…today’s secret…prison families

The United States by far has the largest correctional system in the world.

Federal prisons, state prisons, county jails, juvenile detention centers…there are even Indian tribal community facilities.

Corrections as an industry is so complex that the number of confined individuals at any one time is uncertain.

Even with all the chaos going on in today’s world, there is somewhere over two million people behind bars on any given day.

“KUH-CHUNK” says the slamming the cell door.

Fortunately, from the time of a person’s arrest through post-release, there are people and organizations committed to helping inmates find a path to life’s higher ground.

All good.

Unfortunately, there is little help for the families of those who screwed up and got locked down.

What most people fail to realize is that the sentence behind any incarceration is also given to the incarcerated’s family.

It is the hidden sentence.

1) Inmate families did not commit the crime, but are often looked at as if they did.
2) Inmate families easily become overwhelmed when thrust into a criminal justice world they know little to nothing about.
3) Inmate families are embarrassed and ashamed. They don’t know what to think, who to call, or what practical steps to take.
4) Inmate families have concerns…stresses…tears…fears…feelings…they don’t know how to adjust to the new normal their loved one has put them in.

So, if you are one of the noble who are helping offenders and ex-offenders rehabilitate, heal, transform, redeem, work and play well with others, etc…don’t lose sight of their families…

…because behind all your help may be a family in emotional shambles.

If you are interested, there are three books I found helpful in addressing what to do when a loved one is arrested and incarcerated.

Consider them just a first step in learning about restoring hope to families of prisoners.