How to Use This Guide

    For loved ones and service providers helping people who are
    about to be released or have been recently released from custody.

    Click here to view this page for people in custody or recently released.

    Returning to the community from incarceration can be overwhelming. There are many challenges people who have been in jail or prison may face during this transitional time, including finding safe and stable housing, securing employment, addressing health problems, and making sure they have the community support they need. This is a guide to the resources throughout Orange County that can help you address the challenges of re-entry. It includes general information about things like planning for your release and maintaining your health, as well as lists of specific programs such as residential treatment programs and community health clinics.

    Where to start:

    Studies have proven that the first 72 hours after release from jail or prison are crucial in laying the foundation for a successful re-entry into the community. With this in mind, we have included a 72 Hour Checklist specifically created for those being released from custody in Orange County, CA.  It can be printed and used as a starting point to help prepare for the transition from custody to community.  
    We have also included a Re-Entry Transition Plan to be filled out according to the specific needs of the individual being released. This tool can be used to help organize ideas about the kinds of resources that will best meet the needs of the person re-entering, and to help decide which services will be most important/urgent to access upon release.

    What people re-entering may want to keep in mind:

    • When trying to find the resources that are right for you, it is important to be patient and be polite.
    • Many times the result of one letter, phone call or visit with the people who are trying to help you may just be a new number to try, but keep in mind that each resource you contact is a positive step towards your success. Patience and politeness will open doors for you as you plan your transition.   
    • Be patient and polite with yourself too! Contact resources, and follow up with community organizations to make sure your transition is as organized and seamless as possible, so that you can avoid added stress. (And check out our page of Helpful Checklists to use as you work to stay healthy, maintain your mental/emotional health, and gather important documents).

    Where to get more information:

    Public libraries are an important resource available in almost every community. Modern libraries generally offer anyone in the public use of a few computers and free internet access. Internet access makes it much easier to get information about local services, and librarians are trained to help people find information.

    If you have a specific interest, a librarian may also be able to help you find books and other information that will help. Printing and copying are often available for a small fee. Libraries also offer educational events and post flyers about what’s going on in the community. Click here for an online list of Orange County public libraries.

    Remember also that you can always contact 2-1-1 to speak to a trained specialist who can help you find up-to-date information on the services available to you!

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