My sister is in jail

She has had a criminal record since 9th grade. She likes to hang out with troublemakers who put her up to doing bad things. Her first offense was shoplifting, which she got community service for. She graduated high school last year, and we all thought she turned her life around. About a month later, she got a boyfriend who was a crook. They we’re both arrested for drug possession in August, and the charges we’re dropped. A couple months later, he dropped out of college and took out massive student loans so they could run away to Florida. She has been trying to scam everyone in our family for money, and debt notices keep coming to my house with her name on them. Today our dad told me that on Thursday, she was arrested on for grand theft, identity theft, and credit card fraud. These are all felony charges. They are holding her in jail until her trial. She is a smart person, and could do a lot if she didn’t get sucked into other people’s schemes.

So sorry to hear that.

No words of wisdom…but I am sure some other folks here will have some shortly.

Best wishes.

Sadly, some people do not learn/change until they face harsh consequences.

It sounds like a very stressful series of events for you. I am surrounded with people like her, my mom is problematic in a similar manner.

I hope things work out as best they can.

It’s hard, I know. But it might be time to start thinking of her as someone with a drug problem, who is (and has been) responsible for her own choices, and less as someone who’s just following someone else (the aforementioned troublemakers and boyfriend). Stop making excuses for her. I hope that your sister gets the help she needs, that you and the rest of your family stand by her, and that she gets better.

Sucks. She’ll either get her shit together or not.

Well that’s a contradictory statement in itself. Smart people don’t get sucked into other people’s schemes. She sounds like a sociopath which is a person who thinks they are above it all and lacks a conscious. Sorry it involves you but I doubt anyone in your family can fix the problem.

Sorry to hear this, BofKing. Sounds like the boyfriend is likely the one who scammed her into this. Especially with the student loans. These are all non-violent crimes, so hopefully probation is what she’s facing.

“Cholo” is a term for a member of a street gang.

Situation: Cholo killed in gang warfare.

Dead cholo’s mother:

“My son was not a cholo - he dressed like a cholo and hung out with cholos, but he was not a cholo”.

My sister is not a criminal. She hangs out with criminals, and does criminal things, but she is not a criminal.

See the difference?

To the OP.

Do you intend to keep lines of communication open thru letters and visits?

Right now there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, so let this fact give you some peace of mind.

Additionally, beyond whether or not she deserved it or can handle it, there is a million other worse things that could have happened to her out there, leading that sort of life. So let this also give you some peace of mind.

I’m sorry to hear, and I wish you and her the best. Let this be a source of quiet grief, if it should be, until the issue is resolved. But don’t let it be a source of monstrous anxiety and agony.

I guess the difference is the person is question hasn’t committed any violent crimes???

There’s a difference between “hasn’t committed any violent crime” and “to my knowledge hasn’t committed any violent crimes”, isn’t there?

Good advice, Blackstock.

Boffking, hang in there. Find positive ways to deal with your anxiety. Let’s hope your sister turns her life around sooner than later.

Yes, do that.
But keep your checkbook tightly closed.

And remind your parents of this – they are even more likely to be guilted into ‘helping’ her, especially as they grow older.


To my knowledge you have not buggered schoolboys or participated in genocide.

They can arrange to put money in her account.


Boffking, your sister sounds like my brother, who was in and out of jail for about twenty years. The amount of money my parents spent on getting him out (“because his kid shouldn’t know he’s in jail”) and paying his fines and fees and attorney’s costs is ridiculous.

It will feel heartless, but since she’s been in trouble before, you and your family should seriously consider letting her face the music on her own. If your parents feel the need to pay for anything, I’d suggest a private attorney. But do not pay for her probationary or restitution fees. Just don’t. Make her stand on her feet and pay them herself.

If she goes to prison, yes, send letters and packages. Help her with her commissary account (prison food is freakin’ inedible, and they don’t provide much in the way of hygiene products). But don’t get sucked in to constantly giving large amounts of money for legal costs. If you do, it will keep on forever.

Hang in there. It’s really hard, I know. You might consider talking to a therapist, because this is stressful.

I hope that since she’s so young that this experience might lead her to consider if this is the life she wants to continue to lead.

With felony charges, she has limited her future options already. Things like education, housing, and certain occupations may be closed to her now or far, far more difficult to obtain.

If she is a smart girl who has been temporarily distracted by the lure of bad boys, drugs, crime, and alcohol and had once had higher plans for her future, she may respond well to this and decide to straighten up.

If she has some kind of undiagnosed or untreated mental issues such as bipolar, this could be a good time to find that out and get help.

If she has decided to chuck it all and go for an exciting life of drugs and crime, not much will help.

You will have to step back and evaluate which way she decides to go. She’s old enough and smart enough to get into trouble. She should be old enough and smart enough to get out of it, too. My policy is that most people can solve their own problems if motivated enough to do so. I’m willing to assist those who help themselves, but I will not help those who are scammers or not interested in change. You will find out soon enough which camp she falls in to.

The point I believe is that family continues to look through rose colored glasses. My boy isn’t a gang member he just hangs out with them. My sister isn’t a criminal she just hangs out with troublemakers and gets drawn into their schemes. Some juvenile mistakes can be dismissed as that. After a long pattern you can conclude its a life choice. It does no one any good to deflect the blame. Putting the blame on others leads to more enabling from the family. I don’t know the OP’s situation but I have dealt with issues in my family and in countless others. It’s best to throw away the rose colored glasses. This happened because an adult made a choice. Not because of a boyfriend or anyone else.

I agree with Loach, you’re going to have a bad time if you keep the rose-colored glasses on and insist that she’s really smart and just happens to hang out with criminals and just happens to get caught up in other people’s schemes. I mean, this isn’t someone who happened to one time get caught up in a questionable scheme, she’s someone who is actively trying to scam your family and is involved with multiple felonies. People who stay involved with criminal enterprises aren’t people who just made one little mistake and really will get over it if we bail them out this time.

My advice is to stay in contact with her if you want, but don’t ever give her money or valuables that you want to see again, access to your stuff, or unsupervised visits in your house. If, at some point in the future, she really wants to change, support her verbally but still don’t giver her money or the chance to rob you until a few years down the line.