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BediSinger

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Bedisinger

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BediSinger

  1. 1. State & Federal Criminal Defense | White Collar Defense | Civil Rights www.bedisinger.com How To Handle Being Incarcerated: Tips For You & Your Family Nearly ONE-THIRD of American adults have some sort of criminal record. This means many families must cope with having a loved one behind bars. Incarceration can be temporary — an individual charged with a crime can be held in jail until posting bond, or while awaiting trial. Incarceration also can be for the long term — if there’s a conviction and a sentence to serve time is handed down. Below are five tips for individuals facing incarceration, and five tips for families whose loved ones are incarcerated. Following them can help everybody cope with this challenging situation. FIVE TIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE INCARCERATED Contact an Attorney As Soon As Possible If you are arrested and authorities intend to hold you in jail until filing a criminal charge against you, or until your first court appearance, get legal help as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and possibly secure at least a temporarily release if the judge sets bail terms. Create a Financial Plan If you are going to be incarcerated for more than a brief time and your family depends on your income, it’s imperative to have a backup plan. Examine your budget and determine how your family can make up for the loss of your earning power. Address Your Feelings Although you may feel as though you must bottle up your emotions, this can do more harm than good. Be open with your family or a prison counselor about any feelings or frustration you may be experiencing. Support Family Rituals Being incarcerated creates a huge disruption to your family’s routine. Try to support as many rituals as you can, encouraging family members to continue in your absence. Acknowledging birthdays and staying in touch helps maintain familial bonds. Don’t Lose Hope It’s possible you will have a long, difficult road ahead attempting to return to “normal” after your sentence is completed. With a little effort and a positive attitude, you can maintain strong connections to your family and friends. This will provide a better foundation to rebuild your life. FIVE TIPS TO HELP FAMILY MEMBERS WHO ARE INCARCERATED Stay in Touch People who feel their families have moved on without them have a more difficult time coping with incarceration. Regular visits and correspondence help inmates feel more connected and give them reason to be hopeful. Keep Parents Informed About Their Kids Keep incarcerated parents in the loop when it comes to school, sports and other significant elements of their children’s lives. Being behind bars doesn’t mean a parent can’t take pride in his or her children’s accomplishments. Provide Emotional/Psychological Support Families may be ashamed of having a relative incarcerated. However, that individual must be shown love and respect to have the best chance at finding the strength to rebuild his or her life. Find Outside Resources Many organizations offer support groups for families with relatives serving time. Some prison systems also provide resources to help children and parents stay connected while they are completing their sentences. Plan for Life After Prison It’s critical for families to have a plan to help their relative once his or her prison time has been completed. This should include researching employment possibilities. Preparing for the day he or she will be released gives everyone something to look forward to and prevents some of the awkwardness that can come with the adjustment period.

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