When a loved one goes away to prison, the emotional balance of your family can be turned inside out. A huge part of your family may have been taken out of the equation for a long time to come. During these rocky times, it is important to continue showing your loved one support. But what can you do?

Write Letters

This is the most consistent form of contact you can have with someone in prison. Establishing a habit of writing back and forth with your loved one will promote a sense of connectivity that resembles being together. Though the letters will take longer to send than an email, letters are a more reliable form of communication than any electronic means. This is particularly important if you have family members who won’t be able to visit them for any reason. As minor as this benefit may seem in the face of years or even decades away from your loved one, the small things count a lot.

Create a Visiting Schedule

Writing letters is a hugely supportive habit to start getting into, but nothing beats the in-person visit. Just like old times, you will have the opportunity to talk about anything and everything. Such conversations are often the most therapeutic of all. If possible, create a regular weekly or bi-weekly time that you will visit. Give your loved one something to look forward to.

Regular visits will also help you stay up-to-date on how your family member is doing. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of your loved one being hurt by other prisoners or by guards. They may not feel safe to bring it up to anyone there, but you can take action on their behalf. Just because they are in prison does not mean that they have surrendered their rights. They can pursue legal recourse against anyone who has hurt them.

Encourage Improvement

While prison is a punishment, it is also meant to give people a chance to turn their life around and stay out of prison in the future. There are a variety of opportunities available for inmates to better themselves during their stay in prison. Encourage your family member to take part in educational classes and similar opportunities. Even if they are only there for a short time, this will help them to find a purpose to their life and may even extend once they are released.

While your family member is in prison, you are their lifeline, and they need you. They may have done some horrible things, but don’t turn your back. Help them see how they can change and this may help them turn their life around.

Resources:

Budge & Heipt

How to Write to Someone in Jail

Tips for Visiting Prison