, not just for him but for you, too. It will happen. It takes time, love, and absolute faith, but it does happen. I urge you to be aware of what he has been through and where he has been, but not to allow your home to become another prison. Help him to clean the prison out of him and replace that empty void with home. Do not allow the prison to run your lives any longer by letting him and yourself stay imprisoned within your heart and minds. In order to be free, you both must feel free. Remind yourselves constantly that you are free!
I speak from the voice of experience. Not only have I supported First Nation Iron House Spiritual Circles, but also I married a prisoner. After seven years in prison (six of which we shared together), my husband has been home for five years and we could not be happier. We talk about the insanity of the first few months home. We talked of the love that had grown and strengthened through the years, and the most exciting part was that we talked about the mundane, routine parts of life and made plans for the future, building a new fence, getting a puppy as a companion for our grown dog, rebuilding our lodge and renewing our wedding vows next Spring. All that I had hoped for and wished for has come to be. My husband is truly home and we are stronger and more united for the experience. We truly value love, companionship, partnership and each other. We do not take for granted the small precious moments of life. The healing is still well underway for us both. Keep your faith and your hope. It will be a good day, and a good life.
Storm Reyes, Community Activist, mother, wife, is happily married to an ex-offender. Ms. Reyes has served on many public and private advisory committees in the Washington State area and co-founded Eagle Lodge Ministries to offer support and services for ex-offenders and community awareness.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION STANDARD CONDITIONS OF RELEASE For U.S. Code Offenders
1. You shall go directly to the district shown on this CERTIFICATE OF RELEASE (unless released to the custody of other authorities). Within three days after your arrival, you shall report to your parole advisor if you have one, and the United States Probation Officer whose name appears on this Certificate. If in any emergency you are unable to contact your parole advisor, or your Probation Officer or the United States Probation Office, you shall communicate with the United States Parole Commission, Department of Justice, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815.
2. If you are released to the custody of other authorities, and after your release from physical custody of such authorities, you are unable to report to the United States Probation Officer to whom you are assigned within three days, you shall report instead to the nearest United States Probation Officer.
3. You shall not leave the limits fixed by this CERTIFICATE OF RELEASE without written permission from your Probation Officer.
4. You shall notify your Probation Officer within 2 days of any change in your place of residence.
5. You shall make a complete and truthful written report (on a form provided for that purpose) to your Probation Officer between the first and third day of each month, and on the final day of parole. You shall also report to your Probation Officer at other times as your Probation Officer directs, providing complete and truthful information.
6. You shall not violate any law. Nor shall you associate with persons engaged in criminal activity. If you are arrested or questioned by a law-enforcement officer, you shall within 2 days report such contact to your Probation Officer or the United States Probation Office.
7. You shall not enter into any agreement to act as an "informer" or special agent for any law-enforcement agency.
8. You shall work regularly unless excused by your Probation Officer, and support your legal dependents, if any, to the best of your ability. You shall report within 2 days to your Probation Officer any changes in employment.
9. You shall not drink alcoholic beverages to excess. You shall not purchase, possess, use or administer marijuana or narcotic or other habit-forming or dangerous drugs, unless prescribed or advised by a physician. You shall not frequent places where such drugs are illegally sold, dispensed, used or given away.
10. You shall not associate with persons who have a criminal record unless you have permission of your Probation Officer.
11. You shall not possess a firearm/ammunition or other dangerous weapons.
12. You shall permit confiscation by your Probation Officer of any materials which your Probation Officer believes may constitute contraband in your possession and which your Probation Officer observes in plain view in your residence, place of business or occupation, vehicle(s) or on your person.
13. You shall make a diligent effort to satisfy any fine, restitution order, court costs or assessment, and/or court ordered child support or alimony payment that has been, or may be, imposed, and shall provide such financial information as may be requested, by your Probation Officer, relevant to the payment of the obligation. If unable to pay the obligation in one sum, you will cooperate with your Probation Officer in establishing an installment payment schedule.
14. You shall submit to a drug test whenever ordered by your Probation Officer.
Federal Parole FAQs
The following Frequently asked questions and answers about parole are from the U.S. Department of Justice Parole Commission website (http://www.usdoj.gov: 80/index.html), and pertain to Federal prisoners (anyone committed of a Federal offenses and served time in Federal prison). Individual states have their own versions of conditions and requirements for parole or conditional release, however, they do not differ that much. Use the contact information in Appendix “A” or “B” of this book to request parole information specific to where you live or intend to live.
