What Happens When a Man Comes Home From Jail

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The United States releases over 10,000 ex-prisoners from state and federal prisons weekly. This high volume of returnees reflects a tremendous growth in the U.S. prison population.

If you have an incarcerated loved one, what should you expect when they return home? How do you prepare for their return from jail? What things should you do when they are finally released?

This article discusses what to expect when your loved one comes home from incarceration. It lists the preparations you must do before they return to your home.

This article also enumerates the activities you should consider when a family member returns home from jail.

Seeing a family member return home from jail can bring mixed emotions to you and your loved ones. But more than anything, having your newly released family member adjust to a new life after prison can bring numerous challenges.

By learning what happens when your loved one is released from jail, you can prepare for what will follow after they leave prison.

LookUpInmate.org’s online inmate records checker provides a convenient search tool to find your incarcerated family members, including those about to be released soon. The lookup resource aims to help you prepare for the day your loved one comes back home.

Coming Home From Jail: The Aftermath

If you have a loved one who recently got out of prison, their new life after serving their sentence behind bars will likely not be the same as before they went to jail. Prisoners encounter numerous challenges outside jail; you must also prepare for those situations.

Some of these former inmates have special conditions they must comply with as part of an out-of-custody program. Failure to meet those terms can send them back to prison.

Another concern of ex-prisoners is their criminal record, which can adversely affect their work and financial opportunities.

Emotional Stages of Incarceration

How your relationship will change after your loved one comes home from prison may depend on how much you understand what he went through there. According to experts, inmates undergo five emotional stages of incarceration:

  • Denial: The inmate denies that they did something wrong to land them in jail.
  • Anger: The prisoner who can no longer deny their circumstances may vent their frustration by getting angry, often, at other inmates.
  • Bargaining: The inmate starts reflecting on the reasons for their incarceration.
  • Despair: The offender who has reflected on their situation may become sad and discouraged and starts secluding themselves.
  • Acceptance: The incarcerated individual who has accepted their imprisonment may change their behavior, like being numb to what is happening around them or becoming incredibly nice to others.

Relationships After Incarceration

Upon hearing the news about your loved one’s release date, you may experience mixed emotions like excitement, anxiety, and nervousness while waiting for your loved one to return home.

Considering these emotions, one of the ways to handle your relationship after your loved one returns from incarceration is to take the time to discuss how your relationship dynamic will proceed going forward.

Adjusting to Life After Jail

After your loved one gets out of jail for the first time, they will likely experience many emotions adjusting to their new life. You will probably deal with daily routine adjustments, behavioral changes, and financial challenges.

Consider doing the following to make your and your loved one’s lives manageable after jail:

  • Communicate with each other: Talk to your loved one about things that matter, like what you feel, what you need, and how your relationship will move forward.
  • Avoid negative influences: Do what you can to avoid or minimize an ex-offender’s exposure to negative influences like addictions and substance abuse. These influences may lead to recidivism (tendency to reoffend) that can get the individual rearrested.
  • Attend a therapy session: Consider attending therapies with your loved one to help calm their thoughts and make sound decisions.

What to Expect When Your Man Comes Home From Prison

If you have a husband or lover returning home from prison, he may be unaware of the changes that happened in the outside world while he was away. Expect the following scenarios so that you can prepare for them when he comes home:

Returning Home Is Scary Even When the World Is Ordinary

If your loved one gets released from a harsh prison environment, they may find it challenging to adjust to an ordinary outside world that has changed since their imprisonment.

They may not know how to respond to the cultural challenges outside prison. Help them adjust to their newfound freedom so they become less fearful of the outside world.

His Life Has Been Completely Disrupted

Culture shock is a normal process in which a newly released prisoner becomes aware of the differences in customs and values between their home culture and the new one. Common feelings include anxiety, confusion, anger, and homesickness.

Your newly released loved one may also experience culture shock. Adjusting can take time, effort, and support from their family so that they can adapt to their post-jail life more comfortably.

Expect Him to Challenge Your Way of Life

Your loved one may impose some things in your home based on their experiences behind bars. They may want to assert authority over the household or rearrange the items inside the house.

Be prepared to talk about these things and adjust your routines when your loved ones return home.

He Will Need Space

Your loved one may feel that their time in prison passes slowly and methodically, so their pace may differ from yours. Because time outside prison may seem fast-paced, your loved one may need time and space to process the changes around them.

How Do You Prepare for Someone Coming Home From Jail?

