For many prison inmates, leaving prison and entering the regular world can be a difficult experience. Many inmates are not well-equipped to lead productive lives after they are released. Many programs and organizations focus on teaching life skills to inmates. If involved with one of these programs, it is important to teach a large variety of skills to inmates to better facilitate their eventual reintegration into society.
Introduce inmates to communication skills. Ask them to create a list of good and bad values and behaviors. Ask inmates to create posters and compare lists to see what behaviors came up the most for the good lists. Ask inmates to work together to create a final list of good values and behaviors and then make copies of the list and hang them around the classroom to act as reminders.
Allow inmates to take turns using a computer to find public transportation information. Teach inmates how to look for job and housing listings online. Print out a list of Internet cafes and hand them out to inmates. Teaching inmates basic computer skills can help them quickly feel at ease in the fast-paced outside world.
Create simple budget spreadsheets and pass them out to inmates. Ask inmates to fill out budgets using estimated salary and housing values. Teach inmates the importance of budgeting for essentials and emergency funds before spending on luxuries.
Provide sample checkbooks for inmates to use. Practice simple math skills and balancing checkbooks. Discuss the consequences of bouncing checks and ways to avoid late fees and other charges.
Gather and hand out information on local volunteer organizations and educational programs for released inmates. Encourage inmates to explore vocational schools, community colleges and other post-release educational opportunities.
Remember to ask inmates for feedback on topics. Engage inmates in discussions to reinforce the learning process.
Do not assume that all inmates do not know the topics you are covering. Ask inmates to help teach the class in order to avoid offending those with more experience.
Justin Davis has worked in psychological and health research since 2008, focusing his writing on health, home and cultural activities. He is an active and contributing member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society and Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society. Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Delaware.