Minnesota Reentry Programs and Assistance

If you’re a former offender looking for a job in Minnesota then you’ve probably encountered some discrimination challenges. Minnesota has many programs that can help you reenter society with gainful employment, housing, and other resources you need. Listed below are a few sources you can contact for more information:

Second Chance Ranch: Transitional housing during reentry. For more details about this program call (218) 384-4894

Central Minnesota Re-Entry Project: CMNRP provides referrals for housing, employment, and other resources. For more details about this program call (320) 656-9004

RS Eden: Provides housing, recovery, and corrections services. For more details about this program call (612) 287-1600

180 Degrees: Housing assistance, employment assistance, and life skill training. For more details about this program call (612) 813-5006

Damascus Way: Non-profit 501c3 organization that provides Christian-based programs for men. For more details about this program call (763) 545-6558

Rise: Offers job training. For more details about this program call (612) 872-7720

AccessAbility: Helps former offenders who are interested in acquiring immediate employment. For more details about this program call
(612) 331-5958

Amicus: Provides a setting for former offenders to network and participate in discussion forums. For more information you may contact Amicus at (612) 877-4250.

Portland House: Helps former offenders sustain employment, secure housing, and develop life skills. For more details about this program visit here or call (612) 331-1087.

What to wear and not to wear when visiting a parent in prison

Believe it or not, prisons do have a dress code. While it may seem obvious, it’s not something many of us think about. Many of us only worry about our clothes when it comes to school, work, or a date, as visiting someone in prison may not be on that list. For many of us in America, it’s part of our life as we have loved ones incarcerated for some time. It’s important to know how to dress and what is appropriate for the prison.

To be honest, certain clothes or shoes can’t be worn. Many prisons will recommend against a specific color as well and won’t even allow you in if you’re wearing something wrong. Prison dress codes vary from location, so it’s very important to get a good look at what that specific prison allows with their dress code. Usually, there is a website, or even a quick call can get you that information that way you won’t be turned away on a visit as its important to both you and the person incarcerated. 

It’s important to note, that some of these are up to the interpretation of the guard on duty and you may be turned away if it’s not appropriate. Bring extra clothes to help alleviate this problem just in case so you won’t be denied visitation. 

Some examples you want to look for are:

  1. Flip-flops. While great for a summer stroll aren’t allowed in many prisons.
  2. Do not wear any color that matches those of the inmates. You’re a visitor, not an inmate.
  3. No camouflage clothing. You’re visiting an incarcerated loved one, not signing up for the military.
  4. Beware your colors. Prisons are ripe with local gang members or even tied to those outside the prison complex. You want to remain neutral on this.
  5. Short and dresses are considered bad as well.
  6. Sleeveless shirts, halter tops, tank tops, revealing or low cut tops are also part of the rules.
  7. No clothing resembles staff clothing, medical scrubs, or any kind of uniform as this may present a security risk. 
  8. It’s not a good idea to wear jewelry as it can be restricted.

Keep in mind that you have a parent or loved one in prison and that visiting them is a privilege. You like everyone else has to follow the rules set by that specific prison. Also, be aware that you don’t have a lot of control over when you can see your loved one, but you can control what you wear on that specific visit. Do your due diligence and contact the prison for information. They’ll give you the information needed to make the visit go as smoothly as possible. 

While you aren’t in prison yourself, you share in this sentence. The separation may be hard, but each visit can prove great and easy going by just following the rules. The guidelines may vary, but not difficult to follow. 

Editor. Prison Dress Code: What to Wear When Visiting a Loved One. January 19, 2015. https://prisonthehiddensentence.com/helpful-information/prison-dress-code/

Keywords: dress code of visiting an inmate/ prison dress codes

What are some obstacles that may arise while visiting their incarcerated parents? (Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of Minnesota Inmates, Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting an Inmate in Minnesota)

Visiting an inmate in Minnesota comes with its own set of obstacles like every other state. Knowing what these are and how to deal them can make a visit go smoother, thereby, making it more favorable for the inmate and the visitor. This not only adds to a healthy relationship with an inmate but has been proven to lower the recidivism rate. 

While these obstacles aren’t necessarily harmful, it helps to be prepared as visiting encourages inmates to not only better their lives, but it gives them something to look forward to. There is a lot of stigmas attached to visiting someone in prison, and many people don’t know where to start. While many states differ, here are some important notes to consider in Minnesota.

  1. You must fill out a Minnesota Inmate Visitors Application. There may be other forms needed to fill and sign no be prepared with proper documents and a wait of at least one of several weeks after submitting. 
  2. The Department of Corrections won’t inform you if the application was accepted or not, but the inmate will. Keep communication lines open with the inmate for information.
  3. Phone calls aren’t accepted, but you can stop by the nearest department of corrections with your ID and check on the status of an application.
  4. Regular visits are 1-2 hours for those traveling less than 100 miles. If traveling more, appointments may be granted at a 3-hour timeframe. 
  5. Bring a valid ID like a state ID, driver’s license, passport, or military ID. They must not be expired.
  6. All electronics are prohibited. As much as you may want to record a video of you and your loved one, it won’t be possible. Usually, your car key and ID is all you’ll be able to have on you.
  7. Another obstacle is that visitors are searched and must pass through a metal detector. Your vehicle may get search as well so be prepared for it.

