Families of Prisoners Support Group

This community is dedicated to families that have been disrupted by prison. Having a loved one incarcerated or having been incarcerated comes with its own unique challenges that require support and understanding. Join the group to find others who know what you're going through, and to seek advice or share your experience.

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How to deal w/my son in prison

My son was arrested on 2/1/07 for robbery, he is only 19yrs old. Got in with the wrong crowd. Not making excuses for him, because he was raised to know the difference between right and Wrong. He is in for 3yrs. My problem is that life has seemed to stopped for me since then. I seemed to live for the one day a week I can visit him and the other two days when he gets to call. The rest of the time I just seem to exsist. I feel depressed, anxious, guilty and don't know what to do about it. Any advise would be appreciated.



I saw this advice on a different site. I think it is good. Hang in there, if you want to talk, I'm here - Kim

Here are some things we can do to help our children in jail.

1. Write your child often...Even just to say "I was thinking of You", "I Love You and Support You"...Don't depend on anyone else to do this. Nothing like a mothers Love.

2. Clip out the newspaper, or buy the book of crosswords/ word finds and etc and take pages from it and mail it to them. If they are allow books or magazines...Subscribe to at least one, preferable their newspaper. Go on the internet and copy, paste and print spiritual, reglious, comic, jokes, and etc and mail in an envelope. You don't even have to write a note with it... I've found appeal information off the internet and printed it off and dropped in the mail... My son loves sports, music... I send him clippings of whatever interest him off the internet... Little things go a long way...

3. Put something Special in their accounts for birthdays or to reward them when they accomplish something while in prison.

4. Under that only through Education shall "Recidivism" stop. If your child needs their GED, make it your business to write the prison or go online and look up that prison information towards acquiring an education. Don't stop at a GED for education, Just because there are no federal funding to allow for college of incarcerated persons, doesn't mean they can't register and take college course with their state local or out of state college. It is much cheaper in state tuition. Stop looking for a program for incarcerated persons. Ohio University happens to have one for that if you can afford it and it is a good program...BUT almost all local colleges have "DISTANT EDUCATION COLLEGE PROGRAM"...and all inmates are entitled to attend with the approval of their Warden. Instate Tuition at a local college cost an estimate of $130- $150 for 3 credit (1) course. Get a fund raising going, ask for donations, with-in your family, friends, church and etc to help pay for one or two courses each semester. When my family ask about gift for my birthday, christmas, etc...I simply tell family and friends...a contribution to my son college education and/or his appeal...My point to you, if you want to put an end to our children coming out of prison to not being able to get a decent job, having a home and being independent, then, what can we expect but for them to do crimes and return back... This is called "Recidivism" Read up on this matter! Support your child towards rehabilation. If you need assistance in this area...write me anytime.

5. Tell Your Love One NOT to BORROW, EVER from anyone while incarcerated. Go Without!!! Not even a cigarette, for the interest on the loan WILL BE higher than the loan. This is why it is important to put something on your loveones account. $2.00 is better than Nothing. They will appreciate it. Tell them not to join any gangs. Mind their own business... "Do You"... Gossip will get you hurt and/or killed. Keep Busy. Have a schedule that includes exercising, mediation, reading, job and/or school. Make the Best of the Situation. Again, I can't stress the issue of NOT BORROWING...from anyone. You never want to owe a favor. Don't Loan Out Either, or Your may be the Bank for everyone and having trouble getting them repay their debts to you. Simply Again... Tell them to do themselves...or go without.

6. My son's deadbeat child support father, today, 20 Something years later, maturer, has promised our son to financially support his account until he is released. Our son has a budget for general expenses and basic needs. He can pay the MCI collect calls, newpaper, magazines and etc from that monthly allottment his dad now provide. This enables me and others to contribute to his college education and appeals. GOD IS GOOD!!! GOD IS ALWAYS ON TIME!!!

