Following the rules and regulations of your parole may sometimes feel like a burden, but many prisoners dream of one day making parole. These guidelines exist in part to help you readjust to life outside prison and to improve yourself. The tips in this article will help parolees understand what to expect and how to navigate your parole.
General Parole Compliance
Comply With All Conditions of Your Parole
Carefully observe the General and Special Conditions of your Parole. If there are any conditions that you do not understand, ask your parole agent to explain them to you. Don’t try to test or beat the system; you will not come out on top. You must meet and follow these predetermined conditions to maintain your parole status.
Your parole will likely place you on a curfew. Make certain to comply with your curfews as repeated curfew violations reflect poorly on your record. Aside from substance abuse, curfew is the most common violation parole agents see.
Ankle Tether Tips
If you’re required to wear a GPS tether, keep in mind that MDOC Control will contact you intermittently regarding tether compliance. When this occurs, be courteous with the caller regardless of when they call. It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that you will receive these calls in the middle of the night.
Parolees with ankle monitors may feel self-conscious about the GPS tether. Although it is important to always remember that you are wearing a tether, it is not necessary to advertise this fact. If you feel the need, you can buy several pairs of high, loosely-knit socks, often called “slouch socks,” to cover your tether.
Tips for Sexual Misconduct Parolees
The law requires parolees with criminal sexual conduct charges to register on the public sex offender register. If this applies to you, register as soon as possible, preferably on the first day of the month during which you are required to register. If you have any major life changes, like obtaining a new job or moving, report the changes to the register in a timely fashion. It is crucial to adhere to all restrictions and requirements.
Parole Agent Relations
Always communicate readily, clearly, and most importantly, honestly with your parole agent. Develop a rapport with them based on your openness, honesty and compliance. Beyond helping you maintain your parole status, a positive agent relationship is helpful if you ever need to make a special request.
If you suffer a relapse or do something that could violate your parole, visit your parole agent in-person. Be upfront about your behavior and ask for help if you need it. Your parole officer is just as interested in your success as you are, and they can refer you to helpful resources if you need them.
Remember, always be honest and forthright with your parole officer. Honesty is definitely the best policy.
Readjusting to the World Outside
Readjusting to life outside of prison takes time, but it’s entirely possible to find your place. As a rough guideline, think about it as one month of readjustment for every year of your incarceration. For example, if you were down for five years, expect that it’ll take around 5-6 months to get comfortable with living on the outside. This number is different for everyone, so if it takes more time to acclimate don’t feel discouraged. You’ll get there when you’re ready, but here are a few things that may help the process.
Create a Routine
Developing a daily routine and maintaining it can help make your life predictable and decrease some of your anxiety. If you have required classes or workshops, be sure to attend them and do the work. Not only are these designed to help you acclimate and improve yourself, but the class’ facilitator is part of your parole review team. Course participation and expressing interest in the class can help you win your instructor’s support.
Maintain Any Religious Practices
If you’re religious, continue to practice your religion and attend services regularly. Your religious community can provide you with help and encouragement. Share your life situation with your pastor or another religious leader and look to community members for support when you need it.
Strive to Stay Positive
In difficult moments, it may seem like the MDOC is all about punishment. Dwelling on this type of thinking is not helpful and will have a negative effect. Turn your focus on being a good citizen. Remember that the end goal is self-improvement and rehabilitation.
Being granted parole means you’ve already demonstrated your ability to conduct yourself well. You’ve shown improvement, initiative and independence. It’s a responsibility that you’ve earned, so strive to maintain dignity and self-control. Even if it sometimes feels like a burden, try to keep in mind that parole is a privilege and an amazing opportunity.
Once you’ve successfully completed your parole, celebrate responsibly with loved ones. Even when your parole is over, continue to exhibit the same prosocial traits and self-discipline that you did while on parole. You’ll build a successful life on the outside.