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Alabama General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat Topics & Discussions relating to Prison & the Criminal Justice System in Alabama that do not fit into any other Alabama subforum. Please feel free to also introduce yourself to other members in the state and talk about whatever topics come to mind in addition to prison.

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Old 02-16-2018, 10:30 AM
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Default Am I enabling my son? How much is too much money to send?

My 22 year old is in prison and I send him money all the time because I don't want him to have to do without other family members say I'm enabling him but it breaks my heart to think of him in that place all alone and ened up hurt. No I don't know where the money goes all I know is he is my son and I feel like he's been through enough so I try to help him. Please give me your advise on how much is too much or how little isn't enough
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:42 AM
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Do you guys even communicate on what this money is spent for?
For calls/stamps is okay, some commissary probably as well... but he does not need that much... he's housed and fed and you might enable some not so good things (gambling/hustling/whatever).
If you don't want him to get hurt he's got to learn to provide for himself and his own safety. One day he has to grow up... and he's in prison already... no need to give him the Ritz-Carlton-Feeling.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:21 AM
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There is nothing wrong with helping your son financially while in prison if you are able. I hate when people say all their needs are met. Maybe in some places they are but generally they aren't.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:31 AM
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If you are concerned, have him make a list of what thibgs cost, what he uses monthly, and set a budget based on that. This will teach him how to budget the allotted money, so when he comes home he will have a handle on things.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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If your son has drug habits or gambling habits then sending a lot of extra money could very quickly get him in trouble. The money thing varies so much from person to person. $100 a month is more than plenty after they are established. More than that and I'd be asking where the money is going.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:51 AM
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As far as are you enabling him? Impossible to say based on what you've posted here. Too many variables:

-Does he have issues with entitlement?
-Does he struggle with addiction or could you see him using it as a coping mechanism?
-Does he have a sense of boundaries (not getting in debt with others in either direction, not using people for what they can do for him, respecting that hard earned-money isn't "available" just because he's related/befriended)?
-How much money are we talking?
-Is this money making him a target? (inmates, especially new inmates with an obvious flow of cash often become targets for extortion)

Depending on the facility, most would argue that $50 in commissary a month is more than sufficient. Personally, I don't send my loved one anything. I've never understood money equaling love-- inside or outside of prison. He has a job and I pay for our all of communication, visits and a package once a year. That's where I put my money. I do believe his basic needs are met (no one feeds, houses or clothes me) and what I can do to support him through this is to keep our communication going and encourage his positive choices.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:56 AM
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Might I also add...if you think he's been though enough, you probably have as well. Arrest, trial, conviction, incarceration doesn't just happen to the person in prison. Are you self-soothing by sending him money? Is that the most healthy way to respond? Can you keep that up for the entirety of his sentence? Just something to think about.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:04 PM
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There are some REALLY great points brought up here by people who have been doing this for a while. My suggestion would be:

1. Figure out how much you're sending per month
2. Deduct cost of calls/emails from that amount if applicable
3. Get him to write down what he's spending the rest on
4. Check with the regulations where he's located and see how much he's able to spend a month.
5. Work with him to create a budget that works for both of you. This isn't being mean or keeping him from all the things he wants. This is a vital skill that he'll need in when he gets out in order to be successful.
6. Send whatever amount you've decided on once a month and let him figure out the rest. If he blows it all the first week then that's on him. The next month he'll learn to budget.

Now...you didn't say if he's asking for the money or how much you're sending so this is all really just general information that I feel is beneficial to anyone with a LO in prison (who chooses to send money) and especially helpful for the inmate. At 22 I sure as hell couldn't budget and could have used a lesson.

I understand he's your son, and you'd do anything to make him more comfortable...but I've seen guys laugh and joke and horseplay on prison yards. He's not all alone and he's not going to be hurt just because he's in prison.

If he's demanding money, or freaks out when you talk about creating a budget, that would be some red flags that he's using it for more than just commissary.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:16 PM
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You can send whatever money you want to send him. If you can afford it and your comfortable with it then by all means. Don't let anyone tell you what you should do I know I don't. And I do what I can.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nygirl17 View Post
You can send whatever money you want to send him. If you can afford it and your comfortable with it then by all means. Don't let anyone tell you what you should do I know I don't. And I do what I can.
The difference is that your husband is much older than her son and probably knows how to budget. Her son is 22 and has spent most of his adult life in the system.

If he has drug/alcohol/gambling/politic issues, extra money can get him into deep trouble.

Of course that's my opinion, and you have your own, and that's the beauty of this site...but she wouldn't be here asking if she thought everything was all good with the amount she's sending.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:33 PM
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Also, does he have money taken from what you send and it pays off his fines and fees? Where we are they take 50% until it is paid off. If you are sending 200 a month, but a portion goes to his fines people may feel you are sending to much when in reality he is not seeing the full amount.

