Being arrested for a crime can definitely be one of the most traumatic events someone may face in their life. It can also be devastating for loved ones. In the blink of an eye, everything could change for the person being arrested and their family and friends. An arrest is extremely frightening for all involved.
In a flash, someone can go from a free person to a prisoner. Family and loved ones are forced into a new way of living. New prison accessories include handcuffs, chains and a uniform. Independence is stripped away and the arrested person is displaced from their home and separated from family and friends. It may feel like you’ve lost everything when you can see your freedom, your future, your identity and your hope slipping out of your hands. What is it like for the loved ones and children involved? Perhaps they’re overwhelmed with despair, fear and helplessness as well.
Do you know someone who has recently been put into jail? Are you feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry, upset, or depressed? These feelings and emotions are completely normal. Having someone you love go into jail is an awful situation to experience. It’s as if you’ve lost someone but they are still alive.
Being arrested or serving a prison sentence doesn’t necessarily have to destroy your life or your family’s lives. If you have a loved one who has been arrested, the best way to beat the disorientation, distress and hopelessness is knowing how “the system” works and having the criminal defense team at Schulze Law on your side. Don’t delay and call us today to discuss your case.
How can families cope with the incarceration of a loved one? Trying to figure out what to do and where to start can feel overwhelming. Here are some steps to take to help if you and your loved ones are going through this situation.
Here’s a great list from Wiki on How To Deal With a Loved One Going to Jail:
Stay in the moment. If you start to think about all the years ahead without the person you love in your life, you’ll likely get overwhelmed. Instead, take it one day at a time, dealing with what each day brings you. Your body, mind and spirit may be struggling. So just focus on today.
Make a plan and a budget. If the person you loved provided part of the income for your household, you’re going to need to consider other options. Take a look at your budget to see what is necessary for you to survive. Jail can be expensive for those on the outside. From making phone calls to buying items at the commissary, your loved one will need money to help. Costs can add up quickly. Set a budget of how much you think you can reasonably spend per month, and stick to it.
Take care of yourself. This is a grieving process. You’re losing someone important in your life, and it’s important to grieve that person. But don’t forget you still need to take care of yourself. Try to sleep on a regular schedule, eat healthy meals, exercise and manage your stress.
Decide how often you can visit. Most jails limit how often you can visit. Decide how often you will be able to visit, so you and your loved one will know what to expect.
Make a plan about how you want to tell people. It can be difficult to decide how much to tell other people. Try to be consistent in what you say. It’s a personal decision on how you want to handle it.
Think about what you want to tell your children. One of the difficult decisions you may face when someone is imprisoned is what to tell the children. This is your decision but it is widely acknowledged that children cope better when you are honest with them about what has taken place and where their loved one has gone. Be direct, and try to answer any questions they may have.
Find out the rules of visiting ahead of time . If possible, contact the jail so you know what to expect. For instance, you’ll likely be subjected to search. In addition, some jails only allow video conferencing, so you may not be able to actually hug the person. Most jails minimize physical contact, limiting it to a short hug at most. Knowing what to expect can take some of the tension out of it
Use calming techniques. Visiting someone in jail is stressful. If you find yourself anxious, try some calming techniques.
Don’t be surprised if the person lashes out. Being in jail is scary for everyone, and they may be afraid she’s losing you, too. Plus, they’re having to create a new life in a tense situation. Try to be understanding, but don’t let the person walk all over you, especially since you’re having a tough time, too.
Have support afterwards. Seeing your loved one in jail is going to be hard, and the whole experience of visiting a jail isn’t going to be fun.
Join a group. Many communities have support groups for people who find themselves with loved ones in jail. You might be able to find one through the court system. You can also try contacting local psychologists’ offices to see if they know of any groups.
Try a grief counselor. If a group setting isn’t for you, try a few one-on-one sessions with a grief counselor.
Set aside guilt. You may feel guilty that your loved one is in jail while you are not. Remember, that you did not make the same choices they did to land in jail, and all you can do now is support them.
Create a new “normal.” For awhile, your life is going to feel out of whack. With someone you love suddenly gone from your day to day life, you may feel a little lost. However, if you can just keep working through it, you’ll readjust to life without them, and life won’t feel so strange. Nothing is going to be normal for quite some time because what you are going through is not “normal.” As time moves forward, you will adjust and experience a new “normal”.
Tell people what you need — people will not know how to relate to your loss. Be specific about your wants and needs. Ask for help.
When someone you love goes to jail, it can have a massive impact on your life. You may have to grieve the loss of that person in your day-to-day life, as well as deal with any extra struggles his or her loss brings. You have to learn to navigate the maze of the criminal justice system and visiting the person in jail. It’s an extremely tough process but, you can learn to create a new life for yourself while your loved one is gone.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, we are here to help you. Contact us by calling 857-300-5300 or visiting our website https://schulzelaw.com/contact-us/
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