Over 93% of prisoners leave prison and return to the community. In California, over 45,000 individuals leave prison each year. They are provided $200 cash, and have to use this money to pay the prison for clothing and the journey home. The Prisoner Reentry Network (PRN) was founded by NLGSF member Jared Rudolph to support these individuals, providing information and resources to individuals anticipating release from prison.
The PRN provides directions home, information on obtaining identification and social services, and connections to service providers on the outside. As PRN’s director, Rudolph supports individuals each week through the Hope for Lifers program, a program organized and run by prisoners committed to life sentences inside San Quentin State Prison. PRN provides information specific to each participant’s situation, which greatly affects outcomes at parole hearings. PRN also has given seminars on reentry at Valley State Prison, CSP-Solano, CHCF-Stockton, and the San Francisco County Jail.
In addition to working on the inside, PRN has worked with individuals outside to develop resources for those behind the walls. PRN convened a meeting at the NLGSF office with individuals released after life sentences to determine which advice would have helped them prepare for reentry while inside. PRN and San Francisco State University film students captured thirteen interviews, which have been shown to individuals committed to life sentences throughout California. Those videos will be available on PRN’s website shortly.
When prisons release people, they provide little support. For example, as part of its “Directions Home” project, PRN called all of CA’s prisons to determine where they take individuals when they are released. Most often, it is the nearest Greyhound station. With only $200, individuals must find their way home. Often, they are released after five, ten, or over twenty years, and come back to a changed world. The prison does not provide directions home. PRN has developed resources giving direction from every prison in California to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Los Angles, San Diego, and cities in between. These resources are distributed directly to prisoners, or through the prison library.
If you know someone anticipating release from prison, feel free to ask what PRN can do for them. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.