In addition to the resources Prisoner Reentry Network has created and directions home from CA’s prisons to its major cities, PRN believes these resources may be valuable to individuals anticipating release from prison:
Resource List: List of the reentry resources from the PRN website in a concise printable version written to be distributed inside, available here.
CDCR Community Resource Directory: A list of reentry resource providers in each county, and their addresses. The most comprehensive list of resources available in each of California’s counties. Available online here, through a prisoner’s Correctional Counselor, or upon request to PRN.
Birth Certificate and Other Vital Statistics: The National Center for Health Statistics comprehensive publication on records of every birth, death, marriage, and divorce. To obtain a certified copy of any of the certificates, write or go to the vital statistics office in the State or area where the event occurred. Addresses and fees are given for each event in the State or area concerned, as well as instructions for these records. Available online here.
Getting Out and Staying Out: The best guide for individuals anticipating release from prison, Getting Out and Staying Out was initially created by the San Francisco Reentry Council and much of its information is specific to San Francisco County. However, PRN distributes this easy-to-use guide to individuals anticipating release to any California county because Getting Out and Staying Out provides such great general information on identification, public benefits, probation and parole, and the array of issues facing an individual anticipating release from prison. Available online here, the guide will be distributed free to prisoners who request a copy by writing to this address:
Reentry Council of the City & County of San Francisco
Adult Probation Department
880 Bryant Street, Room 200
San Francisco, CA 94103
Life Support Alliance – California Lifer Newsletter: Life Support Alliance (LSA) is an advocacy group that monitors all aspects of the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH). They observe parole hearings, correspond with prisoners, report their findings, and serve as a repository of information to advocacy organizations and government officials interested in our prisons. They also produce the California Lifer Newsletter (CLN), which is the best legal and political information available for prisoners, particularly lifers. To subscribe to CLN send $30 (for prisoners) or $99 (for free people) to:
California Lifer Newsletter
PO Box 277
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741
LSA also provides information through mail, and takes calls from prisoners: 916.402.3750
Bridges to Freedom: For individuals anticipating a hearing before the Parole Board, Bridges to Freedom guides an individual through every step of the parole hearing process. Developed single-handedly by PRN Advisory Board Member James DeBacco, an individual currently incarcerated in Ironwood State Prison, this guide is an intellectual tour de force, and represents the staggering talent that is trapped behind prison walls. Read more about Bridges to Freedom here, and you can have a copy sent directly to someone inside through this link.
Prison Law Office: Prison Law Office has developed guides on immigration, habeus corpus, prison conditions, and a number of other issues. Most notably, they have a parolee rights manual in both English and Spanish. Their website is here, or you can write them at:
Prison Law Office
San Quentin, CA 94964
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children: LSPC has developed information for incarcerated individuals, including information specific to incarcerated parents, pregnancy, and a host of other issues. Write them at:
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
1540 Market St., Suite 490
San Francisco, CA 94102
Prison Activist Resource Center – Prisoner Resource Directory: Up-to-date listing of resource providers on a wide variety of topics. Available online here, or by writing P.A.R.C. at this address:
Prison Activist Resource Center
PO Box 70447
Oakland, CA, 94612
Guidebook for Incarcerated California Veterans: This is another comprehensive guide on reentry resources, and not all resources in this guide are available only to veterans. Pages 50-100 detail reentry resources for each county. Available online here, or through written request to PRN.
Prison Library Project: The Prison Library Project provides free reading materials to prison inmates nationwide. PLP prioritizes educational and self-help literature and recognizes the value of literacy development through active engagement with books in general. Members of the public can reach PLP at: 586 W. 1st St., Claremont, CA 91711; (909) 626-3066;firstname.lastname@example.org. Prisoners can write to request books at:
915-C W. Foothill Blvd
Claremont, CA 91711
Root and Rebound’s Roadmap to Reentry: An exhaustive resource detailing legal information affecting individuals who have left prison. Available online here, or distributed free to prisoners who request a copy at this address:
Root & Rebound
1730 Franklin Street, Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94612
Update: R&R’s guide is only available free to prisoners within four years from release.
