Moving is considered one of the most stressful times in a person’s life.

Moving from prison back to life as a citizen adds a unique spin to the stress one experiences.

Individuals exiting the correctional system are inconsistently prepared for re-entry. Many are disconnected from the reality of how to live and lack knowledge of what resources are available.

A life of freedom is an achievement worth living for and requires a strong foundation to be built on. There are 8 fundamental needs in order to have a shot at creating a life of freedom.

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Food, clothing, hygiene
  • Documentation
  • Bank account
  • Health care
  • Support system

This book was written by a returning citizen for individuals preparing to be released from prison. However, this survival checklist is key for anyone going through a time of transition and change. These checklist items are the foundation for building a new life.

Use this book as a resource to help you prepare to navigate and overcome the barriers and obstacles of re-entry.

And let me be the first to say,

“Welcome home.”

A Happy Man Smiling

The Returning Citizens Survival Guide is a beacon of hope, a practical roadmap that is deeply embedded in empathy and understanding. In today's fast-paced world, where second chances can be few and far between, this guide is a comprehensive resource that speaks volumes not just about the process of reintegration, but about the human spirit's indomitable will to progress and redeem itself. Every chapter, every piece of advice, resonates with the core truth that every individual deserves an opportunity to rebuild, relearn, and reintegrate.

This isn't just a manual; it's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit inspired by lived experience, offering not just steps but stories, not just guidelines but glimpses of hope. For those looking for a path forward, or for those who aim to help others find that path, The Returning Citizens Survival Guide is an essential read. It has left a profound impression on me and I'm certain it will do the same for many others.”

- Sam S.

Hand Writing on Paper

Thanks for the workbook it helped me out to know what I don’t want (to use) and a lot about myself I did not know! :)

- Adult in Custody

In 2010, Frank C. Patka IV faced a pivotal moment in his life when he, at the age of 26, was convicted of Robbery II. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison under Oregon's Measure 11 "one strike and you're out" mandatory sentencing act.

After spending the summer in solitary confinement, Frank got a new counselor who became his mentor. His counselor, Mr. Morrison, worked with him for almost 2 years before Frank earned his transfer to minimum prison. While at minimum, Frank was part of organizing and developing a grassroots movement to influence prosocial communication in both staff and prisoners.

Following Frank’s release from prison in November 2015, he began speaking about prison reform and reduction of recidivism. He intentionally directed energy into rebuilding relationships with his family and friends, fostering a supportive network to aid in his journey towards becoming a productive member of society.

In December of 2017, with the help of strong community support, Frank Patka IV founded Changing Patterns for the purpose of connecting returning citizens to employment opportunities, education, and community resources.

In February 2020, Changing Patterns launched its first mentorship program, only to be faced with its biggest challenge yet - a global pandemic. During this worldwide pause, Frank wrote The Returning Citizen’s Survival Guide - a resource for navigating the barriers and obstacles of re-entry from incarceration. The book was crafted to not only provide practical advice on necessary logistics, but to spark inspiration and hope.

With the help of close friend, Ryan McCrone, the book was published and Changing Patterns resumed operations. The team is now working to empower returning citizens to develop the behaviors and skills required to build character, self-reliance, and self-worth.

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Contact us.

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Need help getting connected to community resources?

Interested in mentoring or being mentored?

Questions about the book?

Just want to say hi?

Please, email:

or send a letter to P.O. box 675, Bend OR 97707

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Our Mission

To assist returning citizens in successfully navigating the barriers and obstacles of re-entry from incarceration.