Earlier this month the CFPB published its Focus on Reentry companion guide to the Your Money, Your Goals toolkit introduced in 2014. The companion guide, intended to assist organizations and their staff on how to address the unique financial challenges facing individuals pre- and post-release from incarceration as well as encourage financial empowerment and consumer financial protection education, also contains tools designed to aid “justice-involved” individuals. In particular, Focus on Reentry helps front-line staff teach these individuals to:
- Assess financial goals and understand their current financial situation to identify financial challenges to successful transition;
- Set “SMART” goals (Specific, Measurable, Able to be reached, Relevant, and Time bound) and identify steps to achieve them;
- Understand potential issues they may face when trying to secure documents related to identification to help ease the transition process;
- Identify and prioritize debt—both debt arising from the individual’s involvement in the criminal justice system (criminal justice debt) as well as consumer debt—in order to set debt management goals;
- Understand the process for accessing and reviewing credit reports and how to dispute errors to credit reporting agencies; and
- Understand individual rights to obtain and review criminal background screening reports and how to dispute and correct errors in criminal background checks.
In addition, Focus on Reentry provides information and resources on the impact of incarceration on student loans, access to financial aid, tax obligations, as well as many other categories.