While it may seem as there are a lot of obstacles, preparing for them ahead of time can and will make things go quickly. Minnesota’s facilities all have a dress code. While it may seem odd to have to dress a particular way, it exists to ensure the safety and security of the institution. The dress code is reasonably extensive, and I encourage you to visit: Visiting an Inmate in Minnesota for more details. 

Obstacles are part of life when wanting to visit an incarcerated parent. While the red-tape may seem think and paperwork substantial, you’ll realize that it’s a necessity to visit. The welfare of a child and that of the incarcerated parent depends on these visits. Video visitations are offered as sometimes the drive is too long and may be best for everyone as its easier on the schedule. 

The Minnesota Department of Corrections does have a checklist here about what needs to be done and how to do. Familiarize yourself with this page as necessary to ensure your next visit goes smoothly and successfully for all parties involved.

Prison Pro. Visiting an Inmate in Minnesota. http://www.prisonpro.com/content/visiting-inmate-minnesota

Minnesota Department of Corrections. Policy Number 302.100. My 15, 2018. http://www.doc.state.mn.us/DocPolicy2/html/DPW_Display_TOC.asp?Opt=302.100.htm

Keywords: obstacles visiting incarcerated parents/ rules when visiting inmates


What are the effects of Parental Incarceration on Caregivers?

Being a caregiver comes with its own level of stress, but being a caregiver when one of the parents is in prison adds to the problem. When the father goes to prison, the sole caregiving is put on the mother. Most of whom are single heads of the household. When the mother goes to prison, the grandparents become responsible for the well-being of the child. 

A caregiver’s job is difficult, to say the least because it comes with a host of hardships and new realities. Many times, the single parent needs to play both mother and father while the other parent is behind bars. Children coping skills rely on the caregiver to protect and nurture them, which can be double-duty with the incarcerated parent away.

In truth, caregivers can and will feel a sense of overwhelming stress in their lives as this adds another level of problems dumped into their laps. This also includes a serious financial impact of incarceration for the caregiver. 

  1. Forty-one percent of children with incarcerated parents live with families that have an income of less than one-hundred percent of the federal poverty level. 
  2. Seventy percent of caretakers are over middle-age or over fifty with fifty-five percent of children living with a caregiver who doesn’t have a spouse. Nineteen percent live in households that have four or more children.
  3. Caregivers have to make a decision on whether to leave a job to take better care of the children. If they aren’t working, then they risk losing their retirement savings to pay for the needs of the children.
  4. The income of a family over the years of an incarcerated father is twenty-two percent lower than before his incarceration. This is a huge cut in income.

Some caregivers not only worry about the children’s health but theirs as well. With many caregivers over fifty, they have their own health problems as well and must cope with finding ways to make those limited resources work. 

The emotional impact on caregivers can range from outright anger to resentment towards the incarcerated parent or even the children. Additional stress can create an unneeded burden that many aren’t prepared to deal with. These forms of stress can come in many forms.

  1. The incarcerated parent may want to have an active parenting role and not see things the way the caregiver does. This sends mixed signals to the children and can cause problems in the family’s relationship.
  2. At times, that resentment can flow into not taking the children to the prison for a visit as a way to punish the incarcerated parent.
  3. Many mothers left to being single and solo parenting feel a strong need to make a new life for themselves. This escalates the divorce rate to fifty percent.

Caregivers often feel judged by others and find themselves hiding from society’s shameful gaze. This can lead to withholding of information and avoid attempting to get help from others. This can cause estrangement from the rest of the family while the caregivers rebuild their lives.

Prison Fellowship. 2019. Impact of Incarceration on Caregivers. https://www.prisonfellowship.org/resources/training-resources/family/ministry-basics/impact-of-incarceration-on-caregivers/

Keywords: Caregivers and incarcerated parents/ a shared sentence for caregivers

What are the social effects of having an incarcerated parent? Chemical, Mental, and academic impact?

No one fills the sting of incarceration more than the child. Because of this, the effects, both short-term and long-term, can involve skipping needed healthcare, smoking, risky sexual behaviors, alcohol/drug abuse, both prescription and illegal. These problems affect more than five million children who have a parent in jail.

The loss of a mother to incarcerated as a double impact on the child than the father. With the U.S. having the highest incarceration in the world, children and even young adults have become the invisible victims in this shared sentence. African Americans have the highest rate of parental incarceration of roughly 34% with an incarcerated mother and 23% with a father. This shows that the U.S. has failed to address the indirect-costs of its citizens.

