Successful Re-Entry Demands a Change in Attitudes and Behaviors (Justice Involved)

Most inmates quickly realize that dominance and respect are crucial in a prison environment. Those who are perceived as weak are far more likely to fall victim to violence or abuse. The desire for self-protection often results in the development of a “tough” persona (or the continuation of one that may have existed pre-incarceration). This shows itself through negative attitudes, hostility, anger, aggression, and conflict. Defying rules, ignoring responsibilities, and “hustling” others also earn the admiration of other prisoners. In addition, racial discord is common.

While these behaviors potentially served you well during your incarceration, you may have already learned that they now work against you. Success on the outside may require a complete reversal in how you view yourself and interact with others. Self-awareness, particularly as it relates to the influence of “prison culture,” is key. You must then work to fully understand the expectations of society, including employers, and take steps to make the necessary changes within yourself.

These expectations include:

  • Following rules
  • Accepting direction and criticism
  • Being dependable
  • Giving your “all” when completing tasks
  • Treating others fairly, kindly, and with respect
  • Controlling your emotions
  • Solving disagreements peacefully
  • Living and/or working in a multicultural environment
  • And many, many more!

These are commonly referred to as “soft skills,” or the social abilities and personal traits that you bring to your interactions and responsibilities. Employers have consistently reported that soft skills are no less important than a person’s ability to perform job-related tasks. Whether you are selling movie tickets, troubleshooting computer problems, or making floral arrangements, soft skills are essential.

This purpose of this blog is to help people develop and strengthen the soft skills needed for personal and professional success. We will do this by providing relevant and meaningful “how-to” articles on a wide range of soft skills topics, including those listed above. We are especially pleased to offer a section dedicated to supporting the reentry efforts of those who have been incarcerated.

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