It’s hard to figure out what to say to someone who just got out of jail. You may be flooded with a range of emotions from being angry it happened to being happy you’re finally reunited.
Your feelings are valid, but did you think about how the person feels? Be careful with what you say, because it may trigger negative emotions or make readjusting to life on the outside difficult.
If you care about this person, you will take an encouraging approach when dealing with him/her. Here are some ideas of what to say to someone who just got out of jail to help uplift, motivate and encourage:
Customizing your messages
The most important thing you can do is be sincere in your approach. Using generic messages can come off as fake or may feel awkward.
Your message will be more effective if it’s coming from the heart and really says something. And while these ideas of what to say to someone who just got out of jail are all unique and encouraging, it helps to customize them to make them connect.
Some ways you can customize your message and improve what to say to someone who just got out of jail include:
01Let him/her know that he/she is not alone, and you are only a phone call away
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02Use the moment to show that you understand this is a serious and fragile time
03Let him/her know that he/she has your support/help (financially or any other form of help)
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04Ask any questions you may have so you know how to proceed
05Let him/her know that you understand he’s/she’s gone through a very tough time and will help in whatever way you can, even if that means giving him/her space
06Share what the future holds for him/her and what plans you may have
07Remind him/her that you believe in him/her
08Update him/her on what happened to the people he/she knows well during the time in jail (e.g. common friends, his kids, parents, etc)
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7 of the best encouraging messages for a youth who just got out of juvenile prison
Juvenile prison isn’t the same as jail. It’s the kiddie version, but it can still be intense for a youth.
This is a very sensitive moment in a child’s life and must be handled carefully. Encouragement is needed to prevent repeat offenses and an extensive criminal record.
Here are 7 ideas of what to say to someone who just got out of jail when it’s juvenile detention:
01“Kids make stupid mistakes all the time, but this is your last shot. Make it count.”
If the youth isn’t the emotional type and neither are you, it’s still important to say something. This simple message means that making a stupid mistake at a young age is human, and that stupid stuff can easily land you in trouble. However, the stakes are higher next time around, so he/she shouldn’t waste this final opportunity to set him/herself straight.
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02“No matter what happens, I’ll always be your shoulder to lean on.”
Use this when the juvenile offender doesn’t really have a strong support network. It lets him/her know that he/she always has a friend in you.
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03“I’m just happy you’re back home with me where you belong.”
This is something a parent or sibling can say when the person is out. It says that he/she does not belong in prison, but rather at home with people who love him/her.
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04“Listen, kid. Life will knock you down sometimes. You just have to brush yourself off and keep pushing. “
This is good to use when you have an informal relationship with the juvenile offender. It’s good to use when you realize the experience has the person down and you want to remind them to not give up.
05“You will always be my baby, no matter how far away life takes you. At the end of the day, you will always have a home here. “
Use this when the person is your child. It reminds him/her that you haven’t given up on him/her.
06“They’ll be watching you now, so you must prove them wrong. I know you have what it takes.”
When a person commits an offense, they are less likely to get any leniency if something happens again. It also means people will doubt him/her and expect him/her to make future mistakes. It is especially good to say this when you have been through it yourself.
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07“The day you went in is the day you decided you weren’t a kid anymore. I’ll be here for you to help keep you on the straight and narrow.”
The reality is that juvenile offenders are marked for life, and the experience changes them. Saying this reassures the youth that he/she has support and that you are sort of a guardian angel.
6 of the best encouraging messages for someone who just got out of jail after less than 2 years
Any measure of time in jail can feel like a lifetime. But, in a relative sense, 2 years isn’t that long.
What you say to someone who is released after 2 years is vastly different from what you’d say to someone who is released after 20. It usually means the offense is less severe and isn’t anything super crazy.
08“You screwed up, and it could have been worse. This is a blessing. Use it wisely.”
This is a stern message you can use to show the person that though you are disappointed in what happened, you still think things can change for him/her.
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09“If you promise me nothing will separate us ever again, I promise to stand by your side through this storm.”
Holding the person accountable is fine, and this is a great way to do it. This says that if he/she doesn’t get into any more trouble, everything will be fine.
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10“These past two years have been hard without you, but I know it must have been even harder for you. I’ll make every day we spend together easier than the last. “
This is a good way to acknowledge that the person has been through something traumatic. You are promising to help the person through it.
11“Sometimes it takes being in the darkness to see the stars.”
This is good to use when you want to say that the person has clearly learned their lesson.
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12“When a door gets shut in your face, another one will open. Your second chance will be even greater.”
Say this if you think that the setback was only fuel or motivation to do better in the future.
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13“Two years too long. This time belongs to us. “
This is a cute message you can use when you feel like you were robbed of the chance to spend the last two years with the person.
6 of the best encouraging messages for someone who just got out of jail after several years (3 to 9 years)
This means the offense was more serious and the term had more of an impact on the person.
