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Playing With / Just Got Out of Jail

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  • Basic Trope: A character who was released from Prison has a hard time adjusting to life on the outside.
  • Straight: After doing 5 years for jaywalking, Bob is released. He finds adjusting to life on the outside difficult. He finds that he no longer likes the taste of fresh or frozen vegetables (having gotten used to canned vegetables that are overcooked and mushy), doesn't like the idea of going down the hall to go to the toilet (using a bucket in his bedroom instead), and even though he's living with family, can't help but look over his shoulder, expecting a violent altercation. Additionally, he finds that he can't get a job, because no one wants to hire an ex-con, and is likewise having trouble finding steady housing.
  • Exaggerated: Bob tries everything he can to Get into Jail Free.
    • Bob was released over a decade ago, and still has trouble readjusting.
  • Downplayed: Bob was incarcerated back in 1991, and released in 2011, during which time a lot has changed technologically; Bob now has to learn how to use new technology like smartphones and the DVR.
  • Justified: Prison life is very different than life "on the outside," and readjusting is going to take some time.
    • Bob spent a lot of time in solitary confinement, and his brain has never been (and likely never will be) the same again.
    • Bob is having a hard time finding a job (because no one is willing to hire an ex-con), and even though he has a roof over his head now because he's crashing with his sister Alice, that might not always be the case. But he's finding that housing is also hard to come by, because no one wants to rent or offer a home loan to an ex-con.
    • Bob was spoiled inside of a Gilded Cage, and life on the outside just pales in comparison.
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  • Inverted: Bob struggles to adjust to the norms of prison life. He doesn't understand the unspoken rules of social interaction, is unable to join any prison gang because he's either the wrong color or just doesn't fit in, can't stomach the food (which, to be fair, is pretty awful), and the plank with a pathetic, thin mattress on it that passes for his bed is hurting his back but he pretty much has to just suck it up and deal with it.
  • Subverted: While in prison, Bob makes good use of his time. He takes classes, and learns a skill that will theoretically serve him well on the outside.
    • In prison, Bob did electrical work, so he starts his own business as an electrician.
    • Bob's sister Alice is understanding about the whole situation, and lets Bob stay in her spare bedroom as long as he needs to, rent-free.
    • Bob is released from prison, but rather than being just tossed into the outside world, he's sent to a "halfway house," to help him transition back into normal society.
  • Double Subverted: But he still faces obstacles when it comes to getting hired.
    • Bob is unable to start his business, because he's not a certified, licensed electrician, and can't get into a program to get those credentials.
    • Alice's husband Charles isn't so understanding, and regards Bob as The Thing That Would Not Leave. He has a point; Bob is unable to adjust, and it really is taking a toll on all concerned.
    • Once he's released from there, he finds it's difficult to function, partly because of obstacles to getting hired and getting an apartment, and partly because he doesn't have every waking minute of his day structured for him.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig Zagged: Some people adjust easily, others don't.
  • Averted: Bob doesn't go to prison.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "Life on the outside is harder than I thought..."
  • Invoked: Bob is released from prison. He's been in for a long time, and the experience has changed him. Additionally, he faces numerous obstacles to getting his life back together.
  • Exploited: The prison makes it so hard to adjust that those released end up coming back because they have little choice...and thus it gets more money. The library is full of Extruded Book Product with no real literary or educational value, if there's anything in it at all, or else it has copies of Encyclopedia Brittanica...that are 30 years old and thus horrendously outdated. There are no classes or GED programs available to inmates, and no career counseling or resume-writing classes.
  • Defied: The prison makes available to inmates educational, career-building, counseling, and spiritual opportunities, and Bob makes the most of each one. He gets a degree while in prison, and is able to start a business or get hired somewhere, and he's able to adjust to the norms of the outside world.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???

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