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Being there for your imprisoned loved one

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The imprisonment of a loved one can send your life into total disarray. On top of your own responsibilities, you may have taken on their responsibilities, too. While they are away, someone must collect their mail, contact their creditors, pay their bills, etc. 

In addition to handling their affairs outside of prison, you also want to connect with your loved one and let them know they are not alone. You do so by calling and visiting as often as you can. As their lifeline to the outside, here are some tips for helping your loved one cope during their time behind bars.

Tips for helping your imprisoned loved

  • Track their stage in the grieving process: Like any significant loss, prisoners who lose their freedom go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Remember that it can take years, if not decades for an inmate to make it through the grieving process. Knowing what stage your loved one is in can help you understand their current mindset and anticipate what the next stage will bring.
  • Write letters: Phone calls in prison can be expensive. For that reason, letter writing can be a great alternative. Before doing so, review the rules set forth by the prison to ensure that the letters will not be rejected. Letters that get through are often kept and cherished by inmates.
  • Share your life: Although it can feel cruel to talk about life outside of the prison, it may be of great comfort to an inmate who simply wants to escape from their day to day realities. If they are interested, sharing stories about friends, family, news events or even neighborhood gossip can brighten their day.

Being there for a loved one in prison can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Not only are you managing their responsibilities and trying to be emotionally supportive, you may also be assisting in post-conviction proceedings. Often, this is too much for a single person to handle. Getting help from an experienced attorney with the appeals process can get you the best possible outcome and provide you with more time to connect with your loved one.

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