During their annual work on Mapping Your Future, the RGI team pays close attention on how to better adapt their guides to make them more accessible for readers. This year was no exception, as Natalia discussed the changes made, “Last year, our guide was at a high school reading level. This can be a challenge for some, so we’ve changed a lot, such as cutting out big words.” Besides adjusting the reading level, RGI has also placed additional focus on other topics previously absent in Mapping Your Future, such as mental health and substance use. Furthermore, the guide’s previous audience have been predominantly men, but this year RGI emphasized problems and concepts more geared towards women as well.
Reentry into society after prison has never been easy, and with generally little to no guidance, EJP is aware of the immense difficulties people face following incarceration. These difficulties range from finding adequate housing and employment, to obtaining an ID, to developing or maintaining healthy relationships. “We want to provide people the tools for self-empowerment,” stated Natalia Fic, the Distribution and Outreach Coordinator for the Reentry Guide Initiative through EJP. Natalia, alongside the RGI team, work every year to edit and adapt Mapping Your Future: A Guide to Successful Reentry, an Illinois reentry guide which contains a plethora of resources to help those leaving incarceration.
Accompanying the interactive and inclusive nature of this year’s guides, there are more graphics, worksheets, and reflection questions. This can be seen within the first ten pages of Mapping Your Future with worksheets titled “Prepare for Challenges” and “Know Your Strengths”, where readers can fill out the sheets highlighting their strengths while also being aware of issues that can coincide during their release.
Mapping Your Future is a significant resource for incarcerated people to use in order to reintegrate back into society. Besides the yearly edits and updates, Natalia and the RGI team are furthermore working to make this guide national, as incarcerated people from other states besides Illinois have been requesting the guide and the information it holds.
Besides Mapping Your Future, there is also another reentry guide, A New Path: A Guide to Challenges and Opportunities After Deportation, which focuses on individuals who are facing deportation to Mexico or Central America following incarceration or detention. Both guides are available in English and Spanish.
You can request guides via mail, phone, email, or online form. RGI mail guides to incarcerated people and their families free of cost. Contact us at:
Reentry Guide Initiative
1001 S. Wright St
Champaign, IL 61820