7. If your loveone is incarcerated out of state and it is hurting you not seeing him, and it cost to much to fly. Greyhound Bus service have all types of special programs and rates. Amtrak does too. My son is in state, but is over 9 hours away from me. I have met others that live in my area and have to travel that far, we now group together and even stay over night and bunk together in a hotel to save money. If there is a will, there is a way. If you have to stay overnight, book your room on the internet, it is much cheaper... Due to the distance, we are overnighters, The room cost $79 per night, we pay $43 with taxes...off the internet...for the same room... The hotel has offered us the 2 room Suite at a discounted rate. Weekend rental car service is much cheaper. You can rent a car/suv and buddy travel to visit your loveones. There are so many things to do, to get you where you want to go... It's call "If there's A Will there's A Way"... For God Is Good!

8. My son says to me too, that it is hard for him to have to leave us, he wants to go home with us. Yet, he also says, I will never tell you to stop. Some inmates have chosen not to receive visitors until they are moved closer to home, which is understandable. Bottom line, unless they refuse visitation...Go see them. Also, while visiting my son, we witness family members of another inmate, arguing during the visit...If you could see the expression the saddness on the face of the inmate having to sit and watch his two siblings argue on his time...Please, come at looking and acting your best. Leave all the negativity at home. Visits should be pleasant, loving and to put a tiny bit of normalcy in that loveones life. For, tomorrow is not promised.

9. Don't baby them. Don't condone, but don't condemn them either. If you see or hear them changing for the better, let them know. If they are not, let them know.

10. Do not become friendly with the prison personnel, however, call or write your childs counselor, let them know that you are supportive to your child rehabilation and the family is available to assist with this. Find out what programs are being offered at the prison. Know the prison rules and regulations. When ever requesting for, e.g. that your child be allowed to attend college, which must be approval by the Warden, let them know, that education is a preventive measure to prevent relapses nto criminal behavior which is commonly referred to as "Recidivism". This will go a long way. Most prison officials think that the families have thrown away the key on the inmate. Be professional and pleasant at all times. Make sure that the counselor, the Warden have updated emergency contact information. Your child won't be treated any different the other inmates, but you have put them on notice that you hold the prison and warden accountable for your childs health and safety.

11. Don't assume anything about prison life, the prison your child is incarcerated at, and don't depend on your child letting you know, they sometimes don't know themselves. Call the prison and ask. If you don't know who to ask, ask your childs counselor.

12. Stay in touch with web sites such as this one. Don't be afraid or ashame to come out about your child, your loveone, your friend being incarcerated. I know, for my son is the first person ever in my entire family to be incarcerated and to be incarcerated in a max prison for 30 years. It was truly difficult for me to come out about this. It happens to the Best of Families... We are all in this together.

13. If you want your child to have the faith, you must have it, show it, and convey it. Regardless, of how much they may not be ready for it, send them spiritualand religious information. I simply tear pages from old books, magazines and send it. One day when they are bored and feeling hopeless, trust me... God is always On Time...

14. Send them photos of family, friends, of the house and etc. Never enough photos.

15. When writing them, tell them about your day. No need to discuss prison, they know, they are living it. Be honest about your day and things that happen. My son often tells me, "Mom, I can hear you actually talking in your letters"... I keep it real.

16. Take Care Of Yourself. You can be no good to your loveone if you aren't good to yourself. Your Health Is Your Wealth...Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually. Incarcerated persons worry about their families and close friends. My son, worries about me constantly, Just as I worry about him. So for me, I make it my business through visitations to see for my own eyes that my son is in good health, spirits and safe...vice versa. I have made a promise to my son and self, God willing, I will be at the Gate when he is Released, whether it is 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years... I don't talk about taking care of myself, I do it, by any means necessary. So, please take care of yourself. Be Good to yourself. Live your Life to the fullest... Simply incorporate your love ones situation into it....

