My Favorite Re-Entry Resources

Over the years, I have checked out numerous inmate publications looking for any type of reentry guides, services and so forth that could be beneficial. The most common one was resume writing and a few offer services such as setting up a pre-release address where you could have your mail sent to.

Well, the problem with those types of services (with the exception of the resume writing) is that it is against policy. So, I tend to avoid those as much as possible. You are trying to better yourself, not get in trouble a few months before you leave, right?

I have however found two main resources that are extremely helpful. The first is Fair Shake. Fair Shake was founded by an ex-felon who has really strived to turn herself around. Sue is a wonderful, highly spirited person who goes to bat for all of those who are needing re-entry help. In fact, her site, www.fairshake.net provides a huge set of resources that although you probably cannot access if you are in prison, your family could for you. In addition, you can contact her and ask for a reentry guide that she will gladly send to you. This is a 30+ page book that offers tips on several things from resume writing, interview tips, how to use a computer and more.

If you would like to contact Fair Shake, here is their contact information. Also, be advised that they do accept Corrlinks requests as well.

Fair Shake
PO Box 63
Westby, WI 54667
outreach@fairshake.net

The second resource is a rather interesting idea. It is from a company called RZero. While my people have not had a chance to review their site, they offer a free service on Corrlinks where you can obtain contact information for numerous businesses, courts and more, as well as search for jobs.

The only problem with this is that you have to follow the rules EXACTLY or it will not work. First, you have to add them on Corrlinks at info@rzero.org. After that, the first thing you should do is send a new message to them with just a period (.) in the subject line and the world HELP (all caps) in the body and hit Send. That’s it! They will reply back with the instructions on how to use their service. I am however going to share those instructions with you here, but if you forget or lose this email, that is all you have to do.

The next thing is to get a list of commonly requested resources for a particular area. Let’s say you were looking for information in Atlanta. You would again put just a period in the subject line and in the body type:

GET Atlanta, GA

or you could also put

GET 30303

You can only put one request per email and it can only be one line. You can search by city and state name or by zip code.

The next part is to locate a business or a type of business. This is similar to searching the yellow pages. So, let’s say you were trying to find criminal attorneys in Springfield, Missouri. You would put the period in the subject line and in the body type:

FIND criminal attorneys IN Springfield, MO

or you could also put

FIND criminal attorneys IN 65801

Again, you can search by city name or by zip code. However, the first word in the request MUST be capitalized and the word IN before the location has to be capitalized as well.

Finally, the most interesting feature is the job search. You can actually perform a search for a job as well. So, let’s say you had training as an electrician and were moving to Fort Smith, Arkansas. You could type the following in the body of the email:

JOBS electrician IN Fort Smith, AR

or

JOBS electrician IN 72901

These can provide some very helpful reentry resources. However, you have to follow the rules exactly or you will get an error message. Also, be patient with the results. Sometimes you get them back in an hour or so, sometimes it takes a few days. If you send out multiple requests, you will usually get the results back in a few days with all the results combined into one email message.

The last option is for when you get out, but can be very helpful. You can simply place a toll free call by dialing 2-1-1. This will not work on prison phones, but if you are looking for resources once you get out, this is a very simple feature.

There are plenty of other reentry resources out there, but these three seem to be the most popular ones. I hope you are able to find some luck with these and be able to find success upon reentry as well.

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