Monday, March 15, 2010

#94 Coming home from prison (retro)

Coming home from prison

Millions of people have loved ones in prison at this very minute and are often times worried sick about those people. For many readers, it can be a son, or a daughter. For others it could be a husband or even a wife. Still for others it could be a boyfriend, or a very close friend. Many of you check numerous sites looking for answers in understanding what it might be like for a loved one in prison.

But there is another issue as well, something most people almost totally ignore. For millions of inmates, there will be a time when they finish their sentence and released back into society. For others this has already happened, and some of you might have a loved one who has recently been released from prison.

For the purposes of this blog, let’s assign a value of 6 months or less to those with a loved one just recently released. As a guy that has been through this, and have been out since 2001, I can understand the feeling.

So many times people are so caught up in the problems of the NOW that they often totally forget how to prepare for the LATER. So many prison support sites have people who say in some form or fashion, “I just want him home”.

That sounds fine and sincere, but if that is all you want, you are not helping the rehabilitation process at all.

If you really love that person in jail or prison, you must also have his or her best interests in mind so that after you get through this tough time, you and that ex inmate can move on to better things, and more importantly, be prepared to be a better person for it.

Remember folks, prison, regardless of what you think of it, must still provide a correction to the inmate. But rehabilitation is not fully on the prison, because we know it is mostly a failure anyway. YOU are a critical part of your loved one’s change when he is released. Are you really ready for him to come home?

See, this is where many people miss it. And in doing so, they are not as prepared for that release as they thought. How many times have I read an email or a post about how a person waited for their loved one to get out and come home, and when they did, nothing got better. In fact, it got worse.

Why is that?

What can you do to be prepared or what can you do to make sure your loved one will be better prepared for society? There are numerous things you can do, and if I went over them this would be a long blog, so let me just keep it simple and tell you that being prepared for the future is your best bet. Ask yourself this question when you talk about just wanting your son, husband or boyfriend home:

What plans does he have, and how will you help him to make those things possible?

If your answer is “I don’t know”, that is a problem. Now I am not saying that to NOT know what your loved one wants is doom and gloom, I am saying that without a path, you are putting yourself in a difficult situation to begin with. I mean, what are you gonna do when he gets out? Sit there and look at him all day?

You know he needs to find a job, a place to sleep, he needs to make income and in many cases see his parole or probation officer, in addition to other obligations. How are you going to keep him upbeat when his ideas start to fall apart? How will you keep him focused on being a better citizen? These are just a few of many deep questions you need to ask yourself rather than just wanting him home.

Think about that, what good are you doing to just want your loved one home, but you have done nothing to prepare him for the real world? Yeah, I realize that the inmate has to want to change too, but I have blogged before about how loved ones on the outside have many more venues to find info than an inmate in prison. He can’t find out if Wal-Mart is hiring while he is in his cell, but YOU can. He can’t find out how much a used car is going to cost so he can get to work, but YOU can. There are lots of things you can do, if you really want him to come home.

Again, we can go MUCH deeper in this, but I think sometimes I can get too deep in my blogs, so I better cut this one short. We’ll talk more if you need me to.

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