CDCR Policies and Contact Information: CDCR is difficult to contact, so advocates and loved ones cannot reach the CDCR staff that can support people inside, nor do they have access to the policies that affect their lives. This list, from PRN Advisory Board member Caitlin Kelly Henry, Esq., details available contact and policy information for each institution.
Printable County-Specific Reentry Resources: Reentry happens on the community level, and each community understands its own needs and resources. These guides provide reentry-related information specific to certain counties, and can be quickly printed and distributed:
Alameda County – Partial Listing of Reentry Resources: List of reentry-related resources in Alameda County, available here.
East Bay Reentry Resources: List of reentry-related resources in the East Bay, available here.
Contra Costa County – Reentry Resource Guide: Two-page list of reentry-related resources available in Contra Costa county – 2016 edition available here.
Los Angeles – Reentry LA: Exhaustive guide to reentry-related resources available in Los Angeles – 2010 edition available here.
San Francisco County: Getting Out and Staying Out, discussed above, is available here.
Solano County – Reentry Toolkit: Exhaustive guide of reentry-related resources available in Solano County – 2010 edition available here.
Reentry Housing Guides: Transitional housing is the most important part of reentry, and California has a gaping shortage that leaves many prisoners without a place to live.
Life Support Alliance List: List of transitional housing options compiled by PRN partner group Life Support Alliance, available here.
LA Transitional Housing: List of transitional housing options in Los Angeles, available here.
ReentryHousing.org: Online resource – there is no internet access in prison – listing housing resources in the Bay Area. Available here.
Substance Abuse Programs: A nationwide listing of programs for substance abuse treatment, including over 100 programs in California. Available here.
Criminal Record Information: In California it is difficult to remove a felony from your criminal record. However, having a copy of your criminal record may be valuable both inside and out.
Reading and Understanding RAP Sheets: This guide explains how to understand your RAP sheet, and correct errors, available here.
Sacramento County Public Law Library: Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record: Guide to clearing up your criminal record, with corresponding forms, available here.
Clearing Your Adult Criminal Record in California: This step-by-step guide explains how to clean up your RAP sheet, available, here.
Social Security Information: Brief overview by the Social Security Agency entitled, “What Prisoners Need to Know,” available here.
Education Information: John Jay College’s guide to continuing your education after incarceration.
Computer Information: There is no internet in prison, and people incarcerated for long terms will come out to our wired world. These guides to internet basics and how to set up and use Gmail will help individuals reconnect when outside.
Immigration Information: Many prisoners will face deportation when they are released, and will be taken to a detention center, and then to their country of origin. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Toolkit and the Prison Law Office’s guide, in both English and Spanish,will provide information on immigration.
Resources for Transgender Prisoners: Information by transgender prisoners for transgender prisoners, developed by the Transgender, Gender-Variant, and Intersex Justice Project, available here.
Certificate of Rehabilitation from San Diego: A certificate of rehabilitation will reduce many of the barriers related to a felony record. It is very rare to be granted a certificate of rehabilitation, but worth trying. Though these are documents related to getting a certificate from San Diego county, and they provide a good guide for anyone obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation in California.
Parole Violation Flowchart: A diagram outlining the parole violation process, which has changed since Realignment in 2011. Developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, this chart demonstrates the process, actors, and relevant criminal code, available here.
Matlock Parole Prospectus: Michael Matlock, an individual who participated in our Lifer Interview series, brought this packet to his parole board hearing. The parole board begins evaluating someone’s reentry plans at the psychological risk assessment six months prior to the hearing, so prepare yourself early. Mr. Matlock’s reentry did not go exactly according to plan, but he’s still free and doing well.
Tattoo Removal: When someone is released, they may want to shed their prior affiliations and identities. Tattoo removal, explained here, is a wonderful way to do just that.
Yoga Stretches: Even under 24-hour lock-down, an individual must exercise. Yoga is a wonderful way to exercise in prison, and organizations like the Prison Yoga Project are not available in every prison. These diagrams are incredibly popular when PRN goes inside: Sun Salutations 1, Sun Salutations 2.
Star Charts: When an individual leaves a level four facility, they are permitted to see the stars for the first time since being incarcerated.