As you transition from being incarcerated to being newly released, will the prison provide you with anything when you leave? Yes, but what they actually provide will differ based on the prison.
Are prisons required to provide you with anything during release?
In the case of federal prisons, yes. The BOP provides all newly released people with “suitable clothing, a certain amount of money that is no more than $500 and transportation to the place of the person’s choosing within the United States.” However, each prison can choose how much of each item they provide based on each individual case.
In the case of state prisons, no. State prisons are not required to provide anything during release, though many do. Some states, such as Indiana and Ohio, offer “weather-appropriate clothing” based on the season, along with gate money. Other states, such as Kentucky and Virginia, do not specify what justice-impacted people receive during release.
Some examples of what you will receive during release:
- In Alabama and Louisiana, justice-impacted people may receive from $10 to $20.
- In California, justice-impacted people receive $200 and clothing. The facility provides transportation.
- In Ohio, justice-impacted people receive clothing suitable for the season and three sets of underwear and socks. Their gate money can be from $25 to $75. They also receive applicable papers.
- In Texas, justice-impacted people receive $100, applicable certificates and paperwork, and a bus ticket.
Will you know what the prison is providing before your release?
Yes. In most cases, you will know what you will receive and be able to prepare for your release. Most states also provide you with gate money upon your release. Gate money is usually administered in the form of check, cash or debit card and may also include the remaining funds from your commissary account.
Do all people receive gate money?
No. Justice-impacted people will not receive gate money if they are being moved to another facility. People in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service do not receive gate money
What kind of transportation will the prison provide during release?
All federal prisons will provide some form of transportation to newly released individuals. Some states will use gate money towards the cost of transportation, or money earned while in prison towards the cost.
- Maryland. The Department of Corrections withholds money from the paychecks of incarcerated people to save at least $50, the average cost of a bus ticket.
- Virginia. The Department of Corrections withholds 10% of any money earned while in prison, up to $1,000.
- Wisconsin. The Department of Corrections puts 10% of an incarcerated person’s paycheck into a savings account.
What else does a prison provide during release?
Prisons may provide other benefits to help ease transitions from prison. They can include:
- Clothing, food, and other amenities.
- Documentation, including proof of employment and education.
- Health Care: The prison should assess the justice-impacted person’s mental and physical health.
- Support System: The prison should offer a handbook listing community resources.
During release, federal prisons are required to provide justice-impacted people with essentials for transition. These include transportation, gate money and suitable clothing. State prisons are not required to provide anything upon release. You can find information by state here.