What is Parole?
When someone is paroled, they serve part of their sentence under the supervision of their community. The law says that the U.S. Parole Commission may grant parole if (a) the inmate has substantially observed the rules of the institution; (b) release would not depreciate the seriousness of the offense or promote disrespect for the law; and (c) release would not jeopardize the public welfare.
Parole has a three-fold purpose: (1) through the assistance of the United States Probation Officer, a parolee may obtain help with problems concerning employment, residence, finances, or other personal problems which often trouble a person trying to adjust to life upon release from prison; (2) parole protects society because it helps former prisoners get established in the community and thus prevents many situations in which they might commit a new offense; and (3) parole prevents needless imprisonment of those who are not likely to commit further crime and who meet the criteria for parole. While in the community, supervision will be oriented toward reintegrating the offender as a productive member of society.
How does the Commission determine if someone is eligible for Parole?
A criminal offender becomes eligible for parole according to the type of sentence received from the court. The "parole eligibility date" is the earliest time the offender might be paroled. If the Parole Commission decides to grant parole, it will set the date of release, but the date must be on or after the "eligibility" date.
The process begins at sentencing. Unless the court has specified a minimum time for the offender to serve, or has imposed an "indeterminate" type of sentence, parole eligibility occurs upon completion of one-third of the term. If an offender is serving a life sentence or a term or terms of 30 years or more he or she will become eligible for parole after 10 years.
How does one apply for parole?
To apply for parole, the offender has to fill out and sign an application furnished by a case manager. Everyone except those committed under juvenile delinquency procedures who wish to be considered for parole must complete a parole application.
In some instances, the offender may not wish to apply for parole – if this is the case, the offender is provided a waiver as opposed to an application.
How is one notified of hearings?
A case manager notifies the offender when his or her parole hearing is scheduled. The initial hearing will usually take place within a few months after arrival at the institution. The only exception to this rule is if the offender is serving a minimum term of ten years or more, in which case the initial hearing will be scheduled six month before the completion of ten years.
What happens at a parole hearing?
A parole hearing is an opportunity for the offender to present his or her side of the story, and express their own thoughts as to why they feel they should be paroled. Many subjects come up during the course of the hearing. These typically include the details of the offense, prior criminal history, the guidelines which the Commission uses in making their determination, the offender’s accomplishments in the correctional facility, details of a release plan, and any problems the offender has had to meet in the past and is likely to face again in the future.
The Commission is interested in both the public safety as well as the needs of the individual.
When is a decision made about parole?
A Parole Examiner reviews the case file before the hearing occurs. A recommendation relative to parole is made at the conclusion of the hearing and in most instances, the offender is notified of that recommendation. If a recommendation is not provided, the Examiner may refer the case to the Commission’s Office for further review. All recommendations made at the hearing are only tentative as another examiner review is required before a final decision is made. Usually it takes about 21 days for the offender to receive a Notice of Action advising them of the official decision.
Is it possible to appeal the parole decision?
Certainly. Within 30 days of the date on the Notice of Action, the offender may file an appeal with the National Appeals Board. Case Managers will have a copy of the form used for appeal. After receiving the appeal, the National Appeals Board may affirm, reverse or modify the Commission’s decision, or may order a new hearing. A decision by the National Appeals Board is final.
Decisions made under the District of Columbia are not eligible for the administrative appeal process. These prisoners must appeal through D.C. Superior Court.
What kind of job can a parolee get?
In most cases, any legitimate employment is normally acceptable. Full time work is preferable to part time work; work done continuously at one location is generally better than work in which it is necessary to travel. It is expected that the job will provide enough income to support dependents. In some cases, the Parole Commission may prohibit certain types of employment. If, for example, the original offense behavior involved abuse of a certain occupational position and there might be a likelihood of further criminal conduct if returned to such employment, than that employment may be denied.
What does a parolee do if he or she has no home to go to?
The U.S. Parole Commission is interested in parolees having a suitable place to live. Sometimes this is with family or relatives, but in other cases, the Commission may consider an independent living agreement more suitable to the parolees – and the community’s – needs. There is no rigid rule that requires parolees to reside in their home, if they have one, or that they cannot be paroled if they do not.
If I have more questions, whom do I ask?
