Question continued from April 15, 2013: My 19 year old son was sentenced to one year in jail on a drug charge. I hear so many horrible stories. I am scared for him. Can you please give me advice on what I can do?
Answer: Please see the last few newsletters if you want to read the first two parts of the answer.
I will discuss enabling your son in prison. You are probably wondering how you can do that. The first issue is; does your son have a drug problem that wasn’t addressed. (This also goes for daughters).
A big problem with the prison system is they don’t address the real issue. What was the reason the person went to prison in the first place? If we are serious about reducing recidivism, we have to address this issue.
95% of all people incarcerated are addicts of one sort or another. There are more drugs IN prison then on the streets. Pretty hard to believe ha! Well, it’s true. What I mean is, drugs are easily obtained if an addict wants them.
If your sons has a drug problem and it isn’t addressed, he will find drugs in prison. You as a parent or guardian will enable him by giving him money. You love him and you want to see him have the little things that are sold in the prison commissary. (Sneakers, Sweatpants, Hygiene items not state issued, etc.)
The problem is he will use the money to purchase drugs. He will call you and say whatever he has to, to get money. Like “Mom I need you to send $200 to this address or I will get beat-up, raped, etc.”
Although that might be true, where will it end? As hard as it will be, that is the first sign that your son is in serious trouble with drugs or gambling in prison.
I recommend you send your son a set amount every month. (Like $50 or $100) Money is needed in prison. Set that amount in the beginning and don’t deviate from it.
Encourage your son to get involved with a faith based program in prison. Do not ignore your son, lecture your son, or hang-up during a phone call. Always end a call with “I love you”.
Outside support for a prisoner is a must. When your son lies down to bed he needs to know that he has a loved one out there in the free world. Don’t give in, explain why you are doing what you are doing and encourage him to get help.
The phone system in most prisons has a beep system that you will get very familiar with. They give you a beep at one minute remaining and then 10 seconds remaining before the phone will cut-off.
Use that time wisely to express your support, love and hope that he sees the light and knows that you are there for him and want the best for him.
Since we are getting a lot of people wanting to know more and more about what goes on in prison, we will continue this topic.
Hang in there,