Surviving federal prison

Does anyone have a family member in federal prison? What did you do to prepare them for that? Or what would you recommend?  And, how did you yourself survive the heartbreak and stress resulting from having your loved one in prison? I saw there are "prison consultants" who say they do that, but then I don't know if they are any good.

I just looked at all of the posts I posted over the years. My child going through depression, then using pot to self medicate, then addicted to pot. This community offered great advice for all that, and we tried most of it. Still, my child who is now a young adult is about to become a federal prisoner. There was no sentencing yet, and the uncertainty and the magnitude of what's about to come are taking a huge toll on all of us.

Our kid a young adult, but they are still acting and thinking more like a 14 year old. They are kind and mild mannered, and I can't imagine them surviving prison. But then, maybe they will?

My husband and I cry daily, several times a day. We blame ourselves for not finding out and preventing things that put our child into this situation. But, at this point we can't change the past. And I still don't know if anything would or could have.

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RE: Surviving federal prison ()

I am so sorry for your suffering. What a sad and scary situation.

I cannot directly answer your questions. However, I can suggest you consider attending an Al-Anon family group. I attend one in Menlo Park (in-person and virtual options) where several members have or have had children in prison. During meetings, members share their experience, strength, and hope with each other. I've made connections and friends, and have been lead to many helpful resources through Al-Anon. You would be welcomed and supported.

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

My heart is breaking for you and your son. I am so sorry you are going through this nightmare. I don't have any advice to offer, but I truly hope that you and your husband can work on easing your guilt over this. It is a lot to process, and it is impossible not to blame ourselves for our children's outcomes. But as parents, we all do the best we can with what we have. I hope you can give yourselves lots of love, self care, compassion and forgiveness through this impossibly difficult time. Sending you lots of love. 

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

These short videos provide surprising insight. 
 

https://www.facebook.com/reel/360063969576791?fs=e&s=cl

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

I am very sorry this is happening to you and your family. Perhaps on a higher level your son is learning through all of this and it is part of his path, if that can absolve some of the guilt you feel. Not everything is entirely the fault of the parents, and it sounds like throughout his life you were looking for ways to support him. Your family exists within a matrix of society, and is not as an island to be condemned, and yet, perhaps during this time, at his own pace, your son can learn a deeper meaning of personal responsibility and positive connectedness.  

One of my in-laws was imprisoned for drug dealing, and it was a very difficult time for her and the extended family, obviously. Everyone survived and she was released without incident, but the family was changed; this was 18 years ago, and there was a lot of shame and, to this day, a lack of conversation around what happened. I have found comfort and understanding from the Formerly Incarcerated People's Performance Project (https://www.fippp.org/performers--directors.html) ; these are one-person shows that depict resilience, change, growth, and meaning from the time spent incarcerated - as well as the struggle. To those on the outside prison can seem like a black box of pain, danger, and fear, but these performances humanize the incarcerated and the time spent, and give a sense of what life is like incarcerated. I am also always heartened reading about incarcerated people who are able to learn new skills, write, find a spiritual path or practice, and even get law degrees - which shows the importance of prison reform, so that we move from a model of punishment and judgment to one of rehabilitation, redemption, and skills development. Society as a whole needs to support positive change and re-integration; we aren't there yet, but rather than feel powerless, by connecting with others in whatever way possible, you and your son might feel a bit more supported during this time.

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

As a lawyer who has worked on federal criminal cases, I am aware of how stressful the thought of incarceration can be for family members and the affected individual. A good prison consultant can indeed help with all your questions, make suggestions, and even strategize with your attorney on how to try to get assigned to a FCI that may be more desirable.  While it seems scary, a good plan and learning what to say and how to act can go a long way in making the time more bearable. However, it sounds as if your child hasn't been sentenced yet so it may be too early to worry about this unless you are certain the sentence will involve prison time.  Please ask your attorney about RDAP (an option for people who have had substance abuse problems) if you haven't discussed it already.  

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

I have a young family member with two felony convictions which she has/is serving in rehabs and county jails and in between hospitals.  Addiction is a horrific disease and it destroys bodies, minds and famililes.  I have changed my thinking on this a lot as I have watched her decline.  I now feel that she is safest when locked up.  She has a bed, food and medical and supervision at all times.  She now likes it there (mostly).  Although she has so far evaded federal prison. she has served many times in county jails.  She will go on her next felony.  I have heard that prisons have much more programming (AA meetings, Al-Anon meetings, college classes, etc) so more skills can be taught. County jails have had classes in parenting, anger management.  I have friends whose kids have done well in federal prison and a lot more is offerred than in county jails.  I urge you to have an open mind that going to prison might be a good opportunity for your child.  Hopefully he can stay more sober there than on the outside.  Encourage him to cooperate at all times and to take advantage of all the programming offerred.  Don't make excuses for him.  Don't go overboard on buying him commissary.  Do go to Al-Anon regularly (and your husband too.....Parent meeting every Saturday at 2 pm on Zoom with Berkeley area folks......go to www.alanonbythebay.org for the link)  and learn that you did not cause this nor can you control it or cure it.  Thi may be the best thing that has happened to all 3 of you--give it a chance if that's what happens.  And, I am happy to chat with you directly and share my experience.  Ask the moderator for my contact information.  A Fellow Sympathizer

RE: Surviving federal prison ()

Al-anon (even if alcohol is not involved) parent groups have saved my sanity.  Everyone there get's it.  Here is the current compilation of meetings in the US.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/19-QNPBMoShESNaABZSG0Zzf_kmLXPNwBaJRm...