Frequently Asked Questions

To make things easier for our readers, we have included a list of frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your question here, please feel free to submit a question here. You can also call us at 510-279-4662 or email Please give us your name, contact information, and question and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. 

For more information about the guide or the trainings, click here

Roadmap to Reentry Guide

+ Who is the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide Intended for?

The "Roadmap to Reentry" guide is intended for a wide audience of readers and for that reason is written in plain, simple language. It is NOT intended for lawyers only (although lawyers can utilize it). It is meant to serve people currently in reentry, those who are incarcerated and preparing for release from prisons and jails, their advocates, case managers, attorneys, community supervision officers, supporters, friends, family, and loved ones.

+ What does the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide cover? How can the guide Help Me?

The "Roadmap to Reentry" guide covers critical legal issues and barriers to provide support to people in reentry in their first few days, hours, months and even years into release. It has 9 chapters, each covering a different area of law. The nine chapters are:

Public Benefits
Parole & Probation
Understanding & Cleaning up Your Criminal Record
Building Blocks of Reentry: ID & Voting
Family & Children
Court-ordered Debt

Within these areas, the guide will walk you through how to prepare for and navigate legal obstacles, with legal information and advice as well as tips on self-advocacy where appropriate or necessary. It will also provide you with sample documents and forms that will help you along the way.

+ Are the chapters meant to be read together, or can they be read separately?

The chapters can absolutely be read alone. The guide is hundreds of pages and does NOT have to be read cover to cover!

If there are specific issues you know you are having or want to learn about, feel free to just read that section. The chapters do connect and link together, so you might be guided to read a little bit about an issue you thought was unrelated. But start where your issues are, and see where that takes you!

Our goal in writing this guide was to create a guide for non-lawyers, just normal every day people, to be able to read, follow, and understand. Some of the features of the guide that we hope will be helpful are:

The Question and Answer format of the entire guide: All questions are asked in first person, with answers that explain how "you" would navigate different situations.

The Table of Contents for each chapter: The Table of Contents is very detailed and lists EACH of the questions asked in EACH chapter. If you have a question you are looking for the answer to, that is the place to start.

Text Boxes along the way: Where information is REALLY important, we have created text boxes that say "IMPORTANT!" so that you will know to stop and take note of that information.

Appendices: Each chapter has an appendix that goes along with that informaton. The appendix has detailed information about procedures, court processes, useful documents, samples, etc. Check them out!

Links to other sections of the guide: Each chapter contains links to other chapters and related issues, where they come up. You may be guided to read a little bit about an issue you thought was unrelated. But start where your issues are, and see where that takes you!

+ Why did Root & Rebound write the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide?

Root & Rebound's team of attorneys and advocates wrote the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide to increase access to justice for people with records, people preparing for release, and the 50,000 people a year who are released from California's prisons and jails, some of the most vulnerable and underserved populations in the state. Root & Rebound hopes that this manual will serve as a template for groups in other states to create similar resources.

As California and the U.S shift to more "smart on crime" policies with a focus on rehabilitation in the community rather than incarceration, more and more people are being released and are expected to find their own path back into our shared society. While release provides enormous relief, it creates new and difficult challenges: often more difficult than incarceration itself. The vast majority of reentering individuals face many legal and discriminatory barriers—including employment discrimination, denials of public benefits, exclusions from housing, and misapplied parole and probation rules. Critically, the existence of these barriers is compounded by a lack of accessible legal information and services. Returning citizens have no legal right to an civil legal aid attorney to provide guidance and advocacy. Currently there is 1 legal aid attorney for every 8,000 indigent people in California, and many fewer who have knowledge of reentry needs. This perfect storm of a lack of legal services and few social services providers across the state can make a successful reentry impossible.

Root & Rebound created the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide to fill this gap in legal information, resources, and services. We hope the guide will be used by all those in reentry, preparing for release, their advocates, and their loved ones to navigate legal issues and discriminatory barriers to reentry so they have the best possible chance of a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities.

+ How is the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide meant to be used?

The "Roadmap to Reentry" guide is designed as a legal toolkit for people in reentry, those preparing for release, their advocates and their loved ones to use as they navigate an unfamiliar world post-release. It is not designed to replace the place of an attorney, rather it is a legal resource designed to provide the 50,000 people released from prison and jail across California every year with access to understandable, empowering legal information that can help them make informed choices, prepare them for the barriers they may encounter and ultimately help them thrive and succeed in reentry.

