Getting Reentry Ready: Things You Can Do While Still in Prison*

  • Set a Goal: Defining a goal is an excellent way to bring about motivation, focus and self-confidence. See “Setting a Goal” for more information and tips on how to set realistic and achievable goals.
  • Obtain Critical Documents: Securing forms of identification is one of the best things that you can do for yourself prior to release. Having a valid form of State identification, a birth certificate and Social Security information will make it easier for you to immediately apply for housing, public benefits, employment opportunities and more. See “Obtain Critical Documents” for information on how to obtain these documents prior to your release!

  • Secure Housing: Housing is critical for reentry success. You should organize a place to stay for your first night post-release and beyond. Your best option may be a close friend or relative, or it could be a transitional shelter. Either way, stable housing will allow you to work on the other steps of the reentry process while you also build a reputation as a reliable, responsible tenant. The housing section in this Guide helps you explore your options, and it is important to learn about housing availability in the county to which you are releasing. See “Housing” for information on housing resources.

  • Understand Your Probation/Parole: Staying in contact with your probation or parole officer is essential to building your reputation outside of prison. If you are responsible and respectful toward your supervision officer, you increase your chance of obtaining a job, finding a place to live, and being released from supervision. This Guide breaks down the types of supervision in Oregon, as well as the requirements, conditions, and common barriers to success with supervision officers. The Guide also discusses the different supervision styles that you may encounter as each county (and each officer) varies in approach.

  • Be Aware of Your Court-Ordered Debt: Unfortunately, most involvement with the criminal justice system results in fines and fees. As a result, you may owe money to the state government. This debt (money owed) could be linked to a specific crime, administrative fee, or restitution (paying the court or injured party back for a crime committed). The “Court-Ordered Debt” section of the Guide provides information to help you obtain your financial records prior to release. It also gives you tools to help you understand the debts you may owe, to whom, and how to plan for repayment (even if you don’t have the means to pay now).

  • For Veterans Only: Prior to release, it is important that you speak with the Oregon Health Care for Reentry Veterans Specialist. See “Veterans” for more information.

*This checklist is not exhaustive.