You may contact the U.S. Parole Commission by writing us at 5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420 Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286. We would like to help you answer any further questions you may have.
Is parole the same as probation?
No. Probation is a period of supervision in the community imposed by the court as an alternative to imprisonment. Parole is the release of a prisoner to supervision in the community after he/she has completed a part of his/her sentence in an institution.
Can an offender be allowed to see his or her file before the hearing?
The Notice of Hearing form will tell the offender that he or she may review their institutional file before the hearing. Certain parts of the file are exempted by law from being shown. Such exempted parts will be summarized, however, and the summary furnished to the offender if asked. If the offender asks to see his or her file, or part of it, he or she may inspect any documents, except the exempted ones, which the Parole Commission uses as a basis for its decision about parole. The Case Manager can explain what types of material are exempted by law, and can assist in requesting files for review. He/she can also discuss the possibility of reviewing the offender’s file at some time other than just before the parole hearing.
May the offender bring someone into the hearing room?
The Notice of Hearing form provides a place for the offender to name someone as his or her representative at the hearing. The representative should be given timely prior notice by the offender to allow adequate time to prepare for the hearing. This representative would, with the final approval of the examiner conducting the hearing, ordinarily be allowed to enter the hearing room and make a brief statement on the offender’s behalf. The offender may elect to waive representation by initialing the appropriate section on the Notice of Hearing form. Permission must be granted from this individual, and he or she must be given enough time to plan to attend the hearing. The representative may enter the hearing room with the offender and make a brief statement on his or her behalf. Should the offender decide not to have a representative, he or she will be asked to initial the waiver section on the Notice of Hearing form.
Who else will be present at the parole hearing?
Generally, a Hearing Examiner from the Parole Commission will conduct the hearing. The Case Manager generally also will attend the hearing. Observers may ask to come into the hearing room occasionally. These are usually members of the institution staff or personnel of the Parole Commission. A person who wishes to speak in opposition to an offender’s parole may also appear at the hearing.
Are the hearings recorded?
Yes, the interview is recorded. The offender may request a copy of the recording by submitting a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Does the judge or other court official make a recommendation to the Commission regarding parole?
The Judge who sentenced the criminal offender, the Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the case and the defense attorney may make recommendations regarding parole. These recommendations are generally submitted to the Commission before the first hearing and become a part of the material the Commission considers. The Judge's recommendation and the defense attorney's recommendation will be made on Form AO-235. The Assistant United States Attorney's recommendation will be on Form USA-792.
Does the Hearing Examiner usually follow the recommendations made by the institution staff?
Institution staff recommendations if provided are given thoughtful consideration but are not always followed, as they are only one of the several factors considered by the Examiner and the Commission.
How do any of the following situations affect parole?
Institution misconduct. The prisoner is expected to observe the rules of the institution in which confined to be eligible for parole. Misconduct resulting in forfeited or withheld good time indicates that institution rules have not been observed and is a poor argument for parole, but does not automatically disqualify the applicant from Commission consideration.
Presence of a detainer. A detainer does not of itself constitute a basis to deny parole. A prisoner may be paroled to a detainer indicating an actual release to the custody of another jurisdiction. If the detainer is dropped, the parole will occur, with an approved plan, directly to the community. In some circumstances, parole may be to the detainer only and if the detainer is dropped, further action regarding parole will not occur, pending additional review by the Commission.
Alien subject to deportation. In some cases, the Commission grants parole on condition that the alien be deported and remain outside the United States. In other cases, the Commission merely grants parole to an immigration detainer. In such instances, the individual does not leave the institution until the immigration officials are ready to receive him.
Case in court on appeal. All persons have the right by law to appeal their conviction and sentence. The Parole Commission recognizes this right and the existence of a court appeal has no bearing whatever on parole decisions.
Will parole be granted if there is an unpaid committed fine?
A fine for which an offender is to "stand committed" must be taken care of in some way before the Commission can take action on the "time portion" of the sentence. The usual way to take care of a fine is to pay it. If an offender cannot do so, he or she may apply to take an "indigent prisoner's oath" if the offender can show that there are no funds or assets in his or her possession. A Case Manager can help the offender apply to take this oath. If the offender can neither pay the fine nor qualify for the oath, the Warden or Magistrate might determine that the offender needs all of his or her money or assets to support dependents. In some cases, the offender may be able to pay part of the fine and the Warden or Magistrate will determine that he or she needs the remainder of the assets for the support of dependents. In such cases, however, the offender still has a civil requirement to pay the fine at some later date.
