This article is excerpted from Marta Nelson, Perry Deess, and Charlotte Allen's longer article of the same name published by the Vera Institute of Justice in 1999. The report is an account, issue by issue, of what the authors learned from participants about life in the first thirty days after getting out of prison or jail. Those first days and weeks appear to be critical, with arrest rates for released prisoners highest soon after release and declining over time. The study showed that the first month is not only a period of difficulties but also a period of opportunities to get people started on the path to employment, abstinence from drugs, good family relations, and crime-free living.

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