Suppose you receive news that your loved one will soon be released from jail. Here are some ways to prepare for their eventual return home:

Start Preparing for Their Return Even When They Are Still on the Inside

Preparing for your loved one’s eventual return from jail can take time, so consider getting ready early, even while they are still in prison. You can do so by showing positive emotions on every visit. Your feelings can give them hope that they have something to look forward to eagerly after prison.

Get Things Ready for Their Day of Return, but Keep It Low-Key

Your early visits and phone calls with your loved one in prison can give you ideas about how to plan their welcome in a way that reflects their desires.

Fulfilling those desires, like having dinner in a fancy restaurant or watching the city lights at a park, can mean so much to them and may help them more likely to adjust to life after prison.

Consider Staying Apart for a Few Months Before Moving In Together

If your loved one had been sharing their jail cell with other prisoners, they might want privacy they never had for a long time. Once they leave prison, you should consider that they may want their own space for at least a few months.

Do Not Minimize Their Experience

If your incarcerated loved one comes home, they are bringing their experience from prison with them. These experiences can bring significant changes in your home, so do not dismiss them outright. Instead, work with those experiences.

Do Not Forget How They Feel

Former prisoners may develop new behaviors and feelings during their time in jail. Expect them to feel anxiety, excitement, fear, and anticipation once they get out. Consider these feelings as you help your loved ones adjust to their post-prison life.

Do Not Forget to Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is essential to successful reentry into the community as it can help prevent or minimize the chances for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and missteps.

For example, talking to your loved one about house rules and setting limits on finances can help reduce confusion.

Do Not Pressure Them and Avoid Trigger Points

Some former inmates may prefer avoiding crowded places like malls as these locations may overwhelm them. Avoid pressuring them to go to these places and take the slow and easy approach.

Mentally Prepare Yourself That You Will Put Up With Many Things

As you and your loved one adjust your lives together, you must also expect to encounter conflicts and difficulties. Mentally preparing yourself can help you weather the challenges of your loved one’s reentry.

Things to Do When Your Man Gets Out of Jail

Once your loved one has been freed from prison, consider doing the following to help make their after-prison experience more fulfilling and less stressful:

Spend Time Indoors When You Hang Out With Him

For the first few months after your loved one’s release, avoid places that may heighten their nervousness and anxiety. Instead, consider spending more time indoors before going to places like restaurants, cinemas, or shopping malls.

Move at His Pace and Keep Intimacy to the Barest Minimum

If your loved one is a spouse or lover imprisoned for a long time, intimacy may be a delicate topic for them. Take things slowly and be patient with them. This way, you give your loved one time to adjust so you can become intimate comfortably.

Surprise Him With a Gift for No Reason

Find creative ways to give your loved ones meaningful gifts they would otherwise not have received in prison. Simple gestures like having breakfast in bed or sneaking a gift by their bedside can go a long way to make them feel welcome.

Help Him De-stress

When your loved one becomes stressed due to the pressure of adjusting to their new life, help them de-stress by offering assistance with something they may need. Scheduling a relaxation activity like a spa or massage session can also help with de-stressing.

Help Him Prepare for a Healthy Reentry

Being institutionalized in prison can cause your incarcerated loved one to feel incapable of making the right decisions or become too dependent on you. Try to firmly but kindly maintain your boundaries and show them that you believe they can make responsible and competent decisions.

Help Him Become a Better Person

Your loved one may have picked up certain behaviors in prison to survive. Some of these behaviors may not always be positive. Help them unlearn those harmful habits by setting boundaries and clarifying that such behaviors are not right.

Go for Counseling or Therapy

Consider going with your loved one to a therapy session while they are still in prison. Once free, they should go for counseling one or two months after release.

Allowing your loved one to talk about their time in jail and how they are adjusting to the outside world may help them evaluate their emotions. Counseling can also help you strengthen your relationship and discover how to help your loved one recover.

Celebrate Special Occasions With Him

Remember to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions with your newly freed loved one to make them feel special.

Always Tell Him You Love Him

If your loved one wonders why you still spend time with them despite their incarceration, affirming your love for them can help make them feel more hopeful and alive.

Affirming these feelings can also show that you still love them despite what happened. Telling them to love and forgive themself can help in the recovery process.