If the offender has sufficient money or assets to pay the committed fine but fails to do so, the offender will not be paroled.
Are reasons provided if parole is not granted?
Yes, the Hearing Examiner will discuss the recommendation with the offender at the time of the hearing, and the Notice of Action will state the reasons for the decision.
If parole is not granted at the initial hearing, will the offender be given another hearing?
By law, if a sentence is less than seven years the offender will be granted another hearing after 18 months from the time of his or her last hearing. If the sentence is seven years or more the next hearing is scheduled 24 months from the time of the last hearing. The first Statutory Interim Hearing may be delayed until the docket preceding eligibility if there is more than 18 or 24 months between the initial hearing and the eligibility date.
If the Commission does not parole the offender earlier, can he or she be paroled later on near the end of the term?
If the sentence is five years or longer, the law provides that the offender will be granted mandatory parole by the Commission when he or she has served two-thirds of the term or terms, unless the Commission makes a finding either that (1) the offender has seriously or frequently violated institution rules and regulations, or (2) there is a reasonable probability that the offender will commit a further crime. If an offender is serving a life term or consecutive terms, a Case Manager can explain the law in relation to parole at the two-thirds point.
Will an offender be given a hearing just before the "two-thirds" date?
If an offender is serving a sentence of five years or larger, the case will be reviewed on the record shortly before the "two-thirds" date arrives. If the offender is not granted mandatory parole based on a "record review," he or she will be scheduled for a hearing when the Hearing Examiner next visits the institution. A decision about parole will then follow that hearing.
May an offender waive parole at the two-thirds point of the sentence?
Yes. If the offender chooses to waive parole at this point, release will occur at the mandatory release date of the sentence.
If someone is paroled after two-thirds of a sentence, must they comply with the parole conditions like any other parolee?
Yes. A parolee must abide by the conditions of release, and parole may be revoked if any of them are violated. Parolees will remain under supervision until the expiration of his or her sentence unless the Commission terminates supervision earlier. The reduction of supervision time by 180 days provided by the mandatory release laws does not apply to this type of parole.
If parole is not granted to an offender at any time during his or her sentence, when does he or she get out?
Unless the offender has a forfeited all statutory good time, he or she will be released via Mandatory Release. The Mandatory Release date is computed by the institution officials according to how much statutory good time the offender is entitled to and how much "extra" good time is earned. The law states that a mandatory release "shall upon release be treated as if released on parole and shall be subject to all provisions of the law relating to the parole of United States prisoners until the expiration of the maximum term or terms for which he was sentenced, less 180 days.” This means a parolee should have a release plan as if he or she were going out on parole. The releasee will be supervised by a United States Probation Officer as if on parolee until 180 days before the expiration date of the sentence provided the releasee does not violate the conditions of release, in which case the Commission retains jurisdiction to the original full term date of the sentence.
If an offender is not paroled and has less than 180 days left on a sentence when they are released, they will be released without supervision. However, if a special parole term is being served, supervision will terminate at the full term date. The 180-day date does not apply.
If the Parole Commission grants parole, when will a parolee be released?
If a parolee’s parole plan is complete and has been approved by the Parole Commission following an investigation by the United States Probation Officer, release will be on the date set by the Commission (assuming, of course, that the parole is not retarded or rescinded for misconduct or for some other reason). If the plan is not approved, release may be delayed regardless of the effective date which the Commission set when it granted parole.
What type of release plan must be in order?
A release plan should normally include a suitable residence and a verified offer of employment. A parole advisor is necessary only if the Commission or the United States Probation Officer specifically says that one should be obtained. There are exceptions. For example, a definite job is sometimes neither necessary nor possible. The Commission always considers the individual's situation and may waive this or any other standard requirement if it sees fit to do so. On the other hand, special requirements may be added and must be met before release.
How can a parolee get a job while still in the institution?
Relatives, friends, and social agencies in the community where a parolee wishes to live or former employers are likely contacts. If a parolee is released through a Community Corrections Center this is also a time during which he or she may find employment.
The United States Probation Officer to whom the parolee reports investigates job offers, and that officer reports back to the institution and the Parole Commission.
Must a parolee return to the community from which he or she came?
