There are over 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. All of those people have families that are affected by their incarceration.
If you’re one of those family members, you might be struggling trying to figure out what to do for your loved one – let alone for yourself.
Luckily, we can help you out. Read on for the top tips families need when dealing with incarceration.
Figure Out the Money
Getting money to your incarcerated loved one so that they can buy items in the commissary is one of the first things you’ll have to work out.
You’ll need to know their inmate or booking number in order to send them money, along with the current balance of their prison account – since they’ll only be allowed to have a certain amount of money in their prison account.
Know How to Contact Them
Contacting an inmate can be more complicated than you would think. You may have to wait until they call you. Or, you may need to send letters, which can take a long time – and you may never know whether they get through.
Depending on the prison and the situation, you may be able to call them ahead, but there are rules you’ll need to follow. You’ll need to research what you need to know before calling an inmate.
Take Care of Yourself
In order to take care of your incarcerated loved one, you’ll also need to take care of yourself. This can become more complicated if your loved one was your family’s primary source of income – you’ll need another way to support yourself.
If you have savings and your loved one has a shorter sentence, you might be able to budget carefully until they get out of jail. But otherwise, you may have to look into a job in order to create another source of income.
Taking care of yourself also means self care. Having a loved one in prison can be emotionally taxing. But it can also be physically taxing if you’re trying to commute to the prison to visit your loved one whenever you have free time, or suddenly doing a full-time job.
Make sure you have a self-care routine, and take time for yourself when possible.
Think About the Future
It’s important to know what you’ll do for your loved one after they get out of prison. Having a plan in advance helps to reduce the recidivism rate. And, your incarcerated loved one’s life after prison may look very different than it did before.
They may have lost friends after going to jail. They may have to switch careers. If possible, set up mental health care for your loved one, so they can work through their complex emotions.
Tips for Families Dealing With Incarceration: There’s More
This is just the very beginning when it comes to tips for families dealing with incarceration. There’s so much more you need to know!
Do you need more advice for helping your incarcerated loved ones and other, related topics? We can help.