Yes, this one is for ex-offenders. Summer is unfortunately high time for crime, often for a lack of better things to do. However, many are looking to get themselves back on track and be productive members of society. To do so, ex-offenders often need guidance on where to look and how to keep themselves out of trouble. Depending on how long they were incarcerated, this could be a challenge.
1. Make staying out of trouble a priority.
When you decide you want a different lifestyle--away from crime--stick to it. Sit down and figure out a plan for where you want to see yourself by the end of the year. Work with your parole officer to see what options you have as resources. Do everything you can to stay committed. You'll need to keep a strict schedule of tasks, including job search and even volunteering. This will not only help you make the change you want, but you could also be an asset to someone else--saving them from the wrong path.
2. Polish your look.
Of course we have to make a fashion note, but it is important. You must polish your look. This will not only separate you from the look of your former self, but also contribute to your fresh start. Consider a haircut. Make sure your clothes fit properly, and remember there's style at all price points.
3. Cut ties.
This one is major. When starting a new life away from crime, it is high and likely you will have to cut some of the ties you had in your former days. It may be tough because loyalty runs strong, however, what's best is best. You don't want to be guilty by association, and although anyone seeing or knowing of criminal activity should report it to police, you may not feel comfortable in a position to do so. Focus on your renewed goals, and build a new, crime-free network.
4. Get positive reinforcement.
In cutting your ties, you'll need to get support from non-criminal sources. Start with family if possible, and continue searching from there, for people with the same positive goals and values you have. Talk with other people in your situation and keep a circle which motivates you.
5. Take advantage of local resources.
There are more resources out there than you think. Start with your parole officer. They should be able to refer you to local programming to help you keep your goals on track. Connect with community groups as well. This will help you promote positivity in your neighborhood, and help others do the same. See what can be done about your record. Some offenses can be sealed, making getting a job a bit easier. Know this process takes at least 4 months, so get started as soon as possible. If your record cannot be sealed, look into programs for ex-offenders. Many organizations offer work to ex-offenders turning their lives around. This is a good start to getting back in the job market. Check with your local legislators for available programming. Talk to lawyers if possible. If you know any lawyers (or hey, meet some) chat with them about keeping clean and resources helpful to your situation.
6. Don't give up.
This journey will have some challenges, but they will make your results all the more worth it. Stay focused on your new lifestyle, and remember the options you have in making it work. The more you work at it, the better things will get.
Best of luck!