When convicts are released...

When convicts serve their terms and are released, do the authorities still give them a new suit, twenty bucks, and a bus ticket?

I have this idea in my mind, but the size of the monetary sum leads me to think that it’s a detective-story convention that dates from the 1930s, when twenty bucks might have been a month’s rent.

So do long-term inmates get anything to help them reintegrate into society?

Here is an interesting article about the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency in Washington D.C. which performs a variety of functions regarding recently released prisoners. The article mentions halfway houses as one destination for said prisoners.

Not a comprehensive answer, but a start I hope.

In the U.S., it varies among jurisdictions. Here is an example:


In California they get clothes, $240 no bus ticket.

Here’s some information about how it works in Canada:


Looks like $200, less the cost of a bus ticket, at least until recently:


When an old friend of mine was released early from a 40-year manslaughter sentence (14 years,) it went like this. His was picked up at the prison by a grumpy county cop “to attend a hearing.” He didn’t know what the hearing was about until a judge told him he was a free man. The same county cop was supposed to take him back to get his stuff, but it was getting near the end of the cop’s shift. He unceremoniously dropped off my friend at a McDonalds, and he drove away to clock out.

Twenty bucks, a suit, and a bus ticket? No. He had to bum change for a couple of phone calls, to get somebody to take him back to his home town. His lawyer helped him to get a job and a place to rent.



In New York, we will give a released prisoner a suit if he doesn’t have any clothes of his own. We give him a check for whatever money he has in his commissary account. If it’s less than forty dollars, we’ll give him that amount instead. If he doesn’t make his own arrangements to be picked up, we’ll give him a ride to the bus or train station and a ticket to either his county of residence (providing it’s in New York) or the county he was arrested in.

That’s the minimum. Under most cases, we actually do more. We’ll help them contact family members or friends to assist them after they’re released. We’ll make arrangments for them to receive clothing or money for their release. We’ll help them apply for jobs. We’ll help them look for halfway houses and drug treatment programs. We’ll give them a thirty day supply of any medications they’re taking and help them to make medical arrangements.

What kind of suit?

Apparently, in Maryland they get a ride to the bus station, a white t-shirt and prison issue jeans, and $50:





A law suit?

Thanks, everyone! Looks like I have some reading to do…

Paging casdave for the British side.

What if the prisoner’s place of residence is Hawaii? Or Uzbekistan, for that matter?

What we refer to as “parole wear” - pants, shirt, sport coat. Tan and brown.

That’s whay we have the rule that’s it’s your county of residence or county of arrest. If you’re from Hawaii or Uzbekistan, you’re only going to get a bus ticket back to Brooklyn - we figure you made the rest of the trip on your own once before. (Actually, if you’re from Uzbekistan and you’re not a citizen, we’re probably going to turn you over to INS and you’ll get a ticket home when you’re deported.)

In our county jail they release you out the front door and that’s it for the cops. They tell them to go to the church’s for food , transport, and other assistance. The church’s don’t have the resources to take care to jail discharges, so they may give them food money for a day, and drive them someplace, but normally no assistance beyond a meal. Luckily there is a St. Vincent Depaul that provide shoes, pants and the like. Goodwill on the other hand will not cloth these people.