In most instances, a parolee will be released to the Judicial District in which he or she was convicted or the Judicial District of legal residence. The parolee’s former community may offer the best opportunity for the help and support that will be needed. If the Commission believes, however, that the chance of success on parole is greater in another community, it may order residence in a different Judicial District.
After a parolee is released, to whom and when does the parole report?
Unless a parolee is released to a detainer, he or she will go to an approved residence and report within three days to the United States Probation Office shown on the release certificate. The parolee will continue to report to a Probation Officer in person as instructed by the officer. In addition, monthly written reports are required as long as parolees remain under supervision on your sentence.
Upon what conditions is a parolee released on parole or mandatory release?
The conditions are indicated on the release certificate presented to the parolee when he or she is released or on the Notice of Action.
If the prisoner is denied parole, he or she will be released at a date provided by deducting the sum total of good time days from the full term date. The conditions of supervision will be specified on the certificate of mandatory release.
May any of the conditions of release be changed by the Commission?
If a parolee believes the conditions on the Certificate of Release are unfair, he or she may ask the Case Manager for an appeal form and submit it to the Regional Commissioner within 30 days after release. The Commission will consider the appeal and the parolee will be notified of the decision. While the appeal is pending, the parolee must continue to abide by the conditions imposed.
After a parolee is released, may any of the conditions be changed? Can additional ones be imposed?
The Probation Officer or the Commission itself may propose changing or adding to the conditions. The parolee will be notified of any such proposal and will be allowed up to ten days to make any written comments to the Commission. A form for this purpose is made available to the parolee, and it can be used for comments. The parolee may write directly to the Commission (with a copy to his or her Probation Officer) if he or she wishes to have any of the conditions amended or deleted.
May a parolee be required to go into a halfway house or undergo some course of treatment for drug or alcohol use while under supervision?
Federal law permits the Commission to require a parolee to participate in any of the programs mentioned for all or part of the time under supervision. In most cases, a parolee will be notified in advance and may submit comments about the proposal to the Commission before the final decision is made.
May a parolee own, use or possess firearms after they are released?
Except in very rare situations, federal law forbids anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony from possessing firearms or ammunition. Generally, therefore, parolees will not be permitted to own or possess a firearm or ammunition.
How long will a parolee remain under supervision after his or her release?
Parolees will remain under the jurisdiction of the Parole Commission and under supervision of a Probation Officer until the maximum expiration date of the sentence, unless the Commission terminates supervision earlier. If the parolee’s supervision is terminated early, he or she will be given a Certificate of Early Termination.
If an offender is not paroled, but instead mandatorily released, supervision automatically ends 180 days before the maximum expiration date, unless the Commission terminates supervision earlier and issues a Certificate of Early Termination.
How does the Commission decide whether to terminate supervision early?
A Probation Officer will submit an annual report to the Commission about a parolee’s adjustment in the community. After reviewing the report including any recommendations, the Commission may decide to terminate parolee supervision early. By law, the Commission must consider a case after the second year in the community (not counting any time spent in confinement since release), and every year thereafter.
After five years of supervision in the community the Commission must terminate a parolee’s supervision unless it finds that there is a likelihood that you will engage in conduct violating any law. Any finding of that nature will be made only after the parolee has had an opportunity for a personal hearing. A parolee may choose to waive the hearing if so desired.
What happens if a parolee violates the conditions of parole or mandatory release?
A Probation Officer reports the violation to the Parole Commission and a Commissioner determines the appropriate sanctions, including the possibility of issuance of an arrest warrant or a summons for the parolee to appear at a hearing. The Probation Officer is required to report any and all violations, but may recommend that the parolee be continued under supervision. The Probation Officer’s recommendation is one of the factors considered by the Commission in its decision.
Who issues a warrant or summons if a parolee violates parole or mandatory release?
Only a Parole Commissioner may issue a warrant or a summons for a violation of the conditions of release.
After a warrant or summons is issued, what happens then?
The parolee is either taken into custody or summoned to appear at a hearing. Custody is usually in the nearest government approved jail or detention center. Unless the offender has been convicted of a new offense, a Probation Officer will personally advise the offender of his or her legal rights and conduct a preliminary interview. The Probation Officer will discuss the charges which have been placed against the offender and then submit a report to the Commission. In this report, the Probation Officer will recommend whether there is "probable cause" to believe that a violation has occurred and whether the offender should be held in custody pending a revocation hearing or be reinstated to supervision. The Probation Officer will advise the offender of the recommendation and the basis for it.
