Prison term is by no means a pleasant experience for an inmate or his loved one. It is an extremely devastating and emotional experience. Life in prison is minimalistic and arduous. Not to forget the emotional roller coaster of getting along with the other inmates.
When a loved one is about to serve a prison term, not only does the accused go through great emotional trauma, the family is also not spared. Be prepared on how and with whom you would want to share the news first. Dealing with neighbors and relatives can become a mountain of a task.
The best advice that can be given to the family is to stay calm and not cut off from their social circle. People will eventually come around and accept things the way they are. It is going to hurt when you lose a few friends in the bargain. But you may make new friends with stronger ties through these difficult times.
The emotional trauma of being in prison is going to be immense on your loved one, especially during the first 2 months. How can you help a loved one cope with prison?
First and foremost do not make your loved one feel guilty. He/she is going through enough already. Don’t add to his mental trauma. Be supportive and understanding and under no circumstance make them feel left out. Your support will give them the courage to cope with prison time.
Set aside some amount of time for regular visits. Talk to your loved one on how often you will be able to visit. Keep in touch with them through the prison term. Meet them on a regular basis. For more information about prison rules, you may log on to the handy http://prisonfinder.org web portal readily available online.
Most loved ones keep promises for a few months and then the frequency begins to frazzle. Don’t miss the dates. Keep your visiting promises. This will make them feel more than just a prison ID number. It will help them touch base with their identity, be comfortable with who they are. It will help them cope and possibly reduce the feeling of dejection and loneliness.
Food in the prison is funded by tax-payers money. Obviously, it is going to be basic. Nothing fancy or lavish. Talk to them about home food or their favorite cuisine. Allow them to live through old memories from your description.
Share your troubles with them. Seek their advice. Make them feel wanted and respected.
Make it a point to make birthdays feel special. Make or take cards and messages from loved ones. Reading from near and dear will give a sense of reassurance from their loved ones. It makes them feel special no matter what.
Share family pictures of gatherings and celebrations with close friends and other loved ones. They won’t feel cut out from the real world. This will give them a feeling of being a part of the celebrations. Just one glance at home is what they yearn for at times.
Bring forth and share fond memories when you meet them. It will help them live positively through the memories of the past. Talk about the food you prepared or ordered. Their well-being in prison is dependent on positive memories. Prison food is minimalistic. It lacks the touch of love. Let them live vicariously through fond memories of the past. It will keep their spirits high.
Having a loved one in jail can burn a hole in your pocket. Be prepared. Set aside some money for extra phone calls, visits, or sending care packages on request. Make a budget or take a second job if required. Talk to them about budget constraints and how to go about it. Seek their advice. They may give you valuable advice. It makes them feel good.
Stay calm – Prison life is hard. They may lose their temper at times. Don’t react. Be understanding and respond calmly. Give them an ear. Allow them to talk about their experiences inside. Be sympathetic to their experiences. At no point make them feel like they deserve it or it would never have happened if they had followed the right path. What’s done is done. Accept the situation as it is and help your loved one cope with it.
Taking care of your health now is inevitable. Your good health will keep your loved one in jail feel comfortable and secure. Neglecting your health could lead to missing visits which would have rippling negative effects on your loved one.
Make arrangements for prison leave whenever possible – Certain kinds of prisoners, especially the ones serving long-term prison in a low-security prison can avail leave based on their behavior through a comprehensive assessment process. Many prisoners are granted leave in the event of a death or a major illness in the family. They are also granted leave for re-integration and re-socialization with the world outside to help them cope with getting back to normalcy. Keep the home looking exactly the same, on the day they had to leave to help them fit in with ease.