Tips for assisting a loved one in prison

It’s never easy to see a family member or friend behind bars. You may feel helpless at times, not sure what you can do to assist them in this time of need. While there are some things you can’t control, there are ways you can help them, even from the outside.

Your loved one is going through a difficult time right now, as you probably are as well. Just like you need to find support from positive influences in your life, they also need to find this type of support. You may be one of the guiding lights in their life right now. Fortunately, there are several ways to make the time behind bars easier.

Commit to communication

One thing your loved one needs more than anything right now is your communication. They need to know that you’re still there for them. Show them love by trying to answer calls whenever they initiate them. Write letters to them as well. You can include photos (check the prison rules), inspirational quotes, jokes, current news, updates on your life and generally supportive messages.

Help them stay educated and informed

Depending on the rules of the prison, you could potentially send books to your loved one or sign them up for a subscription to a newspaper or magazine. Your loved one will appreciate being able to keep up with what is going on in the world and also escape into a book from time to time.

Remember special occasions

Birthdays and holidays will surely look different now. But, it’s important to still celebrate these special occasions. Check the prison guidelines to see if you can send a card or a letter wishing your loved one a happy birthday.

Put money in their account

Although special occasions can be a good excuse to put money in your loved one’s account, anytime is a good time. Your loved one will appreciate being able to purchase some items to boost their comfort inside.

Get ready for their reentry

There are a few ways you can prepare for your loved one’s reentry. Help figure out where they’ll stay when they are first released and what support is available for them. Consider starting a savings fund to help them get on their feet. You can also learn more ways to prepare by reading this helpful list from Prison Fellowship.

It’s difficult for everyone involved when a loved one is in prison. Things change dramatically and you need to find ways to bring new hope into your loved one’s life. It can be a challenge, but thankfully there are some ways you can be a ray of light during this dark time.

[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]

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