If you have ever wondered how to cope with a family member in jail then you already know that it can be quite the emotional rollercoaster. It’s normal to feel anxious, sad, scared, or uncertain. You also may be experiencing loneliness. That’s because, according to a recent survey, less than half of Americans have ever had a family member incarcerated. So, in addition to missing your incarcerated loved one, you may find yourself feeling isolated in your experience.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how to begin to cope, we’re here to help. Here is a list of things you can do to feel more connected to your incarcerated loved one, and more in control of your situation.
Visit Your Loved One Regularly
One way to directly combat your loneliness is to plan visits to your incarcerated loved one. Different jails have different rules for in-person visits, so we recommend looking into limitations and schedules to ensure your visits are smooth and successful. Studies have shown that face-to-face communication is better for your emotional health. It helps us better understand the person with whom we’re communicating with. Particularly if you find yourself worrying about your incarcerated loved one, visiting them can help you understand and empathize with what they’re going through. Visits are also a great way to get a better read on their emotional well-being.
Writing letters has been shown to make the letter-writer feel more satisfied, and to decrease any depressive symptoms they may be experiencing. Letters are a treasured gift that inmates will appreciate. By writing a letter, you’ll have more time to think about everything you might want to share with your loved one. You can provide updates that your family member can go back and reread in difficult times. A letter will make them feel connected with you and the life they know outside of prison. You can also explore your feelings through written art — poetry, sketches, and doodles can help you process what you and your family are going through.
Perhaps more than anything, inmates want to be able to see the people they love so they can feel included in life on the outside. Letters are cherished but to receive an envelope with photos is the ultimate prize when you’re inside those walls. Given the limited interaction while incarcerated, staying connected with loved ones has numerous benefits. The memories that are missed by those incarcerated often serve as powerful reminders and mental motivation.
It’s not always easy to find time to print out pictures to send to your family member — which is why the Pelipost app was founded in the first place. You can upload your photos directly from your smartphone to the Pelipost app and they’ll print and ship them for you. They are the official ‘Photos-to-Prison’ app and have a great customer service team that can help you navigate through this journey with your incarcerated loved one.
When a family member is incarcerated, it can make you feel helpless and lost. By taking direct actions to remain in close contact with them, you’ll be able to feel more in charge of your experience. It is so important to their rehabilitation to show them how much you care.