Life after Prison: Is There Hope?

Daniel (not his real name) is a 25-year-old drug dealer who served time and has been released to go back to the community. He stated that he has reformed and the process inside the prison has brought him to realization that he wants his normal and peaceful life back. But the problem now is, he’s having some doubts if he will ever function and regain his normal life back.


What is recidivism?

When offenders get released from prison, some of them are not successful in the reformation process and regaining their normal lives. They tend to go back to their usual illegal and criminal acts, gets arrested again, and eventually be reconvicted and returned to prison. This is called recidivism


Not all prisoners go back to their families and communities joyful and with positive outlook. The Bureau of Justice Statistics have reported that after three years of release, about two-thirds or 67.8% of these released prisoners gets rearrested and go back to prison. Reasons identified to the relapse of criminal behavior can be attributed not only to one single cause or factor. Experts have identified several factors that can cause the prisoners to return to criminal life: 

  • Lack of socialization. This could be from the notion that persons coming out from prisons have little or no friends aside from their acquaintances that are also related to criminal behavior. Therefore, they would initiate contact to their previous friends and will influence them again to commit illegal acts leading to recidivism.
  • Lack of job training. Prisoners sometimes don’t get the chance to undergo job skills training after they are released from prison. This can lead to returning to their usual activities that they are more comfortable with and much of these activities entail illegal acts of attaining financial resources.
  • Lack of employment opportunity or inability to obtain employment. This can be due to the stigma that these persons have been convicted due to a crime committed and has served time as penalty. Employers are sometimes afraid that these persons have high tendency of committing a crime again. As such, they would not get considered for the job.
  • Inability to reintegrate into society after returning from prison. The success of the person to go back to their communities can be assessed on how well he/she interacts and behave appropriately. This can be seen if he has obtained a job, increase social connections, and ability to interact with the rest of the community. For most of the returnees, this aspect is very difficult to achieve.
  • Antisocial attitudes. On a personal level, prisoners tend to possess innate antisocial attitude that despite of the reformation process in the prison, they will always negate with the norms of society and will continue to act irresponsibly.
  • Restlessness and impulsiveness. Being impatient and lacking the ability to control and critically think what will be the consequence of their actions will bring.
  • Association with other criminals. Apparently, some prisoners will have a hard time to dissociate themselves from their previous gangs or groups. The moment they know that the prisoner has gotten out, they can trace him and will bring him back to criminal life.
  • Lack of education. Statistically, prisoners are under-educated community compared to the general population. Despite of the ongoing education they can receive while serving time, some have lower reading levels for their ages, lack writing and math skills. With the lacking knowledge and skills to help them find a job, they would go back to the easiest way that they can think of, and that’s committing criminal acts.
  • Lack of support. This factor can mean lack of family support, true and good friends, and community resources to help the offender regain his normal life.
  • Substance abuse. Continuation of the offender to use illicit drugs and even alcohol intoxication can lead him back to doing illegal behaviors.
  • Neglect or abuse of parents or guardians. In the case of juvenile delinquents, the absence of a responsible parent or guardian is a major factor to lead them to negative peers and bad influence to commit criminal acts.

So, is there hope?

Even though there is still an ongoing stigma on prisoners going back to their communities, Daniel is hopeful that in due time and process, he will be able to live a normal and peaceful life. There are several strategies that can help him in attaining this goal:



  • Continuing education. The purpose of imprisonment is not only to penalize the person for the crime that he committed, but to help in the reformation of behavior, attitude and outlook in life. There are prison education programs and vocational training programs that will help prepare the prisoners gain skills and knowledge to help them in their job seeking and eventually obtaining a job.
  • Professional help to undergo therapy and counselling. Psychologists believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy can help in rewiring the brain, thereby changing how the person think and behave appropriately.
  • Ongoing support. Family, social and community support are crucial on the system of recovery of the prisoner. An effective parole and probation system is the best answer to achieve this.


How to Help a Kleptomaniac

Have you imagined walking in the groceries with your family member or a loved-one and suddenly you caught them stealing? Have you seen somebody who looked rich but they sneakily steal an item and didn’t pay for it? These are some common instances where kleptomaniacs behave. Kleptomania also known as Klopemania is defined as an impulse control disorder wherein the person has the inability to control himself or refrain from stealing items other than personal or financial gains. Most of these behaviors happen during late adolescent and young adulthood years, happening more in women than in men. The condition was highly sensationalized because some famous Hollywood stars were caught or known to be doing such behaviors. 