After the Probation Officer's report is received, the Regional Commissioner will either order the parolee reinstated to supervision or order him or her held for a revocation hearing by a Hearing Examiner.
If a parolee is convicted of a new offense, they are not entitled to a preliminary interview because the conviction is sufficient evidence that they did violate the conditions of release. In such case, the offender may be transported without delay to a federal institution for a revocation hearing.
May a parolee have an attorney at a preliminary interview and revocation hearing?
Yes, parolees are entitled to an attorney of their choice (or have one appointed by the court if one cannot be afforded). It is the responsibility of the parolee to keep his or her attorney advised as to the time and place of the hearing.
Where are the revocation hearings held?
Generally, revocation hearings are held after the offender is returned to a federal institution. Such institutional hearings are held within 90 days from the time the offender was taken into custody based on the Commission's warrant.
If there are sufficient reasons to do so, the Commission may order a parolee’s revocation hearing held in his or her own community or in the community where he or she was arrested. The offender will be entitled to such a hearing only if the offender denies violating the conditions of release, and if the offender was not convicted of a new crime. If a local revocation hearing is requested, the parolee must complete a form. There is a penalty for false answers on this form, and a denial of violation must be honestly made. Local revocation hearings are generally held within 60 days from the date the Regional Commissioner finds "probable cause" that parole or mandatory release was violated.
If the offender’s hearing is held in a Federal institution rather than locally, may he or she also have an attorney and witnesses?
The offender is not entitled to appointed counsel, but may secure an attorney at his own expense. The attorney can act only in the capacity of a representative.
If the Commission revokes parole or mandatory release, does a parolee get any credit on the sentence for the time spent under supervision?
Generally, if an offender is convicted of a new law violation, he or she is not entitled to credit for any of the time spent under supervision unless serving a YCA or NARA commitment. Also, there is no credit given for any time a parolee intentionally failed to respond or report to a Probation Officer or after a parolee has absconded from his or her area and the Probation Officer did not know where he or she was living. For violation of any of the other noncriminal conditions, a parolee generally will be credited for all of the time spent under supervision in the community.
Federal & Military Parole/Probation Agencies
The U.S. Parole Commission is an independent agency within the Department of Justice that has jurisdiction over all decisions to grant, deny, or revoke parole for Federal Offenders, (anyone convicted of a United States or Federal Code Offense).
U.S. Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286
Ph: 1-301-492-5990 Fax: 1-301-442-6699
All offenders whom the U.S. Parole Commission has released on probation, parole, or conditional release are supervised by U.S. probation officers with offices in Federal District Courts throughout the United States.
1st Circuit Court
1 Courthouse Way
Boston, MA 02210
Maine, Rhode Island Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico
2nd Circuit Court
40 Foley Square
Clerks Office; Rm 1702
New York, NY 10007
Connecticut, New York, Vermont
3rd Circuit Court
United States Courthouse
601 Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Pennsylvania, West New York
4th Circuit Court
501 U.S. Courthouse Annex
1100 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia
5th Circuit Court
600 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas
6th Circuit Court
Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
100 E. Fifth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-3988
Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee
7th Circuit Court
219 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
8th Circuit Court
Thomas F. Eagleton Court House
111 S. 10TH St.
St. Louis, M 63102
Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
9th Circuit Court
Post Office Box 193939
San Francisco, CA 94119-3939
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Island, Oregon, Washington
10th Circuit Court
Byron White U.S. Courthouse
1823 Stout Street
Denver, CO 80257
Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming
11th Circuit Court
E. P. Tuttle Court Building
56 Forsyth Street N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Alabama, Florida, Georgia
U.S. Air Force Clemency and
1535 Command Drive EE Wing, 3rd Floor
Andrews AFB, Maryland 20762-7002
U.S. Army Clemency and Parole Board
1941 Jefferson Davis Hway CCM4
Arlington, VA 22202
U.S. Naval Clemency and Parole Board
901 M. St, SE, Bldg. 36
Washington, DC 20374
State Parole Offices
Each state controls it’s own prison and parole system and the rules and structure vary. Some states have abolished their parole systems and prisoners must serve their entire sentence, or the majority of their sentence, before being released. In some states the prisons, the parole boards/commission, and the supervising parole officers are from separate departments within the state. For instance, in New Jersey the Department of Corrections (DOC) (who rules the prisons), and the Parole Board (who decides who is/is not granted parole, who is denied parole, and whose parole is revoked. New Jersey parole officers are from the Bureau of Parole, which is under the DOC.
