Knowledge — 3 years ago

Tips for Supporting a Family Member Who is Going to Jail

by Sarah K.

Supporting a Family Member in Jail, Family in Jail

How to Support a Family Member Who Is Going To Jail

People in the United States can serve a prison term for various reasons. Some people are also sent to jail because they have immigrated without proper documentation. Others may be serving a term because they rode a train or bus without a ticket or used prohibited drugs in public. One thing is a clear-a friend or a family member in jail may have a deep impact on your life in the future. You may feel deep anguish or ashamed because of their plight. However, it is also crucial to realize that merely having feelings cannot change the circumstances of your dear ones. Here are some of our suggestions to show you support for a family member who is in jail:

1. Answer the Phone Calls of Your Loved One

When a family member in prison is trying to call you up, you should accept the phone call without accepting any reverse charge. After all, they must have paid to place that call. You should understand that your loved one and you both are human beings. So, there can be experiences on both sides to share and talk about. Simply pick up your phone and accept the call.

Supporting a Family Member in Jail
2. Send Money to Them if Possible

If your family member does not have money, he/she might not be able to access communication sources such as envelopes, phone cards, and stamps. Also, they might require funds to get in touch with a lawyer by phone. They may also require a pen and paper when they have to send some urgent information by mail.

Plus, your money can come handy to buy some snacks, as well as personal care products such as toothpaste or toothbrushes. However, it can be a challenge to deposit some money into an account of an inmate. You should have his/her complete name, account balance, and booking number. Once you procure the relevant details, it should not take more than a few minutes to do the transaction.

3. Write Letters to Them

It can be costly for a family member who is in jail to make calls over the phone. After all, they might not have the account for doing so.

If it is not possible to exchange experiences over the phone, you can send them handwritten letters instead. It is a meaningful yet inexpensive way of communication. You can visit the website of the facility where your family member is house before writing to them for the first time. After all, you have to learn the rules and regulations for sending letters in jail. Ask questions, tell them about the new developments in your life, and share national or local news stories in your letter to them.

Family in Jail
4. You Can Visit Them in Jail

There is hardly anyone on this planet that does not require human interaction. So, make sure that you visit your family member or friend in prison once in a while. There can be transportation issues to reach the prison. You can ask someone else in your family or a friend to drop you there. You can also ask them to accompany you to the prison where your family member is housed. Remember that he/she needs your support now. They might violate the inmate rights out of frustration. Your decision to visit them occasionally could reduce the chances of them violating their rights in jail.

5. Ask them is they met new friends in prison

One of the most important things when going to prison or jail is building a community with fellow inmates. When you speak or visit people you love in jail, ask them if they met people they connected with. If they did, ask if they would like you to visit their friends as well. Many people who go to jail or prison stop receiving visitors after a while, so it is important for you to support the small community that your friends or family members that you know.

6. Share things about your life as well

A lot of people think that if they tell inmates about their lives outside of jail, they are rubbing it in. However, the opposite is true; when you share details from your life with friends and family in jail, they will have a great distraction and better communication with you. So, have back-and-forth conversations with inmates, and let them feel like they are not alone.


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