Roadmap to Reentry: A Connecticut Legal Guide

Our Roadmap to Reentry Legal Guide is an essential resource for navigating the legal impact of a criminal record on getting ID, housing, public benefits, and family issues.

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Table of Contents


  • What identification (ID) documents exist, and why they are important.
  • An overview of key types of ID: birth certificates, Social Security numbers (SSN) and cards, Connecticut Non-Driver ID cards & Connecticut Driver’s licenses, U.S. Passports, tribal ID cards, library cards, voter registration, and Selective Service registration.
  • Which forms of ID are most important.
  • When and how to get each ID document, and which documents to get first.
  • How to get certain documents while incarcerated vs. after release.
  • Some options for getting ID for undocumented people.


  • Different types of housing options and tips for the housing search.
  • Short-term vs. long-term planning for where someone can live in reentry.
  • Housing application process, including bans or restrictions related to past convictions.
  • What criminal records and other records can lawfully be accessed by government-assisted housing providers (including Public Housing Authorities, or PHAs) vs. by private landlords.
  • Joining family and friends in housing — the differing rules of government-assisted housing providers (including PHAs) vs. private landlords.
  • Challenging illegal housing denials by both government-assisted housing providers (including PHAs) and private landlords.
  • Maintaining (keeping) housing.


  • Key types of public benefits programs, including: cash assistance; food benefits; health care; work services; Social Security benefits; veterans’ benefits; and cell phone benefits.
  • Eligibility and enrollment rules for each program, including restrictions based on criminal records.
  • What happens to your benefits during incarceration, and how to restart benefits after release.
  • Applying for and keeping benefits — how to apply for each type of benefit; and how to deal with denials, disqualifications, or terminations of benefits.
  • Resources and referrals.


  • Re-connecting with a child after incarceration, including:
  • First steps to take in locating and reconnecting with a child.
  • How to find out if there are any past or current court cases or court orders involving a child, and how to start or join a court case regarding a child.
  • Restraining and protective orders that can impact a parent or caregiver’s rights.
  • Criminal record-related barriers to reconnecting with a child.
  • An overview of custody and visitation.
  • Three key courts that handle family-related issues in Connecticut: probate court; juvenile court; and family court. (The court that handles juvenile justice issues is the juvenile court, which we describe only very briefly since juvenile justice is not a focus of this guide.)
  • Paternity (or parentage) issues.
  • Child Support and Spousal Support orders—issues with paying debts during and after incarceration.
  • Issues that arise during incarceration, like mothering and pregnancy in prison, and ending a marriage or a domestic partnership.
  • Domestic violence.

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