What to Do When a Loved One Goes to Jail

When someone you love goes to jail, it is not easy. While you are not the one being jailed, it is still normal to feel a swirl of emotions ranging from sadness to fear to anger. In situations like this, it is easy to withdraw yourself and hide from any emotions you have or to not seek any information about your loved one’s situation. However, it will be better for you, your loved one, and the rest of your family if you face the situation head-on so that you can heal yourself and avoid any surprises as you move forward. In times like these, the best things you can focus on are clear and honest communication, access to information, and your own personal health. If you are struggling with what to do after a loved one goes to jail, read on for some great tips for moving forward.

Have An Open Conversation With Your Family

Before you let your mind spiral about the situation of having a loved one or family member in jail, you need to mentally prepare yourself and your family for what is ahead. Your life will be a bit different, but with the power and love of your family by your side, you are sure to make it through this period of your life emotionally unscathed. When you are preparing younger members of your family who may not fully grasp the extent of the situation, make sure they know that they are not at fault for this loved one going away and that they will still be able to see or speak with them on occasion. You may also need to prepare your family for a slight change in lifestyle or budget if you will be losing the income that your loved one typically brings into the household.

Educate Yourself On The Details Of Your Loved One’s Situation

If you want to feel more comfortable about the situation, you should gather all the facts and information you can about what’s happening. Make sure you know about how long their sentence is, which facility they will be in, what visiting regulations there are if you can send them letters, and other important things. You should also keep track of any necessary court dates they may have, especially if they could get a shortened sentence or parole time in exchange for good behavior

If you need to look them up at any time, consider using a service like Go Look Up, which aggregates data on individuals in jail as well as other information. It is separated by location, so for instance, if you know your loved one is being jailed in Indianapolis, you may want to look at the records for the Marion County jail.

Give As Much Support As You Can

After you have gathered all the information you can about your loved one in jail, you can prepare yourself to provide as much support as you can to them. If that means letters, in-person visits, or phone calls, then that is great. However, if they are allowed limited communication with family, see if you can support them in other ways that are easier for them.

Stay Mentally Healthy

Throughout this whole ordeal, you need to make sure to keep up with your own mental health and to check in with yourself if you are becoming overwhelmed. Your mental health will be the foundation for your ability to cope with this, so you should look into seeing a therapist. You can get matched with a therapist who specializes in your specific needs through WithTherapy, a service that will scientifically match you to the perfect mental health professional. 

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Phoebe is not only the Senior Staff Writer at Big Green Gathering, she is also an esteemed musician, designer, photographer, and all around creative aficionado. When she’s not playing gigs at local Portland venues, or sourcing and designing a thrifted wardrobe, she can be found advocating for health and wellness through holistic practice and self-care. She also enjoys tending to her garden and learning new vegan recipes.

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