Alabama Board of Parole and Pardons
50 North Ripley Street
Gordon Parsons Building
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Alaska Board of Parole
P.O. Box 112000
Arizona Board of Executive Clemency
1645 W. Jefferson, Suite 326
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Arizona Board of Executive Clemency
P.O. Box 34085
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
California Board of Prison Terms
428 J Street, Sixth Floor
Colorado Board of Parole
1600 W. 24th Street
Connecticut Board of Parole
21 Grand Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06116
Delaware Board of Parole
Carvel State Building
820 North French Street Wilmington, Delaware
Florida Parole Commission
2601 Blairstone Road
Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole
2 Martin Luther King Drive
Fifth Floor, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Hawaii Paroling Authority
1177 Alakea Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Idaho Commission for Pardons and Parole
3125 S. Shoshone Street
Boise, Idaho 83705
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 E. Madison
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Indiana Parole Board
302 W. Washington
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Iowa Board of Parole
420 Keo Way (Holmer-Murphy Bldg.)
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Kansas Parole Board
Landon State Office Building
900 S.W. Jackson
Topeka, Kansas 66612
Kentucky Parole Board
500 State Office Building
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Louisiana Board of Parole
P.O. Box 94304, Capital Station
Baton Rouge, LA 79804
Maine Parole Board
State House Station 111
Augusta, Maine 04333
Maryland Parole Commission
Plaza Office Center, Suite 307
6776 Reistertown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21215
Massachusetts Parole Board
27-43 Wormwood Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02210
Michigan Parole Board
Grandview Plaza Building
P.O. Box 30003
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Minnesota Office of Adult Release
1450 Energy Park Drive
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
Mississippi Parole Board
201 W. Capitol Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
Missouri Board of Probation and Parole
1511 Christy Drive
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
Nebraska Board of Parole
P.O. Box 94754
State House Station
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509
Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners
1445 Hot Springs Road
Carson City, Nevada 89711
New Hampshire Adult Parole Authority
New Hampshire State Prison
P.O. Box 14
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
New Jersey State Parole Board
P.O. Box 862, Whittelsey Road
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
New Mexico Adult Parole Board
4351 State Road 14
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
New York Board of Parole
97 Central Avenue
Albany, New York 12206
North Carolina Post-Release and Parole Commission
P.O. Box 29540
2020 Yonge Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27626
North Dakota Parole Board
P.O. Box 370
Dickinson, ND 58602
Ohio Parole Board
1050 Freeway Drive North
Columbus, Ohio 43229
Oklahoma Board of Parole
4040 N. Lincoln, Suite 219
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Oregon Board of Parole and Post Prison Supervision
2575 Center Street, N.E.
Salem, Oregon 97310
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole
1101 S. Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104
Rhode Island Parole Board
1 Center Place
Providence, RI 02903
South Carolina Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
P.O. Box 50666
Columbia, SC 29250
South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole
P.O. Box 911
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57117
Tennessee Board of Paroles
404 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, Tennessee 37219
Price Daniel Building
209 West 14th
Austin, Texas 78701
Utah Board of Pardons and Parole
448 East, 6400 South, #300
Murray, Utah 84107
Vermont Board of Parole
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676
Virginia Parole Board
6900 Atmore Drive
Richmond, Virginia 23225
Washington Intermediate Sentence Review Board
4713 Sixth Avenue, S.E.
Olympia, WA 98504
Wisconsin Parole Commission
P.O. Box 7925
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
Wyoming Board of Parole
1614 Gannett Drive
Riverton, Wyoming 82501
District of Columbia (U.S. Parole Commission)
5550 Friendship Blvd
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
American Probation and Parole Association
2760 Research Park Drive
Lexington, KY 40511Phone:
Guam Territorial Parole Board
P.O. Box 3236
Agana, Guam 96910
Puerto Rico Board of Parole
P.O. Box 40945, Minillas Station
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00940
Virgin Islands Board of Parole
P.O. Box 2668
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00801
Canada National Parole Board
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A OR1
410 Laurier Ave. W.
Ottawa, Ontario KIAORI