Those of you with SOs in prison

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if some of you with SOs or other close friends (or even family members) who went to prison or are in prison could give me some advice on how to cope. I’d also be interested in hearing from those of you who have been to prison (what to expect, what to do, what not to do, etc.)

Someone very close to me is looking at a year minimum, 3-4 years max. It is a nonviolent crime, and the first hearing is set for December 7th. We don’t know whether or not it will go to trial.

Anyway, I’m not looking for legal advice. I just want some thoughts, opinions and experiences of those who have been through this. Right now I just feel sick thinking about it, and have been having trouble functioning at work (crying spells every few hours.) I can’t sleep and can’t stop obsessing over the awfulness of it. I don’t have any insurance and have very limited transportation, plus a very difficult work schedule, so I’m not sure that counseling is really an option. But if anyone feels like writing anything about this kind of ordeal, I think it might help me feel a little better to hear from you.

Thanks very much.

I don’t have such a lover/relative, but I will bump the Thread.

However, it may be that people who do, find it difficult to talk about, even on the Web.

I guess. It is hard not knowing anyone in real life in this kind of situation. I thought maybe people online would have some ideas, but you might be right.

I know there are resources on the web for families of incarcerated people. Have you looked for those via Google or other search engines?

If you google “families of prisoners support groups” you get a LOT of results.

I typed out a long reply and it seems to have disappeared or whatever.

I’ve known several people incarcerated for different reasons and all of their experiences were different. It depended on where they were, what they were in for and for how long.

I know two people locked up for DWI in two different counties and their experiences were different.
One wore street clothes and slept on a cot in a dorm, however his access to a phone and visitors was very limited (one phone call and one visitor a week by appointment only), the other wore a uniform, stayed in a cell but had very liberal phone use and unlimited visitors on visitor’s day. One of them was allowed to smoke, the other wasn’t but I can’t remember which was which.

When my ex-bf was in, I was mostly okay. I missed him but he’d call me once a week and I went to see him a few times. I had to make an appointment and if I was one minute late I lost it. All I could take in was my ID and car keys. I had to walk through a metal detector and they waved a wand around me. The inmates sat on one side of a counter, the visitors on the other, kind of like a diner. We were allowed to kiss hello and goodbye, anything beyond that would get you thrown out.

When my friend went to see her bf, same time, same charge, different county, they had the booth arrangement with glass between them and they had to talk on a phone.

I don’t know where you are or if it’s this way every where, but calls from the jail will be collect. You have the option to accept or not and there is an option to block the calls. Since cell phones can’t accept collect calls there is a system set up where you can deposit money so you can receive the calls to your cell. The cost depends on where you are, when my current guy was in, a call cost 42 cents, but a friend in another county had to pay $1.78.

Be aware that every form of communication will be monitored. There is no privacy. You should be able to send money orders for their account so they can buy candy, chips, etc at the commissary.

If you go to visit there will be a dress code, check it out before you get there. If your dress is not appropriate they will not let you in.

When my current guy was in it was very hard. Mostly though because neither of us knew it was happening, his ex-gf filed false charges against him, he was arrested and locked up. I couldn’t get a hold of him, didn’t know where he was or if he was okay for two days. It was a mess, he was furious at the charges, hoping to get out on bail, not allowed to call out except to his lawyer. I had to get all my information from his friend, who was getting it through his aunt, who was getting it through his lawyer.

Once he got settled in then he could start calling out.

He was locked up, in a uniform, all day in a cell except for break times. He took every class he could take just to get out of his cell.

There were 80 men sharing 4 phones. He’d get in line to wait his turn, calls are limited to 20 minutes. He’d hang up and get back in line, no way is anybody going to stand in line making call after call unless they want their ass beat.
He’d call me every few days and then he was so mad he’d end up picking a fight with me and hanging up on me. Then I’d get mad or hurt, but his friend sat me down and told me what he was going through was 100 times worse and to let it roll off, you can’t take it personally.
It was hard, I worried about him everyday, but the not knowing was the hardest part. I’d hear he was getting out on bail, then the bail would be denied.

He was only in there a little over a month before he went to court and the charges (52 of them by then) were dropped. He lost his job, almost lost his home and spent thousands in lawyer fees.

If he had known he was going to jail and it hadn’t been on false charges it probably wouldn’t have been so bad.

I had two foster kids go to jail a few years apart. (Therapeutic foster home; the boys already had felony charges when I took temporary custody.)
The inflated charges for collect phone calls, pleas for money and/or treats, and trips to visit an incarcerated person can bleed you dry. Because my kids were so miserable there, they quickly came to feel entitled to the expensive collect phone calls and money. There was always another inmate whose family visited more often, brought better treats, and paid for more phone calls. Nothing like restrictions and too much time to think and wallow to make an incarcerated person behave like a victim.

Yeah, harsh, but that was my reality with two different felons in separate jails with two different charges. I loved them. I elt strongly that each was as much a victim of his home environment as he was a sneaky kid looking for shortcuts to success that harmed hard working people. Worthy of love and sympathy, but also learned victims and conmen.

Just be careful with your resources, and don’t kill yourself trying to make up for the bleakness of your loved one’s environment. You didn’t put that person in jail; don’t put yourself there.

A friend’s boyfriend is being held in jail; and bail is out of reach for them. I’ve been writing to him, just cheap cards and short notes. He’s written back a few times and seems to appreciate anyone from “outside” remembering him. Jail sounds even more boring than being in hospital, so send letters as you can.
If you know what facility your friend will be in, they might have a website with the rules on visiting and stuff like that. Here’s an example, Visiting rules and mail rules;-Inmate-Mail.aspx

This thread might be worth taking a look at. It’s not the exact same situation, but it’s similar enough that some of the opinions and advice should still apply.

Wow. Is that something you are willing and able to talk about? That sounds like a thread right there and I’m really curious.