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State & Federal Criminal Defense | White Collar Defense | Civil Rights
How To Handle
Tips For You & Your Family
Nearly ONE-THIRD of American adults
have some sort of criminal record. This
means many families must cope with
having a loved one behind bars.
Incarceration can be temporary —
an individual charged with a crime can
be held in jail until posting bond, or
while awaiting trial. Incarceration also
can be for the long term — if there’s a
conviction and a sentence to serve time
is handed down. Below are five tips for
individuals facing incarceration, and
five tips for families whose loved ones
are incarcerated. Following them can
help everybody cope with this
FIVE TIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS
WHO ARE INCARCERATED
Contact an Attorney As Soon As Possible
If you are arrested and authorities intend to hold you in jail
until filing a criminal charge against you, or until your first court
appearance, get legal help as soon as possible. An experienced criminal
defense attorney can help you understand your rights and possibly secure at
least a temporarily release if the judge sets bail terms.
Create a Financial Plan
If you are going to be incarcerated for more than a brief time and your family
depends on your income, it’s imperative to have a backup plan. Examine
your budget and determine how your family can make up for the loss of your
Address Your Feelings
Although you may feel as though you must bottle up your emotions, this can do
more harm than good. Be open with your family or a prison counselor about any
feelings or frustration you may be experiencing.
Support Family Rituals
Being incarcerated creates a huge disruption to your
family’s routine. Try to support as many rituals as you
can, encouraging family members to continue in your
absence. Acknowledging birthdays and staying in
touch helps maintain familial bonds.
Don’t Lose Hope
It’s possible you will have a long, difficult road ahead
attempting to return to “normal” after your sentence
is completed. With a little effort and a positive
attitude, you can maintain strong connections to
your family and friends. This will provide a better
foundation to rebuild your life.
FIVE TIPS TO HELP FAMILY MEMBERS
WHO ARE INCARCERATED
Stay in Touch
People who feel their families have moved on without them have a more difficult
time coping with incarceration. Regular visits and correspondence help inmates
feel more connected and give them reason to be hopeful.
Keep Parents Informed About Their Kids
Keep incarcerated parents in the loop when it comes to school, sports and other
significant elements of their children’s lives. Being behind bars doesn’t mean a
parent can’t take pride in his or her children’s accomplishments.
Provide Emotional/Psychological Support
Families may be ashamed of having a relative incarcerated. However, that
individual must be shown love and respect to have the best chance at finding the
strength to rebuild his or her life.
Find Outside Resources
Many organizations offer support groups for families with relatives serving
time. Some prison systems also provide resources to help children and
parents stay connected while they are completing their sentences.
Plan for Life After Prison
It’s critical for families to have a plan to help their relative once his or her
prison time has been completed. This should include researching employment
possibilities. Preparing for the day he or she will be released gives everyone
something to look forward to and prevents some of the awkwardness that
can come with the adjustment period.