Lindsay Lohan is entering a very interesting period for anybody who has served jail time and formal probation– FREEDOM. Yes, freedom for a former felon has its challenges. Freedom for Lohan and other high profile people is even more difficult. In fact, I always tell clients that prison is the easy part.
There are three very famous, very different high profile cases going through re-entry right now. Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox and Lindsay Lohan. All served some jail time and all have been released back to society with a new level of infamy. Anthony is the only one who has some probation to finish and who will have other conditions with her for a long time. But, the process of re-entry after any formal probation or incarceration is a difficult one.
People do well in prison and on probation because of the accountability. Once that accountability is lifted it is up to an individual to remember what they learned and how to translate that into free life. There are two components that make up a successful re-entry: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS and COMMUNITY TIES. This is why visiting people inside prison and keeping in touch is so important. The fact is that over 95% of all people incarcerated in the U.S. will be released and most in less than less than 5 years. This means that we must do a better job to empower people and help them learn from their mistakes and pasts.
There are resources for some of those coming back to society but they are few and far between. Imagine you were coming back to a free society with little money, no job and a family to support? It is no wonder why so many people wind up in trouble again. This is compounded for a person like Lohan who has a definite target on her back. Just look at what went on last week with an alleged hit and run that resulted in a demand for money of course. Life will be difficult and everyday things can get in the way and even trip you up. My advice- be cautious and stick to some sort of routine that works with it’s own accountability. That could mean continued therapy, substance abuse programs and even something as simple as exercise and support groups. Whatever works!
I often coach people who are re-entering society and they are much more difficult than preparing people for prison. Freedom when you have lost is even more enticing and of course sweeter. But, it is a task to learn how to experience it and appreciate it properly. As I say, change is possible but it always takes hard work. You go Lindsay!
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert and legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today to Fox News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.