The "Roadmap to Reentry" guide provides an overview of the barriers to reentry that people will face upon release, but Root & Rebound recognizes that barriers to reentry are incredibly complex and will ultimately vary on a case-by-case basis. For this reason, we would encourage all who read the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide to see out timely current legal advice as and when they need it. We include a list of California legal services in the back of the general Appendix, which can also be found online here. If you look over these resources and still cannot find an attorney to meet your reentry needs, feel free to contact our office at 510-279-4662 or email leaving your name, contact number and question and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

+ How can I get a copy of the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide? Is it FREE?

The "Roadmap to Reentry" is free to all currently or formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones. For professionals who wish to use the guide, we ask for a small fee depending on use and organizational size. To find out more, please visit the Roadmap to Reentry Hub.

The guide comes in both a hard copy and an electronic copy. You can request a hard copy of the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide by clicking here and filling in a short request form or by emailing You can access the electronic copy by clicking here and following the instructions.

+ Is the guide available in a language other than English?

As of its first publication in 2015, the guide is available in English only. It is our hope to translate the manual into other languages spoken widely across the state of California. If you or your organization are interesting in helping us translate the manual, please contact us here!

Root & Rebound has included in the General Appendix of the guide a list of legal service organizations across the state that work on a broad range of issues. Click here to see the list of statewide legal services organizations that work to help people free of charge. We did our best to include as many service providers as possible, but if we missed you and your organization, please contact us and we will include you in our next version!

+ I am reading from another state (not California). Will the information in the "Roadmap to Reentry" Guide still apply to me?

Some of it might, though this is a California-specific guide. Each state in the United States has a different set of laws (and counties can and do often make their own laws, too)t. Because the guide California-specific, it won't be able to identify or explain the local laws in your state or county. However, it is still worth looking over the guide as it can prepare you for some of the issues to expect in reentry, and some strategies around them. It might also get you thinking about important questions to ask pro bono attorneys, case managers, or other community supporters about the rights, restrictions, and laws in your state.

It is also important to note that the guide does cover federal law--which applies in every area of law (and every chapter we cover). Federal laws operate in many of the areas the guide covers, including: federal supervision, voting, housing, employment, education, public benefits, and federal expungement. So if you want to learn about or get a feel for the federal laws that govern in certain situations (like Employment), you might find this guide as a useful starting point.

+ I am a practitioner interested in doing something like this in another state (not California). Where do I start? Do you help other groups who want to create a similar guide?

We would love to support you in these efforts. Please contact us here and we will see what we can do to support.


+ Who are the "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings for?

As a counterpart to the guide, Root & Rebound will be providing "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings in communities across California for people in reentry and their advocates, service providers, attorneys, community supervision departments, and engaged community members. That means we work with prison and jail--based programs, nonprofit organization, grassroots community groups, churches, temples, and mosques (religious institutions), schools, corrections agencies and organizations, and more.

+ Are the trainings free?

Root & Rebound partners with organizations across California to provide trainings to their communities. Wherever possible, we work with an organization to request funding to cover our travel, printing, and preparation costs for trainings. We also run as many free trainings as we can with the support of private foundations, individuals, and government funders.

+ What do the "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings look like? How can the Trainings help me or those I work with?

Each "Roadmap to Reentry" training will run for one full day from 9am to 5pm. The "Roadmap to Reentry" Training will review the content in the Guide, the resources it includes, practical tips on how to use it as well as covering any specific subjects that are most relevant to the audience.

The trainings will be hosted by at least one Root & Rebound staff attorney. Depending on the size of the audience, Root & Rebound will work with the host organization to find space, send out invitations and organize RSVPS, and recruit volunteers to provide logistical and technical support to ensure the event goes smoothly.

To schedule a training, get in touch with us here and someone from our organization will get back to you shortly.

+ Why did Root & Rebound create the "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings?

Root & Rebound created the "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings to maximize the impact of the "Roadmap to Reentry" guide, ensuring it is a dynamic resource that will be used effectively by the people who need it. We also hope the trainings will act as timely forums for education and conversation about the very real barriers to reentry that people face across many areas of life and will spark debate and inspire political and corporate change to ensure that people in reentry have access to opportunity, are treated with respect, and valued for their contributions post-release.

+ Where are the "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings based?

Root & Rebound will be conducting "Roadmap to Reentry" trainings across the state of California. Our areas of special emphasis include rural reentry in Central California and the Greater LA region but we are excited to conduct trainings across the entire state. Please contact us here to learn more.

+ Would it be possible hold a"Roadmap to Reentry" Trainings in a prison or jail?

Yes, absolutely. If you run an institution or an institution-based program, and would like us to come speak to people about how to prepare for reentry, please contact us here.

+ How can I request a "Roadmap to Reentry" Training?

You can request a "Roadmap to Reentry" training by clicking here and filling in a short request form or by emailing