Finding support during the incarceration process is important. When an individual is first incarcerated, there is an immediate ripple effect, impacting the lives of not only the person entering the prison system, but those that are closest to him or her as well. In addition, the challenges of the prison sentence can often be a burden to friends and family. Without the proper support system, one prison term can continue to affect a family for generations.
By connecting with organizations and families familiar with the process, there is a wealth of knowledge that you can use. No single person or family can (or should) take this journey alone, and it is important to seek the proper resources to aid in this trying time.
Consider implementing these few tips at the beginning of the incarceration process:
- Communication is key! By communicating as openly as possible, you can set expectations both for you, your loved one and your family.
- Anticipate stressful times and prepare for them. These stressful times usually include when your loved one is arrested, transferred, reviewed for parole, released and holidays.
- Make a plan and a budget. Often times the loss of a family member to the prison system can immediately change a family’s financial health. Start with a new plan, evaluate a new budget and consider additional employment if possible.
- Continue to live your life and work on your own personal plans, goals and priorities.
- Don’t be afraid to venture into social media. Over 2 million family members have a loved one incarcerated and many connect through different prison advocacy groups as well support forums online.
A few of many resources…
The JPay Forum is a great way to give and get support from others just like you. From finding a pen pal for your loved one, to finding a ride to a facility, the JPay forum offers many portals to connect with others in your state.
The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated is the oldest and largest organization in the U.S. focused on children and families of the incarcerated and programs that serve them. Learn more here.
By building the right support system at the beginning of a prison sentence, the process can be made a little easier. Reach out, connect, and make a difference in the community of families behind bars.
“Don’t give up on the people you love. Your patience and faithfulness may be exactly what they need to make a complete turnaround.”