WILKES PRISON MINISTRY
REENTRY LIFE PLAN
This is a much needed program which gives inmates or those on probation, parole or pretrial release, an overview of issues and problems they will face upon reentry into society. The classes help them focus on these areas, look at them realistically, and formulate some goals and plans for addressing these issues and problems. We recommend that students be within 6-12 months of release before enrolling in the program.
Though we teach basic Biblical principles and life skills for dealing with the practical aspect of life, this program is not evangelistic. We want participants to be comfortable in the class no matter what religious faith they adhere to. During the orientation and interview of each applicant, we do make it clear that the principles we teach are Biblically based. This has not created a problem in the classes thus far. We have had participants with other religious beliefs go through this program. We do challenge them to examine their own spiritual base for life to be sure of their final source of truth.
The ReEntry Life Plan covers the following topics:
- Learning to make wise choices
- Setting realistic goals
- Building self esteem
- Looking at problems to be faced and finding solutions
- Discovering talents and assessing job skills
- How to find a job
- Filling out a job application
- Writing a resume and cover letter
- Learning job interview skills and practicing a job interview
- Developing a good "home plan"
- Budgeting and wise use of credit
- Building positive relationships with family and others
- Importance of support groups and how to find them
- Partnership teams (mentors)
- Automobile insurance, driver's license and taxes
- Community Services: Social Services, Mental Health, Health Department
- The importance of a spiritual base in life
The classes end with a two hour Family Seminar. Each participant may invite the person(s) he has the closest relationship with. We teach some effective communication skills and then allow them to practice these skills in conversation about what the participant has learned in the ReEntry classes. They also talk about how the family member can help and encourage the participant to put into practice what has been taught. If permissible, a meal is served and the occasion ends in a Celebration Ceremony where the graduates have an opportunity to share what the ReEntry classes have meant to them.
The proof of this course's usefulness is shown by the following statistics:
- The average national recidivism (the rate for the return of inmates back to prison within three years of their release) is 80% to 90%.
- The recidivism for inmates participating in the ReEntry Life Program is less than 10%.