“Got me mentally ready; knowing what to expect when I go back to the world; gave hope, life.”
“Teach you about patience, understanding, respect, respect for others, how to think clearly without being on drugs. You need responsibility in situations.”
What helped most after release
The graduates of Sheridan interviewed for this study were asked what Sheridan offered that helped them most after release. Responses included employment, housing, anger management and communication skills assistance. One man said that “learning how to cope with family problems” helped him the most after release. Another cited the ability to“look at myself deeper, realize my decisions affect others.” Others said that what helped them most after release was learning better ways to spend free time.
“How to spend my time…without getting high—go to church, have a cup of coffee.”
“Time management—what to do with free time, spare time; that's when I get into trouble.”
How Sheridan did not prepare graduates
Study participants were asked how Sheridan did not prepare them for success after incarceration. Multiple respondents said the program was not honest with them about what to expect during and after the program. While further exploration would be needed to learn about inconsistencies, there could be several explanations for the participants making these claims. First, Sheridan participants receive information regarding the program from myriad sources including staff at the Reception and Classification units, correctional and treatment staff at Sheridan, and from fellow program participants. It is possible that they are being given inaccurate and/or inconsistent information from one or more of these sources regarding what the program provides. Second, many of the program’s components are not available to everyone. For example, Sheridan participants are told that they can participate in vocational training services and that job fairs are conducted on-site. However, not every participant is going to receive these services due to space, time, budgetary, and eligibility restrictions. The same is true for external services—geographical constraints limit some of the options that Sheridan graduates have. Finally, individuals in the study were at Sheridan at different periods of time and during different phases of program implementation; therefore, their responses may reflect aspects of the program that have since been changed.
In addition to unclear program requirements, a couple survey participants stated that the program did not prepare them for success because it did not give them the skills they needed. Below are some of their comments.
“Didn't prepare for felony and housing issues.”
“Too much text book talk, not enough real life experiences.”
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