5 Tips to Help a Family Member Reintegrate After Their Release From Prison

One of the challenges former prisoners face is their reintegration into the community. Here are five suggestions to help them reintegrate successfully:

Provide Housing, if Possible

The American Psychological Association (APA) mentioned that the risk of not finding housing is so high that some reentering individuals become homeless upon release.

Consider providing your loved one with housing or assistance to support them after they get out of jail.

Focus on Socialization

One study showed that isolation and social withdrawal were among incarceration’s most common negative impacts.

For a successful reentry into the free world, former inmates should experience positive social experiences. Hosting a dinner with family members or friends to welcome your loved one’s return is a great way to start.

Facilitate Productivity

Ask your loved one to help with household chores to help facilitate productivity. Afterward, you can give them more complex tasks like pursuing a hobby, finding a job, or volunteering in nonprofit organizations.

Provide Structure, but Encourage Independence

Correctional facilities often require inmates to surrender their freedom and autonomy to make their decisions, causing them to suppress their independence and self-initiative.

You can help your loved one regain their independence and autonomy by providing structure like work schedules and meal times in their daily routine.

Watch Out for Mental Health Warning Signs

Reintegrating into society after incarceration can be stressful for former prisoners. Additionally, rejection from friends, family, and community may cause prisoners returning home to face anxiety, depression, or self-doubt.

If you believe your loved one is showing signs of mental health issues or symptoms of any mental illness, consult a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.

How Ex-prisoners Should Spend the First 72 Hours After Parole

Some believe the first 72 hours after parole can make or break an individual. Here are some ways you can help your loved one succeed in reentering society and staying out of jail:

Paying It Forward

Former prisoners who succeed in their reentry to become members of society may form networks of formerly incarcerated people to help other inmates released on parole find a place to stay and find work.

The First 72 Hours Is Crucial

What happens during the first 72 hours of a former prisoner’s release can determine whether they will return to prison. Factors that make this situation challenging include leaving jail with no money and having a criminal record that can affect housing and employment prospects.

Solutions for Unique Problems  

Some establishments that understand former prisoners’ problems can provide solutions specific to these individuals’ needs, like offering a rent-free stay for a few months or making referrals to potential employers.

Struggling to Meet Demand

Organizations that may help newly released prisoners, like The First 72+, often get contacted by large numbers of inmates on parole to the point where they struggle with catering to demand. 

Some of these organizations let parolees sleep on couches while trying to raise funds to set up demountable (removable) rooms.

The Release From Jail

A prisoner can get out of jail after completing their sentence or is granted early release through parole or statutory release (release after serving two-thirds of the sentence).


Offenders in the United States of America (USA) released early from federal or state prisons through parole must comply with the following conditions ordered by the court or parole board:

  • Maintaining a residence and employment
  • Avoiding criminal activity and contact with victims
  • Keeping away from alcohol and drug use
  • Attending alcohol or drug recovery meetings
  • Not leaving a specific geographic area without the parole officer’s permission

Social Problems

In the U.S., many employers do criminal background checks on applicants. If you have a criminal record, landing a job can be challenging.

Despite programs that help past offenders with employment, most employers still expect employees to have no criminal background.

Limited housing and homelessness are also issues prisoners face. Because of the high demand for housing, some former inmates may be placed on a long waitlist, leaving many at risk of being homeless.


  1. How does jail change a man?

Scientists believe prisoners who adjust to prison life may have low levels of openness, extroversion, and agreeableness while scoring higher on conscientiousness, including self-discipline and orderliness.

  1. Is having a relationship with an inmate or prisoner advisable?

Concerned individuals believe having a relationship with an inmate is not advisable. If you want to start a relationship with a prisoner, be open to the possibility that they may take advantage of your time and resources with no genuine interest or affection toward you.

  1. Do jail relationships last?

Some prison officials estimate that about 80% of married men end their marriages within their first year in jail. For women, the rate is almost 100%.

  1. Is it advisable to date someone who just got out of jail?

Concerned individuals advise against dating someone who recently got out of jail because you may become just a crutch (support) instead of a loved partner. Instead, let them settle down until their life normalizes before getting into a relationship.

  1. What do prisoners get upon release, and do prisoners get money when released?

Prisoners receive a discharge certificate upon release and, in some states, receive money. For example, in South Dakota, inmates released from an institution can receive a minimum of $50 in the inmate’s account.


  1. Prisoners and Prisoner Re-Entry
  2. Culture Shock
  3. From prisons to communities: Confronting re-entry challenges and social inequality
  4. The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment
  5. Frequent Questions

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