17. When Praying For Your Child to be in the Best of Health, Spirits and Safe, Pray for their Cell Mate, for a Healthy and Good Spirit cellmate makes for a Safe environment for Your Child and Vice Versa... I pray for all the inmates, the warden, counselors, and even the C.O.'s... Like one CO told me, We are no different than your son, we just didn't get caught... We are all human beings and God's children

I hope these suggestions are helpful and know that I am with all the Mothers. Fathers, Family and Friends with a Child or Children in Prison... It's truly difficult, but it's a Blessing each day that they are still with us. I know some Families that visit a cold grave.

All the Best
One that I felt I should share to give others some sense of "Hope"... That all isn't lost because our loveone, our children are incarcerated... We must not give up on them, whether they will be release or are doing Life terms... I believe God will determine each and everyone's length of incarceration. And for what ever period it shall be for, they are all still human beings, they are all still "God's" children... and deserve a chance at rehabiliation. True, there are some whom shall never rehab or whom are consider "career criminals"... But, they too, belong to some family... Love transcends Love... and Hates transcends Hate... I would never condone crimes made by my child or any one else. They should be held accountable for their crimes. The sentencing should be just and fair, which they aren't. Rehabilation should be first and foremost, but it isn't part of the equation at all within DOC. Judges should demand rehabilation programs, trade training, be administered and be part of their sentencing, but they don't!!! Only thing they order is "Anger Management" courses. Prison is a mult-billion dollar business and the government is not trying to lose such a incoming and employment producing business.
I don't know the answers to surviving Prison, only that we the people, we the families, need to make some changes to cut this cycle called "Recidivism"...

Welcome fellow Delawarean!
You'll love it here.
Hang in and please write me whenever you need too! My son just got out of prison, Thank GOD, but I know what you are going through and would be more than happy to help you out whenever you need it.

My daughter has spent her first year in prison and she is turning 21 in Sept. I know what you are going through and yes life in the beginning does feel like it stops. I can't say it gets any easier because that would be a lie. I see her 2 sometimes 3 times a week for she is 45 minutes away from me...She too got in with the wrong crowd and her wonderful boyfriend at that time! Those feelings may never go away but they will ease up eventually...everyday i force myself to get out of bed and live life...i trust God for her and to do what needs to be done in her life...i'm here if you want to talk


hello, i 'm sorry to here about your son. i have a husband that is in for hitting another inmate the guy that he hit almost died and still could die it;'s been 4years since he's away i felt guilty also.but don't he did it not you all you can do is just be there for him and from what you wrote you already are they have away of making us feel sorry for them but they really know that they are wrong all u can do is pray to god that he will learn and when he gets out he will get on the right track so don't beat your self up. all you gotta do is love him i hope i helped

Hi, I know how you feel. My brother went in on Nov. 6th 2007 for second degree assult. He got in with the wrong crowd, got on drugs and become an alcoholic. His release date is Dec. 8, 2008. It was so hard at first on him, my parents and me. All of us just cried when they cuffed him and took him out of the court room that day. We got to see him 2 days later at the county jail before they transported him to the Diagnostic center. But we couldn't touch him because he was behind glass. When he saw me that day he just cried so I cried. My parents and I just sat around crying a lot and when he called all I did was cry and that made it harder for him. He finally said, you have to quit crying. I did it and I put my self here. I accepted it and so you should too. Everything happens for a reason.

I'm not going to lie to you. It's still very hard but it has been the best thing for him. He is getting the help he needs and he has learned he has to change his life when he gets out. He is getting ready to go to a substance abuse/alcohol treatment program. It's a 6 month program. He asked them to send him for it, so that's a big step for him, admitting he has a problem with alcohol and drugs.

I live 3 hours away and we don't have much money so I only get to see him once a month sometimes once every other month. But he calls me every other day and I write him letters 3 times a week so that helps.

My mom and I found a website and it has helped a lot. Check it out: http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/

Once your son gets a release date you should start counting down until that day. It helps me a lot. Everyday when I get up I think to myself it's one day closer.

