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  #1  
Old 06-13-2019, 09:10 AM
Wallflower89 Wallflower89 is offline
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Default New to the System-Brother in prison

Hi guys,I'm new. I posed over the the AR forum with some specific questions about AR, but was recommended i head this way and say hi.
I am the oldest sister to a brother headed to prison for 50 months (sentenced to 300 elg for parole in 50)- Time in months looks awful.
Even with a great support system here in AR having no one who has been through the system is hard.
The broski is my best friend, and i haven't given him a hug since sept. (I'm not crying your crying.. its the onion ninjas)
Going through this i have seen the best and worst of the justice system- and if i feel like being negative its mostly worst. but im trying to find Good, and most days i do ok.
Knowledge is power right? So i cam here to learn as much as i can. see others going through similar things and maybe make it through the next 50 months with my sanity fully in tact.
I hope yall are having a great thursday!
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:30 AM
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Its hard when a family member goes to prison. And I agree........looking at it in months terms makes it feel worse to me too.
Tho I didnt have a brother/sister/etc in prison, I had a husband.
My hub is now out, and doing well. It took a while as he had parole afterward but was actually let off last yr. (whew)


Hopefully PTO can help a bit with understanding whats going on. I feel unless you have a family member or loved one going thru it, its hard to relate.
Hang in sis.
I'd suggest to write him. Mail means everything and it pretty much does not matter what you send, just maybe journal a bit everyday or so and mail it off at the end of the week.


Im not familiar so much with AR prisons but for sure reading in those forums will help to navigate the *waters* so to speak.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:08 AM
Wallflower89 Wallflower89 is offline
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In county (where he is waiting to be transferred to ADC) they use the smart jail mail system- so i email him legit multiple times a day. But when he goes to ADC its gonna be harder-no email- but we will make it work.
its all so overwhelming. ive (mostly) gotten past the "feeling guilty" for having a fun w/o him. and all of our first "major" holidays have passed for the first time. so that weirdly helps. I mess with him and say i am compiling a list of everything he is gonna have to do with me when he gets home- i think he is mostly thinking im joking- but dude the list is long lol. Its hard living in a "corner" of a state where you cross state lines to go to do somethings- and learning how to navigate that will be fun- but that is for 50 months from now.
keeping his mind busy is hard too- just sitting and waiting is what drives him crazy. so i give him things to write or draw up for me- like house plans or recipes that he mails home lol.

I am glad your hubs is home I am counting down the days until Broski is elg to come home.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:25 AM
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as I said, Im not too familiar with AR prisons, but if you are able to.......send crosswords, soduku (sp?) books, and if able to send him photos. Maybe of growing up.
Magazines if he's able to get them (like National geo, or Mens health)
Always be sure to check the forum for the do's and donts.


For sure if you are able to .....visit. Assuming you will have to be approved etc. (again, either go to the forum, or check the facility's web page.....often things can vary from facility to facility)


And no need to feel guilty for having fun. He's in, you're not.
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:32 AM
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Welcome to adult children and siblings. My heart goes out to you. The transition is awful on both sides of the fence. No doubt that you're having to adjust, and no doubt that you're feeling guilty. I think we all do that to some extent. After visits were the worst for me. (It was my father, not a sibling, but it still hurt like crazy).

Speaking of crazy, it sounds like you're still in the stage of the process where things are the most crazy making. I promise that will pass eventually. So will the feeling guilty about having your freedom when he doesn't have his. Eventually (though it will take a while), this will become "normal". Visitation will be "normal". Leaving him behind after visitation will be "normal". Communication in the timeline of 1850 will be "normal" (super slow mail, no instant email, etc).

I assume from your posts that he hasn't left county yet. There will be more things to keep his mind active once he's in state. And the food is generally better.

While a father is not a brother, a lot of the same psychological aspects apply to both, especially since you're so close to each other. Right now it sucks. It will get better slowly. Then one day you'll realize that the situation you're in has become normalized, and that you think of the visiting room as his living room, and then you'll feel guilty all over again.

Things that are considered worth their weight in gold: MAIL. It's easy at first, but becomes more difficult as time goes on and the scary bits have lessened. Next to mail is visits, but unless you live remarkably close, visiting often is nearly impossible. Financial support. There may be events inside that he can only go to if he pays for it. Those events provide a bright spot and something to look forward to.

Those are ways you can maintain your bond with him. Visit as often as you can - but don't sacrifice your own life to him. I've known people to quit their jobs so they can visit more often, only to end up resenting their loved one for their loss of independence.

Remember that the first rule of rescue is to not put the rescuer at risk. You'll be his lifeline to Things Not Prison. Don't set yourself up to become a slave to the situation. Do the best you can to take care of your own emotional needs, then take care of him. Because if you become an emotional wreck (not to say there haven't been moments of wreckage, there are always moments) then you can't be there for him.

I wish you well. I wish him well. 4 years is a light sentence as prison sentences go (not to belittle your or his experience, but as a warning), so other inmates are going to view him as "lucky" and any complaining that he might do will result in problems with those around him.

Have you read the "Prison Ettiquette" thread in the Loving a Sex Offender forum? That's good info for him to have as he transitions (and helps you to feel like you're doing something to help him - I found the helplessness in the face of the system to be the worst part of the whole situation).

