When I was in prison I would always see the guys released come back, and I would ask them, "what happened?" They would always tell me that they didn't have any place to live at. I was in the same situation when I was finally released – homeless, with nothing but a $10 check. So a group of us came together to start The First 72|PLUS|, because no one should be homeless when they leave prison.

What we have learned a long the way, both from our own experiences and the experiences of our clients and residents, is that there are a lot of barriers that stand in the way of people getting jobs and housing when they come home. Some of these issues demand that we change laws that allow employers and housing providers to discriminate against us on account of our prior convictions and prior arrests.

However, there are also some that just demand some foresight before we are shipped off from prisons.

One way that we can improve outcomes for guys is by resolving outstanding traffic tickets, municipal court attachments, and old warrants. When folks come home they often face hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in debt because they simply didn't hand in their license plates to their vehicles before they were sentenced. This is an easy problem to avoid if your attorney knows it is a problem you will face. We also have people returning to jail 2-3 times simply because an old warrant in criminal court or municipal court was not properly revoked.

Even one additional day in jail can derail everything you have done to rebuild your life.

We know there are major legal changes that need to happen to fully reintegrate formerly incarcerated people, but among all the problems we face when we come home, these are easy problems to address on the front end.

You can learn more about The First 72|PLUS| online