During sometime in your life, you will know someone in prison. How you support and handle that situation could either make or break that loved one or friend. It is extremely important that you think of how you would feel if the tables were turned. Not everyone in jail is a criminal, nor are they guilty. There are many in jails who did not commit the crime, but for sure as the door closes on them, the world will judge them.
Some things that you should know first, is that what they are going through in jail is more than most people could handle, so it is extremely important that you remain patient at all times. As you go to the jail the first time and they search you and lock your possessions away, you will feel slightly intimidated. Imagine your husband, son or daughter being strip searched after you leave and they are looking and search everywhere that anything could be stuffed. It is both humiliating and embarrassing, especially for a religious person. Some of the guards are more than friendly and touching them where they will never tell.
1. Be nice to the guards at the prison - Don't make any problems, act courteous and do whatever they say. If they tell you, that visiting is over, then just say okay. Because the next time you go there, maybe you will not even get in at all. There have been many times that a prisoner is abused because his wife was unruly.
2. Patience - required. Don't ask too many questions and just be supportive. If the prisoner yells and screams at you, stay calm and relaxed and just take it in. Try changing the subject and tell them some happy things. Remember, the stress they are under is extreme.
3. Money - The prisoner needs money and as much as you can afford. They need money for food, entertainment and protection. Many times a prisoner will be blackmailed and he needs money to be safe. As much as we hate to hear this, there are rapes and attacks in jail and we need to help support them.
Sometimes you will need to pay money to the wives of the prisoner. Maybe his roommate is losing his home and with a few dollars, you can buy some friendship. You can find someone to watch out for them.
4. Get to know the other wives or spouses in the waiting room. Not just to know the news but to find support and information on what is going on. Many times someone else will know of a judge or a lawyer that can help your spouse. Maybe at some point, you will need help in some way. Be friendly, kind and gracious at all times. Remember, most families are in bad financial shape now, so kindness goes a long way.
5. Get the best lawyer you can for your spouse. A free lawyer is just that, free and his time on the job is less than you will want. Lawyer's are very expensive and they are very busy. Expect your attorney not to show up, return phone calls and even do what he promises. Even if you have to sell your 50 inch television, get a good lawyer.
6. Go to every single court date - There is nothing more impressive to the judge, then a prisoner on trial with his family sitting there. It is necessary from day one. Don't make excuses of why you can't come. Be there and be in the front row, waving to your spouse. Sending kisses in the air, smiling and even winking. But be there and you better be real nice to the judge.
7. Don't ask questions - If the prisoner wants to talk let him or her talk. Do not press for answers, as there will be a lot of things that no body wants to talk about. Your position is that of support only. There is noting you can do anyway. If your husband is being attacked, you cannot turn the guard in. Because they will come back and hurt him worse or kill him.
8. Don't trust anyone - If someone ask you too many questions in the court, waiting room or in the hallway, always say ,"I don't know." There are many informants everywhere and they will turn you in for any price. Who is the person you can trust? No one, no one at all.
9. Phone calls - Always be available to the phone and answer quickly as sometimes they can only let the phone ring 3 times. Be sweet and nice and don't tell them all of your problems. They are under extreme pressure, so keep everything to yourself. Remember, all the phones are bugged and every single word you say is being recorded.
10. Love - Love, hugs, caressing the hands, touching and most of all longing eyes. It will help so much for the prisoner to know that someone still cares. Write many letters, send pictures and send beautiful cards and send small gifts when you can.
11. Support - When the verdict comes down to incarcerate your spouse or loved ones, stick by their side. It may be a long time but they need you. They need you more than you can imagine. The worse thing in the whole world is for them to think of you with someone else.
The list could go on for days, but that is not necessary to explain so much. They are in pain, they are being beaten, they are being abused and yes they are having to go through treatment that they will never tell. The last thing they need is pressure. I have seen many cases of men having their private organs cut with knives, guns to their heads, being forced to drink their own urine and being handcuffed to a bench for 2 years. The treatment is bad and it is inhumane. There is no rehabilitation in jail, there is only anger. For you to be the strong person is the best support you can give. Today, tomorrow and forever, be their strength and be their hero.
Hehaheheh! Just a thought.