Now, what if they are your significant others or someone you love and care so much? The incident could create various reactions, of course – ranging from shock or disbelief, humiliation, anger, and frustration. Is there a cure for this condition? What would be the best thing to do to help them resolve or control these impulses from happening again. Here are some of the helpful ways in order to help them recognize and gain control.

  • Promoting awareness or assisting the individual recognize the signs and symptoms. It is helpful to know the signs, symptoms including behaviors that a kleptomaniac manifests. Some of them are: anxiety leading to theft, depression, gratifying feelings after theft, stealing without planning and developing remorse after committing it. Identifying triggers is also significant. There are underlying issues that a kleptomaniac is battling such as anxiety, depression or feelings of inadequacy that are left unresolved. Helping them identify these predisposing factors would mean the root cause will be eliminated. Equipping oneself of the knowledge and available resources that can be utilized about kleptomania. 



  • Keep a diary or journal to record events pertaining to kleptomania. Write down the date, place, object stolen, and the trigger factor that lead to such behavior. This way, the person will be able to review and reflect on the episodes that he/she has done stealing and will help in the plan of not doing it again. 



  • Approach them in a very calm, non-judgmental and helpful manner. Let them feel that you are there to help them avoid getting into problems or legal trouble. Explain the consequences of their actions. You can emphasize that it may lead to arrest, loss of a job and trust issues. 


  • Suggest the variety of treatment choices that can help them. According to psychiatrists, kleptomania can be a psychological condition originating from obsessive-compulsive disorders and will be requiring professional help. As such, kleptomaniacs may then require attending therapies specific to help and manage their conditions. Some of these therapies are behavior modification therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamics. Talking to a psychologist who can diagnose and suggest other treatment modalities. Also, support groups can be beneficial. This is where they can see compassion and encouragement for a successful recovery. 


  • Encourage the person to choose a hobby to occupy his time. In that way, he can divert his impulses into a more productive activity. They can focus their energy into making crafts, discovering new hobbies they have never tried before or meeting new set people that can inspire them to discover new things. Emphasize to them that gaining focus and being an asset in the community will do them more good.


Therefore, creating a non-judgmental, compassionate and helpful attitude around kleptomaniacs are vital into resolving this condition. It is also very important that we actively make them feel that we are involved in their process of overcoming this. A consistent communication regarding their development and keeping track of their progress. Overcoming this battle is a team effort.

Reasons Behind Troubled Teens

It has come to our attention lately that several criminal behaviors like shooting incidents at school that resulted to taking of quite a lot of innocent lives, were made by troubled teens. This pattern of behavior starts to be unbecoming for teenagers nowadays that made us think and look for reasons behind the minds of troubled teens.


The adolescent period seems to be the most complex stage of development wherein the teenager finds him/herself in a crossroad struggling to find and confront his/her real self and at the same time establishing relationships with other peers. It is expected that many adolescents are emotionally labile. They often experience mood swings and without any apparent reasons would resort to rebellion or acting out behaviors.

Identified causes

One thing is for sure – there is no single cause to relate or link why teenagers tend to become irrational and troubled. It could be an interplay of the many factors that is happening around him or her that will lead to his current state of mind and behavior. 



Studies show that familial support or the presence of both parental figures are critical to the emotional development of the adolescent. Those who have experienced separation from any parental figure tend to become more erratic and would choose peers or will look for an adult that will serve as role model and guardian. It would be pleasant to know if the group of persons they seek attention to are able to provide effective role modeling. The problem would rest on bad role modelling behaviors; hence, adolescents will follow and imbibe values and practices that could affect their psychological state.


To reinforce the statement, peer group influence and pressure to belong in a group can also contribute to teen problems. As Erik Erikson explained, there is a constant search for being recognized during the adolescent period. This seeking of attention often leads to negative influences and inadvertent challenges that could only prove one’s loyalty to the group.

It is also apparent the great influence of internet technology to the adolescents nowadays. Teenagers engage more on virtual reality games that are getting more violent and darker in themes and contents. These aspects of the world wide web entertainment have been linked to aggressive and callous behaviors.

Is there a remedy for troubled teens?

Managing a troubled teen is not like taking a pill to lower down temperature or fighting a cold overnight. It will take a certain process or steps that will entail cumulative support from family, friends, school and even the community where the teenager belongs. 

Yes, there is remedy. The earlier it is detected and the more willing the teenager to undergo rehabilitation, there is a big chance for reform and recovery. 

Acceptance on the teenagers’ personality, thoughts and relationships are already considered a big leap of success in trying to understand them.