Are you facing shock from an unexpected arrest in the family? Maybe you saw it coming, but it hurts just the same. If you have loved ones or parents in prison, you could be going through a rollercoaster of emotions.
Until we’re put through the situation ourselves, we never know how complicated it is to have someone we love taken away from us and placed into the system. There are a lot of legal processes that need to take place and many other things to be dealt with. For example, if your loved one’s car was impounded upon arrest, you’ll need to find a way to get it out.
You’ll also need to figure out who will pay for their bills while they are away. On top of all of this, you’re left feeling empty inside without your loved one here. It’s a lot to take in all at once, and that’s why we’re here to help.
Below is our guide on learning how to cope when a family member is in prison.
Dealing with the Aftermath
In some, but not all, circumstances, there is a bit of aftermath to deal with when a loved one is placed in prison. This aftermath is usually due to the reason why your loved one was arrested. If it’s something that’s aired on media coverage because of its severity, then you might be dealing with friends, neighbors, and even strangers giving you unwanted attention.
Most times than not, this happens when the crime involves either violence or sexual crime. You’re then feeling emotions of guilt and shame, but it’s important to understand that your loved one’s actions have no connection with your own character. Be sure to contact a law firm for more guidance if this is the case.
If you experience any harassing phone calls, messages, or notes, keep records of everything and stay in contact with the police. If you feel you need to move for safety purposes, your local police department will guide you in the right direction.
Being Honest About the Arrest
When a loved one is placed in prison, always remain honest with the children involved no matter who it is. Even though your first instinct might be to keep the situation hidden from the children, they’re more clever than you think. Children have a way of finding the truth out, especially when dealing with situations like this.
You might not need to give out every small detail revolving around the situation, but it’s best to let them know where their parents are or where their siblings are. The initial impact of the truth on the children might be a lot, but the sooner you tell them, the sooner they can begin to adjust to what’s going on.
When telling other people about it, only tell what you feel comfortable telling. Not everyone needs to know exactly what’s going on, so only tell what you’re comfortable telling.
Go to Your Visits
Maybe you need some time after the arrest to process everything. That’s normal as you have your own adjusting to do. However, be sure to go to your visits with your loved one.
Prepare yourself for what you’re going to see and what you’re going to go through to get to your loved one. You will need to go through security screenings, you’ll be placed in a visitation room with other visitors, and you’ll see your parent or loved one in prison clothes. These might all seem like basic things to expect, but it’s best to prepare yourself for the experience fully.
Come prepared with a few things you want to talk to your loved one about. This will help keep the conversation going well for the entire length of the visit. You should also prepare yourself for your goodbyes, which can be the most challenging part of it all.
If you begin to meet other visitors there traveling to see their own loved one in prison, don’t hesitate to build relationships and begin to carpool to save money and to have someone to lean on who understands your situation.
Look Into Programs at the Prison
You might be surprised at how many great programs are offered within the prison. If you have a parent or child placed in prison, you might benefit from the relationship-building program. Speak with the prison where your loved one is an inmate and ask what types of programs they offer.
When someone you love is placed in prison, there’s a physical and mental distance put in between you. This can put a damper on your relationship. To ensure that your relationship stays strong and healthy throughout the entire sentence, be sure to engage in some of the programs offered to you both.
Throughout the entire process, don’t forget about your health. Do what you need to find support for yourself. Any friends and family members you have to lean on should take advantage of this.
Even if you feel like you’d rather keep to yourself, seek help where you can. Aside from friends and family, there are organizations available where you can find support. For example, the Prisoners Families Helpline is there to offer you the support you need while getting through this experience.
Do You Have Loved Ones or Parents in Prison?
If you have loved ones or parents in prison, getting through the sentence is difficult for both them and you. It’s a trying time for everyone, and you’ll need all of the support you can get. Keep this guide in mind when needing to find ways to cope, and remember that there are organizations and programs to help you when needed.
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