Arrested, Trial, Jail, Prison, Felony, Incarcerated

He or She Might Be Thinking About...

  • How will I survive if I get convicted?
  • I wish I could turn back the hands of time to get a do-over. 
  • My life is over.
  • I feel alone to deal with this situation on my own.
  • I am embarrassed and ashamed to have a family member in prison.
  • I don't want to talk to anyone about my loved one being incarcerated.
  • I feel confused and frustrated. I am also angry about the entire situation.
  • I can’t do this time.
  • I should have avoided high-risk activities and associations.

Words or Actions That Might Be Encouraging

  • Send money for stamps, envelopes or phone cards.  
  • Deposit money into the incarcerated individual's account. Make sure not to exceed maximum funds limit.
  • Depositing money may be difficult to sort out, but don't give up. The money really helps for incidentals.
  • Accept calls from the incarcerated. Inmates can pay for calls, Calls are not always billed to you.
  • Make sure you focus on the inmate and not about you during your phone conversations.
  • Make sure the inmate knows that they still have a role in your life as a trusted friend or advisor.
  • Write letters. Calls can be expensive. Also, letters can be read later.
  • Before you write letters, make sure you visit the website of the facility where your family member, friend, mentor, or community member is housed. Every facility has different rules.
  • Catch them up on your life, ask questions, and share the local and national news.
  • Visit in person. Offer to go with your friend to visit the incarcerated individual. A little company goes a long way.
  • Make a point to visit an inmate continually, instead of just one time.
  • Remind the person that they are powerful and resilient. The system does little to empower.
  • Make a point to tell them about your life. Treat them as you would any other human being.

Words That Might Be Discouraging

  • Did you do it? Are you guilty?
  • Don't obsess about how sorry you are that they are on the inside, or only talk about the case.
  • You just need to settle in and do your time.
  • I don't really know what to say. I have never been in this situation.
  • Why did you do it?
  • What do you do for fun in here?
  • How is the food in here?
  • Why are you not writing your mother more often?
  • What should I tell your friends?
  • I saw your wife\girlfriend out at the club.
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