Prison sentence of the loved one always affects the whole family. Being taken away from family and friends is one of the most challenging aspects of the sentence for the inmate. The same feeling of punishment appears in the family as well. How to prepare yourself and your family?
96% of people in prison will be released. This is the good news! However, your support makes the difference and helps to survive and prepare for the better life. You don’t need to validate their fantasies of innocence. You don’t need to stoke their righteous anger. You should help them to realize that they made a bad choice, but this choice doesn’t define them. Help them to plan the future and to achieve their goals.
START SAVING FROM $10 TO $20 ON EACH CALL FROM YOUR LOVED ONE IN PRISON
Best practices to support your loved one in prison:
- Regular open and honest communication;
- Get the PrisonConnect number and ask your loved one to register it as the facility. You will pay much less for your calls, so you’ll be able to talk more;
- Write letters to each other. You will hold them with the knowledge that your loved one did the same;
- If you have children, encourage regular writing in both directions. You can always pickup a letter and re-read it.
We encourage you to call, visit and write letters to your loved one in prison. In some facilities, inmates are allowed to spend time with their children away from the usual constraints of a prison visit. Try sending and receiving emails, if this is allowed in your facility.
Find out all necessary information about the facility. This includes:
- Rules and regulations, so you would not break any of them and get into further problem;
- Number of people who can visit at the same time and when visiting hours start;
- How many works inside prison and how much money you should spend every week/month;
- What special services the facility offers. It can be work programs, medical options, and education programs. Just to make sure that your loved one will spend time productively and avoid any violence.
Time in prison is a difficult phase in life. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare yourself will help your family to get through this challenge.
How to Raise Children with a Parent in Prison
When a parent goes to prison, it has huge emotional and traumatic impact on the rest of the family. It can be overwhelming for children and the second parent. It takes an incredible effort to return to normal life.
You might have to change residence, work more, deal with resentment, anger and hurt. You may want to avoid further contacts with the parent behind bars. However, it is always better to do what’s best for the children. What they need is love and support of their parent – both of them. They haven’t forgotten their parents and want to know they’re not forgotten.
Best practices of raising children with a parent in prison include:
- It is possible to build a positive and meaningful connection between children and their parents behind bars. This kind of supportive relationship will benefit everyone in the family;
- It’s best to speak respectfully about the incarcerated parent in front of children. Even if you feel the opposite. Insults and critics will only add stress and confusion to children’s life;
- Talk honestly about how he or she made a wrong choice and facing the consequences. Show the importance of making right decisions;
- When your loved one is calling, allow your children to speak with their parent. Help them to prepare for the call by choosing one topic before the call so that they won’t ramble;
- Encourage writing letters and drawing pictures. It means a lot to the parent in prison. Send photos. Contact the prison to find out what is allowed to send.