Parental-child attachment is easily disrupted by a parents incarceration. This leads to many social and behavioral problems in life. These problems come in many forms: Sadness, fear, guilt as a few examples of a child’s reactions. 

These can develop into emotions issues as well: Anger, aggression, failed friendships as school, depression, which can exasperate underlying problems bubbling under the surface of the psyche. Education Professor Glen Palm of St. Cloud State University, developed a two-step process to help decrease negative behaviors. 

  1. Understanding and Awareness: Often times, a caregiver doesn’t know how they should explain a parent’s absence to the child. Once the child has the situation known, they have a stronger chance of adapting to the new life-event.
  2. Visitation with the Incarcerated Parent: While reality differs from what’s portrayed on TV, children may not always understand why they have to wait extended periods before seeing their parent in prison. A lot of times, these visits limit close parent-child reactions.

Children with either parent incarcerated have a higher likelihood of experiencing physical and mental health problems.

  1. PTSD has an increase of 72%
  2. Anxiety increases by 51%
  3. High Cholesterol by 31%
  4. Asthma by 30%
  5. Migraines by 26%
  6. ADD/ADHD by 48%
  7. Behavioral Problems by 43%
  8. Depression by 43%
  9. Marijuana use by 43%
  10. Developmental delays by 23%
  11. Learning disabilities by 22%
  12. Delinquency by 10%

These increases have a profound effect on children with an incarcerated parent and can have long-term impacts that spill into adulthood. Their cognitive and noncognitive problems are directly linked to an incarcerated parent and create challenges for teachers and schools that are sometimes too difficult to overcome without some form of intervention. It’s an issue that educational lawmakers must address but have little to no experience in confronting. 

Children of incarcerated parents suffer from many social issues like chemical, mental, and even academic problems. Facing the problem head-on with education for the child and regular visits will help lower these problems and also lower the recidivism of the incarcerated parent. 

Muller, Robert T. May 7, 2015. When a Parent is Incarcerated. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-trauma/201505/when-parent-is-incarcerated

University of Minnesota Medical Board. July 17, 2018. Incarceration of Parents Impacts Health of Their Children Into Adulthood. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180717102807.htm

Keywords: Social effects of children with incarcerated parents/ Impact of incarcerated parents on their children

Should children reunite with parents after incarceration? Why or why not?

Many factors help with the reunification of parents and their children after parole. In the Boston Reentry Study (BRS), a quarter of children were living with their parents before his or her incarceration. Upon release, this dropped to 10%. Even though the vast majority of inmates reported weekly contact with their children, it was only 60%-70% after the release. 

Many of these studies and finding of the BRS included in-depth quantitative interviews with those who were incarcerated. Many of the things that shaped incarceration to reunification were family support, drug use, criminal activity, economic security, and even criminal justice.

Other processes shaped reunification for the good and bad. While many of us take these for granted, many who are incarcerated and even child of those parents in prison do not always have these privileges.

  1. Stable Housing: Housing stability is a major factor in the reunification of a formerly incarcerated parent and their child. At least half of the parents were living in unstable housing at some point during the first year after release from prison. Unstable housing is generally defined as any temporary housing situation, which can make it harder for a child to stay with their parent. This can include living on the street, shelter, and even transitional housing.
  2. The Complexity and Supportiveness of Families: A parent-child relationship is hugely impacted by family structure. Those parents who used to be incarcerated and also have children with multiple partners are less likely to be living with their children after release. On top of this, parent-child relationship quality was affected by the level of the relationship before incarcerated. This can drop by 50% due to each additional partner, which can highly affect the child.
  3. Drug Use and Crime: Many inmates continued to use drugs and alcohol within a year after release were less likely to be living with their children or even be in regular contact with them. This includes any criminal activity. This can have a destabilizing effect on the child and make it difficult to reconnect with a child after prison release.

Formerly incarcerated parents that have had regular contact with their children and live in a stable household can have a positive effect on the child’s well-being and the parent’s recidivism. Reentry doesn’t just affect the child and parent but can be felt across three generations of the household.

In America, over five million children are currently experiencing some form of incarceration of their parent during a point in their childhood. Whether or not a child should reunite with their parents after incarceration isn’t an easy decision, as many factors are involved in influencing this decision and shouldn’t be made lightly. One can help, and that is strengthening the family relationships of incarcerated parents not just during the time spent in prison, but after release as well. It’s not just for the child’s well-being but also a key factor in helping a parent stay out of prison and help rebuild their lives and strengthen family bonds.

ElHage, Alyssa. August 29, 2018. Factors That Shape Parent-Child Reunification After a Parent is Released From Prison. https://ifstudies.org/blog/factors-that-shape-parent-child-reunification-after-a-parent-is-released-from-prison


Keywords: Reunification/ Parent-child reunification