There are resources available to help and support formerly incarcerated individuals and their families during the transition from custody to community, but navigating the systems of services can be overwhelming.  2-1-1 Orange County has partnered together with the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership, the Returning Home Foundation, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to improve access to re-entry resources in Orange County.

    As you explore the tools and resources here, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

    First 24 Hours

    If you are about to be or were released from custody in Orange County, CA within the last 24 hours, this planning guide is for you. Print and use it to help you GET on track.

    Next 72 Hours

    Studies have proven that the first 72 hours after release from jail or prison are crucial for a successful re-entry into the community. Print this checklist to STAY on track.

    Top 10 Things

    Print this list of the top 10 things you can do to make your transition from custody to community as smooth as possible.

    Useful Links

    Links to information and applications for important government documents:

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    How To Use This Site

    For people who are about to be released or have been recently released from custody.

    Returning to the community from incarceration can be overwhelming. There are many challenges people who have been in jail or prison may face during this transitional time, including finding safe and stable housing, securing employment, addressing health problems, and making sure they have the community support they need. This is a guide to the resources throughout Orange County that can help you address the challenges of re-entry. It includes general information about things like planning for your release and maintaining your health, as well as lists of specific programs such as residential treatment programs and community health clinics.

    Where to start:

    Studies have proven that the first 72 hours after release from jail or prison are crucial in laying the foundation for a successful re-entry into the community. With this in mind, we have included a 72 Hour Checklist specifically created for those being released from custody in Orange County, CA.  It can be printed and used as a starting point to help prepare for the transition from custody to community.  
    We have also included a Re-Entry Transition Plan to be filled out according to the specific needs of the individual being released. This tool can be used to help organize ideas about the kinds of resources that will best meet the needs of the person re-entering, and to help decide which services will be most important/urgent to access upon release.

    What people re-entering may want to keep in mind:

    • When trying to find the resources that are right for you, it is important to be patient and be polite.
    • Many times the result of one letter, phone call or visit with the people who are trying to help you may just be a new number to try, but keep in mind that each resource you contact is a positive step towards your success. Patience and politeness will open doors for you as you plan your transition.   
    • Be patient and polite with yourself too! Contact resources, and follow up with community organizations to make sure your transition is as organized and seamless as possible, so that you can avoid added stress. (And check out our page of Helpful Checklists to use as you work to stay healthy, maintain your mental/emotional health, and gather important documents).

    Where to get more information:

    Public libraries are an important resource available in almost every community. Modern libraries generally offer anyone in the public use of a few computers and free internet access. Internet access makes it much easier to get information about local services, and librarians are trained to help people find information.

    If you have a specific interest, a librarian may also be able to help you find books and other information that will help. Printing and copying are often available for a small fee. Libraries also offer educational events and post flyers about what’s going on in the community. Click here for an online list of Orange County public libraries.

    Remember also that you can always contact 2-1-1 to speak to a trained specialist who can help you find up-to-date information on the services available to you!

    Adapted from:

    Additional Information

    Top 10 Things You Can Do For a Successful Re-entry


    While each individual's journey will be unique, this is a list of commono things to consider to help make the transition from custody to community as smooth as possible. The checklist has been created specifically for those being released from custody in Orange County, CA and can be used as a starting point to hlep prepare for the transition from custody to community.


    Find safe and stable housing.

    Find a stable source of food.

    Learn about transportation options and obtain stable transportation.

    Gather important documents such as birth certificate, social security card, ID card or driver’s license (see the “Documents Checklist” for a quick guide).

    Learn if you qualify for medical coverage and CalFresh (food stamps).

    Go to a One-Stop, job assistance center or employment program for resume assistance and job resources.

    Resolve any child support or legal issues.

    Take care of your medical needs such as prescription refills, dental, vision, physical examination, HIV/STD/Hepatitis testing and treatment.

    Build a positive support system of friends, family, and other helpful people.

    Attend community support meetings, such as AA, NA, Ex-Offender Re-Entry programs and/or faith community meetings.

     Adapted from:

    Documents Checklist



     While each agency or program may have different requirements, whatever services one may be applying for, it may be a good idea to have these commonly-required items for each person in the household who needs assistance. Check the "Important Documents" page for links to learn more about and apply for documents like ID cards, Birth Certificates, etc.


    Birth certificates or other proof of age and family relationship

    Copy of Driver’s License or other picture ID

    Social Security numbers or proof of application

    Proof of residency, such as rent/mortgage receipt, utility bill

    Proof of all income, such as current pay stubs, child support and alimony

    Social Security award letters, unemployment/disability benefits, VA benefits

    All current checking and savings account statements

    Immigration status, such as Permanent Resident Card, citizenship verification or passport

    Current vehicle registrations, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, motor homes, or boats (include verification of balance owed on each vehicle)

    Verification of disability (if applicable)

    Pregnancy verification (if pregnant)

     Adapted from:

    Tips For Transitioning Well and Maintaining Health

    Tips for Transitioning Well and Maintaining Your Mental/Emotional Health

    Re-entry can be both exciting and frustrating.
    This list of tips for mental/emotional wellness may help with the transition process.

    Download this re-entry checklist to print for someone you know (Re-Entry: Tips for Transitioning Well)
    1. Mentally prepare for the adjustment process. Be prepared for anything!
    2. Give yourself permission to ease into the transition. Allow yourself time to get used to the new environment.
    3. Give yourself time. You’ll need time to relax and reflect upon what is going on around you, how you are reacting to it, and what you might like to change.
    4. Understand that the familiar will seem different. You have changed; home has changed. You will see familiar people, places, and behaviors from new perspectives.
    5. Expect to do some ‘cultural catching up’. Clothes, trends, language, and more have changed, too!
    6. Reserve judgments. Reserve all judgments of others, but especially negative judgments, just as you would like to have others reserve judgments of you. Resist the impulse to make snap decisions.
    7. Expect mood swings. It is entirely possible for you to feel ecstatic one moment and completely defeated a short time later. It’s okay; it is a part of the process.
    8. Allow sufficient time for reflection and self-analysis. Your most valuable analysis of an event is likely to take place after allowing time for reflection.
    9. Respond to inquiries thoughtfully and carefully. Prepare to greet surprise questions with a calm, thoughtful, approach. If you find yourself being overly defensive or aggressive, take a deep breath and relax.
    10. Seek support networks. Don't isolate yourself!

    Top 10 Things You Can Do To Be Healthy


    Staying healthy is an important part of a successful transition from custody to community. This list can be used as a reminder of important, and often overlooked things to do to stay healthy. 
    Check the Resources section to find services to support well-being including healthcare, nutrition, substance abuse, mental health and housing/shelter resources.

    1. Have a medical home and regular doctor
    2. Set screened for cancer
    3. Prevent heart disease and stroke
    4. Take care of your sexual health
    5. Get the vaccines you need (shots)
    6. Have a healthy baby; get prenatal care
    7. Exercise regularly
    8. Eat a healthy diet (and maintain a healthy weight)
    9. Check for and limit exposure to heavy metals like lead
    10. Get help for mental/emotional concerns like depression or anxiety

    Adapted from:

    Re-Entry Feedback


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    Re-entry information brought to you in partnership with the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP).  Download a PDF about OCREP.

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