If you ever need or want to talk feel free to message me. tes7@hotmail.com

I hope this helped you:)

hi-i understand exactly what you're saying.sometimes we can only take i min. at a time, always remembering that god will work everything out. my child has been gone for a short time(every day seems like a year)yet our life has to go on. if we don't take care of ourselves, then we are nothing for them, or any other loved ones. hang in there, and remember you are not alone.

I know exactly how you feel. My son who is now 19, was arrested charged and convicted of vehicluar homicide at the age of 16. No drugs or alchol involved but they were all travelilng at high rates of speed. It totally crushed me. I didnt go to a visit that first year that I didnt cry my eyes out. I couldnt eat, sleep or live my normal life anymore. They just think they are invincible at that age. I felt like I was so powerless because I could no longer protect or really help my son, and as a MOTHER THATS WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!!!! We have adjusted and now my son will be released from the juvenile institution and head to the county jail here next week we have all grown and changed thoughout this but we have come out stronger because of it as well. Hang in there!

On 5/31/07 my son was found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to 12yrs. At this point, I can't even offer you advise on coping with your "loss" because I feel the exact same way you do. When I read your post, I felt like it was me writing it. My entire life revolves around this nightmare. He is my life and I miss him so much. My heart goes out to you and your son. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I feel your pain my son is 22 and just got 10 years. I have trouble sleeping I worry all the time. I try to think good thoughts and keep saying that it could be worse he could be dead. I havent been able to make the pain go away. Stay strong for your son. When he calls I always try to be upbeat. I dont want him to feel my pain as I think that would be worse on him

When my brother was arrested in 98 it ripped us into. My mom went into depression and every Holiday it was so hard on all of us but especially on her. She was always so angry and would cry all the time. It was very hard. Last year was the first year in a long time that I believe she allowed herself to heal a little and we had Holidays where we do pray for him but we also enjoyed our time together. Not a day goes by that we don't think about him. I miss my brother so much. I can tell you that it is important to write letters; talk to him often. They need this. They need to know that we love them. My brother has to act big and bad because that is survival but everytime I see him it warms my heart and I won't lie, I cry like a baby when I leave but it does do your heart good and theres too.

This is such a hard thing to deal with. My sister is in prison for the first time, for driving on a suspended license, and breaking probation, 4 DWI's, and other drug charges. This has been out life for the last 15 years. I think she is finally getting it!
The best advise I can give, is SET Boundries!!! Then, just walk with him through this. Don't through his mistakes up in his face, don't make excuses for him, and make him take responcibility for his actions. Write him, send cards, magazine articles, cross word, anything he enjoys. Someone else mentioned "prisonTalk", thats a good site!

Also, you have to do things for you, too. You have to still live your life and be present in it. Its very hard, but you should find a way, because, he did this to himself, he made the choice, and you matter as much as he does. Just stay true to yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

I'm here if you need tp talk!

I am new to all this. My son was 16 years old when he crashed and two of his friends died. Convicted of two counts of reckless vehicular homicide. Charged him as an adult. Did a plea of a 10 year suspended sentence. the best thing considering he had 7 felonies against him. Just 5 weeks into his probation he tested positive for drugs. Turned himself in, bailed him out of jail. Failed another drug test before his court date for the violation of probation. He is being held in the county jail. The DA wants him to serve his full 10 year sentence. Tomorrow he will have been in the county for 2 weeks. Waiting on his court date in about 5 weeks. This is a very high profile case. So if you sneeze the press knows about it. I miss him so much and cry all the time. I try to be strong for the rest of my family, but I just don't know how I am going to get through this. He became an addict to drugs and alochol. We tried to get him help but kept getting turned away. Then when we finally get someone to take him in-patient long term treatment he had violated 2 days before. The DA and his PO would not allow him to go. So he sits in jail waiting and dealing with coming off the drugs with no help, no detox, no counselors. I am looking for support and how you deal with something so bad
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