Surviving on the Outside

This is a guide for people who have been released from prison. Just click on the question to see answers, information, people to call and websites to visit for help.

Day-to-day challenges can put a lot of stress on someone who’s just been released. Things like finding a place to live, talking to Centrelink or getting in touch with family and friends sometimes have to be done quickly and may not be easy to do.

Although you may have heard that many people released from custody end up back in prison sooner or later, there are many others who succeed in making a new start. The first few weeks and months are critical.

This information is here to help you through this time.

How to use this information

Accessing the internet

You’ll find internet sites and phone numbers for a number of organisations. If you don’t have regular access to the internet, you can get free access at most public libraries. In country areas there may be community technology centres, which give cheap internet access to people on Centrelink payments.

All information was current at the time of writing (November 2016), but things change over time. If there’s a difference between this information and what you were told in your release preparation sessions, trust the information provided in the pre-release program.

Getting support

You may think that if you can handle prison you can handle anything, but many people on release have said that the first few weeks outside were actually harder than the time they spent inside. Coping with money problems, dealing with other people, and feeling like you don’t fit in can be overwhelming. You may feel depressed and anxious and not want to leave your room. If the stress feels like it’s getting too much or is stopping you getting things done, it’s time to seek support.

Who can help?

On this website is a list of key agencies that provide free help.

Telling services that you’ve been in prison can help them understand better what you’re going through. But it’s up to you to decide how much you feel you want to say and what you are comfortable with.




This section is not about immediate post-release accommodation, but about moving on from temporary accommodation towards more stable and long-term housing.