Prison life can be difficult, but so can life for South Carolina residents once they are no longer behind bars. After your loved one’s release from prison, he or she may face challenges you would never have imagined. Some of these difficulties can be enough to make a former prisoner commit a crime again and end up back behind bars.

According to the National Association of Social Workers, roughly half of all released prisoners go on to recidivate and return to prison within three years of their release. This may be due to problems in society or to the lifestyle your relative may have become accustomed to while incarcerated. The challenges of reintegration often include the following:

  • A criminal record making it difficult to find a job that will pay the bills
  • The social stigma of having served prison time making the person feel embarrassed, ashamed or angry
  • Feelings of isolation and abandonment if family members and friends have moved on
  • Peer pressure from old friends in the drug or theft scene
  • Having outdated job skills and few resources for education and employment training
  • Suffering from physical problems or mental health issues

If your loved one spent a significant time in prison, he or she may experience the added shock of a dramatically changed culture and technology upon release. For example, those who were imprisoned in the 1980s may feel overwhelmed and confused by big box stores like Walmart or by social media culture.

As you might expect, your relative may have a strong desire to change his or her life and not return to prison, but many outside influences can make reintegration extremely difficult. It may help to search for resources on job training and health care for released inmates, as well as have an advocate to represent the rights of your loved one.