Here are some examples of what to say to someone who just got out of jail after spending less than 10 years behind bars.
14“A lot of great people went to jail: Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, and you. Like them, you will rise from this stronger, smarter and more successful. “
When you’re in jail, you don’t get to experience life as normal, and you will be robbed of opportunities. This is a good way to show that a successful and meaningful life is still possible after all that.
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15“You’re not the same as you were when you left, but I’m ready to introduce myself to the new you.”
After a decade, people change, as do their interests, tolerances and outlook on life. This message acknowledges the hurdles he/she has to face and highlights his/her commitment to working on things.
16“Our time apart has only made our relationship stronger. Now that you’re out, nothing is holding us back. “
This is a positive way to look at it. It says that your relationship grew while the person was away and you’re looking forward to loving each other on the outside.
17“What you did was wrong, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I love you despite your flaws and know deep down, this does not define you. “
It is good to use this when you want to be realistic about the situation and your feelings. It says that you still love the person and have forgiven them for their wrong.
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18“No one wants to spend nearly a decade away from a loved one. I’m just glad this is the type of separation you come back from. “
Being separated from a loved one because of prison is bad, but it’s even worse when it’s a life sentence, or if the person dies. This says that you appreciate and acknowledge how lucky you two are.
19“I would not wish this on my worst enemy, and I know you wouldn’t either. That is all in the past, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. “
It is good to say this when you know what happened was bad, but you think it can get better. It says that you are willing to move on and have positive thoughts going forward.
6 of the best encouraging messages for someone who just got out of jail after 10+ years
Spending over a decade in jail can make a person do a complete 180. They will go in one person and come out entirely different.
It can be scary for ex-cons to reintegrate into the real world. Prison is different from real life, and even the smallest thing can trigger a negative response.
This is what to say to someone who just got out of jail after spending more than 10 years behind bars:
20“I believe in giving people second chances. You did your time, and you deserve a fresh start. “
It is good to say this when you want to let the person know that he/she has a clean slate in your eyes. All is forgiven.
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21“You have a lot of apologies to make and people to prove yourself to. As long as you believe in the person you are now, nothing should change that. “
Say this when you want the person to realize that there will be a lot of making up to do, but the most important thing to do is forgive themself.
22“You missed out on a lot, but we’re all here to catch you up on all that happened and hang like old times.”
It is good to use this when you want to dedicate yourself to filling the person in on all that happened and resuming your friendship.
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23“They say 10 years changes a person a lot, but I know that guy I fell in love with is still there. “
It is good to say this when you know that things haven’t changed in terms of how you feel about each other, and you still have good feelings about your relationship.
24“I’m ready to rediscover the man/woman you are and teach you all the things I know. This relationship will only get stronger, and the rest of our lives will be ours for the taking. “
Use this when you don’t care about how much the person has changed because you love him/her so much. It also means that this rediscovery can be a chance for you to fall even deeper in love with each other.
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25“Being locked up and isolated for so long isn’t good for anyone. As you readjust to life on the outside, know you are not alone. Not anymore.”
Say this when you recognize the person is hesitant about being released, but you want to help him/her through. It will help to know that someone has his/her back.
5 ideas of what to say to someone who just got out of jail after they were proven innocent
The unfortunate reality is that some people in jail today aren’t even guilty of what they have been accused of. Most of them are, but now and then, you’ll hear a bizarre tale about a convict being exonerated.
Despite being released and proven innocent, it was still hard to be in jail and even harder to readjust. This is what to say to someone who just got out of jail after being proven innocent.
26“Even when the world doubted you, I believed in you to the very end. I know who you really are inside, and nothing could ever change that. “
Use this when you want to let the person know that you always believed in their innocence because they are not capable of such bad things.
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27“The truth will always come out, and today, justice was finally served. “
It is good to say this when you were a part of the fight to get the person proven innocent and released. Real justice is truth, and that was accomplished.
28“It sucks that such a grave error was made, but it’s not too late to live your best life.”
This is good to say when you weren’t very close with the person, but the impacts of being falsely imprisoned are obvious.
Photo by Paul Vasarhelyi on shutterstock
29“They don’t know you like I know you. They never did, and they never will. They stole our time from us, but they were never able to steal our love.”
Say this to someone you are in a romantic relationship with. It lets the person know that you loved them through it all.
30“If it meant going up against the whole world, I would’ve done that because I never doubted you for a minute. “
This is good to say when you would have gone to any length to help the person prove their innocence because you know for a fact he/she never committed and could never commit a crime. It says that you believed the person from start to end.
Jail is tough. Picking up the pieces is even tougher.
Your job as a friend, lover, teacher, colleague, church member, sibling, and even acquaintance is to provide some type of encouragement to lift the mood and motivate them. Use any of these examples of what to say to someone who just got out of jail to do so.