I would see if you can get a copy of the commissary. Is there a limit he can spend at each buy. Some restrict it. But, for to help money forward teach him to budget. He is going to need to learn once he comes home anyway.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:14 AM
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Wow, Alabama must really pamper their inmates. Here in AZ, there are no lunches on weekends, so visiting your loved one is the only way he gets lunch one of those 2 days. Thatís $40 in quarters to feed him plus 2 visitors from the overpriced vending machines. If heís close enough to visit every weekend, thatís $160/month just for visitation.
Commissary is another story. Heís allowed $80/week, but his full time job only pays 60 cents/hour and they deduct fees from that, so his weekly take home is peanuts ó slave labor. Sure, he doesnít absolutely need commissary ó the prison food is enough to survive on. But if you want your loved one to have decent nutrition, or maybe spices to make things taste better, and maybe real coffee ó stuff like that ó then figure at least $50/week for commissary. So thereís another $200/month.
He was self-sufficient and doing ok financially before he got locked up. Now he works full time almost for free, and his loved ones (mostly me) who want to make sure he at least eats decently, now have basically a car payment worth every month.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:38 AM
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Wow, Alabama must really pamper their inmates. Here in AZ, there are no lunches on weekends, so visiting your loved one is the only way he gets lunch one of those 2 days. Thatís $40 in quarters to feed him plus 2 visitors from the overpriced vending machines. If heís close enough to visit every weekend, thatís $160/month just for visitation.
Commissary is another story. Heís allowed $80/week, but his full time job only pays 60 cents/hour and they deduct fees from that, so his weekly take home is peanuts ó slave labor. Sure, he doesnít absolutely need commissary ó the prison food is enough to survive on. But if you want your loved one to have decent nutrition, or maybe spices to make things taste better, and maybe real coffee ó stuff like that ó then figure at least $50/week for commissary. So thereís another $200/month.
He was self-sufficient and doing ok financially before he got locked up. Now he works full time almost for free, and his loved ones (mostly me) who want to make sure he at least eats decently, now have basically a car payment worth every month.
This is very condescending. How in the world did you figure that Alabama pampers their inmates. The OP said nothing of the conditions in Alabama at all. She asked "Am I enabling my son? How much is too much money to send?"

My husband is in AZ, HUGE guy, works out daily, eats almost entirely out of store and has NEVER needed more than $100 a month for commissary. Before we split I sent $50 every two weeks. Now he has a job making .40 an hour but he doesn't have restitution to pay so he gets most of it making around $60 a month.

The food served isn't great...but MOST inmates survive on it. Most inmates don't have loved ones on the outside sending thousands a year in.

Nobody reading this should feel guilty that they aren't able to send money to their LOs! Nobody should go without eating or paying bills to send money to their incarcerated LO. They ARE getting fed every day. They DO have clothes and a bed.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:42 AM
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Sure, he doesnít absolutely need commissary ó the prison food is enough to survive on. But if you want your loved one to have decent nutrition, or maybe spices to make things taste better, and maybe real coffee ó stuff like that ó then figure at least $50/week for commissary. So thereís another $200/month.
I don't spend $50 a week in the free world and I have pretty specific dietary needs. I'm also not sure what they sell at the store your loved ones shops from, but ramen, Doritos and instant coffee isn't my idea of decent nutrition. I'd love to see them be able to buy produce. We live in ag land, there's no reason that couldn't be an option. After having been inside Almost 16 years, my husband drools at the idea of fresh tomatoes.

I think the point is that everyone should do what they're comfortable with. If it's creating financial strain, resentment or it's enabling behaviour problems, then it's not the right amount for you.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:51 AM
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My husband's dad is the source of most of his money while he's incarcerated, but I wouldn't recommend sending anything more than $100 a month unless you want him to become a target in there (which I would like to think you don't). I read somewhere once that they shouldn't be spending more than $2-$4 bucks a week unless they're supporting some kind of drug habit, but either that is super old advice and commissary was much cheaper back when they posted that advice (it wasn't posted on this forum, that I can remember) or they're blissfully unaware what commissary costs. My husband's hot meal each week costs $10 all on its own and I know he doesn't support any kind of drug habit, especially when he's not all that happy that I vape, even with it being zero nicotine usually. So $40 a month for hot meals, plus extra for writing supplies and other things like a radio to keep him entertained, and I would say $100 should be plenty.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:08 PM
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I'm sorry it took so long to read all of your posts and opinions and I thank all of you for your imput and advise. When posing a question to the public especially those of you that have been down this road far longer than myself, it's always educating to receive opinions. Thank you all for taking the time to respond.
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Fridyrr.Likn View Post
This is very condescending. How in the world did you figure that Alabama pampers their inmates. The OP said nothing of the conditions in Alabama at all. She asked "Am I enabling my son? How much is too much money to send?"



My husband is in AZ, HUGE guy, works out daily, eats almost entirely out of store and has NEVER needed more than $100 a month for commissary. Before we split I sent $50 every two weeks. Now he has a job making .40 an hour but he doesn't have restitution to pay so he gets most of it making around $60 a month.



The food served isn't great...but MOST inmates survive on it. Most inmates don't have loved ones on the outside sending thousands a year in.



Nobody reading this should feel guilty that they aren't able to send money to their LOs! Nobody should go without eating or paying bills to send money to their incarcerated LO. They ARE getting fed every day. They DO have clothes and a bed.

My comment was insensitive, youíre right. Sorry, I was probably just in a bad mood.
The quality & safety of regular chow at the for-profit facility that has my son has deteriorated in the time he has been there. Among other things, the dishwasher broke a couple months ago & still hasnít been fixed. People have gotten sick from eating off of greasy plates that werenít properly washed, so he tries to make his own meals as often as possible using items from commissary & SecurePak. Besides, commissary & SecurePak are the only way he can get real meat ó canned tuna, pork, etc. Oh, not the only way ó once a week on visitation day he gets beef jerky & chicken nuggets from the vending machines.
Itís my choice to help or not in this way, and Iím glad Iím able to fit it into my budget. I feel better knowing Iím helping him be able to have a halfway nutritious diet.
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