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What happens when a man comes home from jail?

Coming home from jail

For many prisoners, leaving prison is a fresh start, the first step in their new journey of freedom. But, unfortunately, the transition from prisoner to a member of society is not as smooth, especially after long-term incarceration. Integrating into society takes time, and it comes with lots of stress and anxiety to the point some individuals return to criminal behavior. It is different for everyone from coming home from jail.

No one wants to hear that their journey to freedom will be uphill, especially with how far the criminal justice system has come. But the reality is there are problems both societal and legal; one should anticipate when they come home from jail. Apart from marginalization, ex-federal inmates face other effects of imprisonment during society reintegration, and here we will look at some of them.


The release from jail


The release from jail comes after completing one’s sentence; however, there are instances where the accused is granted early release. There are three types of early release inmates are eligible for; day parole, full parole, and statutory release. Generally, all inmates are eligible for early release, although the Parole Board decides on who. Parole allows them to live in the community but under particular conditions.




When an accused has served part or all their sentence, they are released back into society. However, only those on parole (released to complete part of the sentence in society) are released under supervision and follow specific conditions in the community. Although supervised releases in Canada do not apply to all penalties, statutory releases allow offenders to leave jail after serving two-thirds of their sentence. After their release, a parole officer supervises the remaining sentence. If the released individual is out on parole, they legally must;

  • Abide by the law and keep the peace in the community.
  • Remain within their geographical boundaries, whether city or state.
  • Regularly report to their assigned parole officer.
  • Reside in a halfway house or community correctional center where they must abide by the curfew time.
  • Abstain from using drugs and alcohol and agree to urinary and drug tests administered by the parole officer.


Social problems


Integration into society is never easy for inmates, especially those who grew accustomed to the routine in correctional facilities. That aside, the stigma from the community brings up more challenges for the prisoners. Here are some social hurdles ex-inmates encounter as they attempt to join the community.

  • Family is a great support system for most parolees as they try to transition to the community; however, this also causes a lot of strain on the family. The financial burden and the emotional burden can be a lot to take on.
  • At most job interviews disclosing whether you have been a convict is part of the hiring questions. Some employers go as far as conducting a criminal record check before they can hire you.
  • Adoption in cases where one has a proven criminal record is impossible because all adoption processes in Canada include a vulnerable sector search, whereby the application never goes through if you have a criminal record.
  • Applying for citizenship in Canada is impossible as the Canadian government does not grant citizenship to people with criminal records. So any dreams or hope you have of getting residency or citizenship in Canada die with your incarceration.




Many convicted offenders in the USA get an early release from prison, mostly on parole or statutory release. During this time, which is approximately 19 months, the offender must legally comply with court-ordered conditions.

  • Regularly check in with their parole or probation officer on scheduled days.
  • Conform to electronic monitoring when asked and adhere to curfew given.
  • Remaining within the designated state and not changing your residence or employment, more so without permission.
  • Staying away from people with criminal records.
  • Avoid entering any drinking establishment and refraining from drug and alcohol use. The offender should also take drug tests under the supervision of the probation officer.
  • Abiding by all state and local laws.
  • Pay supervision fees and take part in intensive supervision programs like transitional housing.
  • Stay away from the victims of the crime and pay them restitution on time.
  • Finding a regular job and maintaining employment throughout the parole period.


Social problems


  • The USA has strict immigration laws when it comes to people with criminal records. If your sentence is related to a moral turpitude offense, whether one or more, come to five years, you may be unable to enter the United States.
  • If you have a criminal record, you may encounter some issues with employment. Most employers will do a criminal record check; thus, only when you have no history of a criminal felony will they hire you for the job.
  • Although there are programs to help inmates with employment, there is still a problem with ex-prisoners finding work. Most employers expect their employees without a criminal background which is a hurdle for past offenders.
  • With housing resources limited, prisoners may have issues with housing and homelessness. Most accommodation is either in high demand or has a long list which leaves many inmates at the risk of being homeless.
  • When dealing with family or child custodial issues, your criminal record is considered during the case and may be presented as evidence of bad conduct and impact the judge’s ruling.




Returning home from jail can be challenging for the prisoner and their family. It can be tough to find your bearings after getting accustomed to the structure and routine of the correctional center, especially if you have had a long sentence. When inmates are released from jail, whether on full parole or statutory release, there are several legalities one should meet in Australia.

  • Acquire current identification documents that way, they will be able to access a range of services from banking to medical care once they join the community.
  • Ensure contact with the parole officer who works with the Community Offender Services to ensure the individual keeps to the set conditions of their release.
  • Periodically, ex-offenders are expected to submit to alcohol and under drugs tests as part of their release conditions.
  • Attend all compulsory meetings that are part of your out-of-prison requirements; this includes appointments with the bank, doctor, pharmacy, doctor, and Centrelink.


Social problems

  • After their release, most ex-inmates have a hard time fitting into society, and the loneliness causes some to fall back into their old habits. To alleviate these feelings of alienation, one can join support programs that help ex-prisoners transition smoothly into society.
  • Housing and homelessness are the number one issues for ex-prisoners coming home from jail in Australia. Those without family to support them can reach out to the public housing authority for temporary accommodation, which lasts only three days. Without a permanent address, one could go back to prison.
  • Mental illness is a problem affecting most prison populations in Australia; after release, inmates have to battle with this problem in society, putting them in a critical position.
  • The lack of or shortage of resources can weigh on the ex-inmates’ progress of getting back into society. Although there are programs that can assist, the family, in most cases, has a hard time footing all the resources needed to help their loved ones.
  • Securing employment is a big problem for most offenders as some employers are not open to hiring someone with a criminal record. Many people are also contending with so many social problems that getting a job falls last in their out-of-jail priorities.


Coming home from jail aftermath

Life after prison does not always go hand in hand with newfound freedom. Many prisoners are hardly prepared to start a new life outside the jail, and as a result, they encounter many challenges. As prisoners deal with these problems, there are special conditions they must keep up with as part of their out-of-custody program, which failure to do so could land them back in jail. In addition, even with a completed sentence, a criminal record still hangs on the heads of many ex-prisoners. That part of their lives does not automatically go away. What does this mean for offenders? The criminal justice system in different countries has a significant role in preparing inmates for life outside; this includes offering counsel and equipping them with resources valuable in the community; that way, their transition to society is streamlined.

Want to read more about similar topics? Check out our Criminal Law section for more great articles!

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