Supporting an incarcerated loved one

It is expected that having a Loved One in jail or prison is not going to be a pleasant experience. (How’s that for an understatement?) Whether this is the first time, or just another incident in a pattern of continual behavior, here are some suggestions to help you deal with the situation.

There is help available. The support you need, as someone on the outside, can best be found in the Word of God and in a good Bible-preaching church.

You can show your love and support for your Loved One in jail, by seeking the help of our Lord and Savior Jesus for yourself and for your family. The absolutely very best chance that any man or woman has for never returning to jail, is found in a shared relationship that seeks the Lord. As a man and woman, or family, share their desire to begin a new life in Christ, therein is the best chance of success. Share with your Loved One in jail your desire to ask Christ into your lives; seek Him together.

Sadly, too often, the volunteers of a jail ministry see a person seek the Lord while they are incarcerated and make good progress in developing that relationship. Yet, when they walk out of the jail and return home, they do not find the support they need; or worse yet, derision. Without the support of their spouse and family, that relationship is quickly forgotten-until the next time they are behind bars. What a vicious cycle; but it can be broken when the entire family seeks God together. The family is precious in God’s eyes and He will spiritually bless those who seek to change their lives in His strength and with His guidance.

I can not emphasize strongly enough the importance of seeking God’s help when you despair of life’s disappointments and failures. I have seen God change and renew men and women, I have seen Him work in me. God loves all his children and He is good and faithful to help those who call upon His name.

Even though you may be extremely angry or disappointed in the behavior which landed your Loved One in jail; remember that they need your love and support. Screaming and threats are not an effective way to bring about a change in behavior. You may calmly let them know you are disappointed in what has happened, but your ability to show your love and support is what will speak to them most.

Remain faithful to your spouse. This is one of God’s commandments for us; He does not approve of adultery. Do not flirt with temptation, do not be out drinking in bars. Please remain steadfast , no matter how many hurtful situations may have arisen in your marriage’s past, that you will remain faithful while your spouse is incarcerated. Let your Loved One know this.

Please try to write and visit your Loved One in jail as often as you can. Contact with family means so very much to someone locked up. If you can afford it, please accept their collect calls. Maintain contact as frequently as possible, by whatever permitted means available to you.

If you are able to afford it, placing money in an inmate’s commissary account allows them to buy certain clothing, personal care, and food items. In the harsh setting of jail, these small luxuries can mean a lot. Some Correctional Centers allow store-bought food and candy items (in their original un-opened wrappers or containers) to be brought in by family members; others will only allow commissary items to be purchased by or through the Correctional Center.