Feel free to vent, rant, whine, cry or whatever you need to do. It's a horrible situation with a glut of emotions you probably haven't ever had to deal with before. I liken having a loved one go to prison to having a loved one go missing in terms of the psychological impact. Don't feel like you need to downplay the effect it has on you - it's beyond awful. And Sidewalker is spot on - people who haven't ever gone through this have absolutely no idea and no matter how supportive they want to be, they simply can't. PTO saved my sanity. Welcome to PTO.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:03 AM
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The closest he will be if 4 hours away for an ADC- we have already talked and planned on "rotating visits"- once a month we will get to visit- husband and i will be "static" we will always be there but we will bring two others along that get approved.
Financial is a bit difficult but mostly because i don't like asking for help. We have enough of a support network that if i asked for help they would.

The "normalized" has happened some with county- we email and once a week we have our video visit. learning a new normal with state will come.
I think he is looking forward to better food- he said he will never eat another bologna sandwich when he gets on the outside.
its a 25 year sentence total with the opportunity for parole at 4 (so long as he has met the RSVP, and good behavior req.)

making sure that i take care of myself is important to both of us- at the start i was stressing myself to the max (learning county and coordinating court and attorney fees all that) and he had a 'serious' talk with me and basically said WTF STAAHP- if you become a used up stressed out pile of mush it doesnt help either of us- leave it to my broski to be so eloquent .

I am glad i joined the forums and think it will be a lot of help.
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:32 AM
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Good that visits will rotate.
Its true, you get burned out. Planning your life around visits, letter writing, waiting on a phone call....(well, maybe that was just me cause I couldnt get phone calls on a cell phone)
Learning how the *system* works is frustrating, maddening and often seems to make zero sense.
I hated the way staff seems to think you are a criminal too.
Just know they hold ALL the cards. I was always (or at least tried my best) to be as respectful as I could. Had to hold me tongue on the smart ass comments.


For example, one time your clothing is fine to visit in. The next time, its not. (you're thinking, but its the same clothing!!) Dont argue. They will *win*
Just plan ahead and bring a change or two of clothing. Metal on clothing is a pita. Lots of hooks on bras? Gonna set off the metal detector. Metal zipper? Probably will.
Pants too tight? Nope.
Dress too short? nope.
Showing shoulders or cleavage? Nope.
Too much jewelry? Hair pins/clips/extensions? Nope, nope, nope.



What is allowed to be mailed can also be an issue. Any photo with say a glass of wine or beer bottle? Nope.
too large of a photo? Nope
Too many?
Tattoos that could be gang related? Nope and nope.
mail taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get to him? YES. (his should come quickly but not yours)
Greeting cards? Im hearing that in some places they will only photocopy the card. Same with photos.


So there is MUCH to learn about how to just keep in touch with your brother. And info can be difficult to find.
Just expect to be frustrated at times. And patience? omg. Lots and lots of it.


I dont mean to put you off or make you worry. Just expect the process to be slow, and glad when it goes as planned. (that seems rare)
And be prepared for it.
Hang in there sis.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:06 AM
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I was looking up stuff on mail- and it is insane-
in the AR DC its all scanned in. Cards sometimes do or dont get scanned right. He is allowed 4- 4x6 photos in his cell with him. No other pictures.

I will remember about the clothes. they had some strict rules for County when we could go "in person" before switching to video (do not get me started on video visits....that is a whole nother soap box that fills my soul with rage), and most of the people at county seemed cool. i saw some outfits i would have considered "violating" their dress code that they let through, but i assume State will be much stricter.

I get the whole mindset that those working at the jail view you as a criminal too. Its awful. Like there is some "stain" by association. It made me want to scream.

in county broski is "safer" than some other places- they have him in a separate cell block for "like" offenders, but in state its all one modge podge of folks. and that has me a little worried safety wise, but he already keeps to himself for the most part and plans on extending that practice to state.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:06 AM
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haha......yep.
I used to put on my very serious face. Practically talk like a robot. (sooooooo not me)
When they would piss me off, I would not react.



County is def easier (imo) I was able to ask questions like.......how will I know he's not here anylonger and has been transferred.?
They told me, well......you might come to visit and we will tell you. He's not in custody.
Which means he's *caught chain* (moved to reception......what a lovely term for a first arrival) and he's no longer in county custody. You are not notified. (security risk of course....you could try to highjack the bus that takes them to prison, doncha know?)
Then its a whole nother can of worms.

First thing your brother needs to do is find the visit forms. (at least that was how in worked in CA) and SIGN them, and send them to you.
So a bit of money on his books will help him to get stamps, envelopes etc
(again, this is from my state. Your's might do things a bit different)
then fill out the forms completely, honestly, leave nothing out, and mail back to the prison. There may be a specific place separate from HIS mailing address. (say ATTEN visiting Sargent)
They usually will tell HIM if you are approved to visit. You would only get a notice (hopefully) if you were not approve and a reason why.


Again, Im telling you my main experience with this. Your state may handle it different. But in general, its similar.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:52 AM
Wallflower89 Wallflower89 is offline
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From what I was reading AR is similar with the approval process, and he told me that he can take prestamped envelopes from county to ADC so we are planning on getting him some to take with.
I have worked in customer service nearly my entire working life, so when faced with people who are ugly and hateful, I just go CSS on them and even though I think id Rather deck them, I just smile and nod xD.
When it comes to questions you are right about county. Most of the people I gave encountered have been nice. I remember when I first called after he was in not knowing how to communicate with him or if he was ok, there was an operator who actually walked me through where to go to set up the email things, how to set up the phones and gave me the address for mail and his inmate ID, how to get him his medicine, everything. And she wasn't hateful. She (I don't even know her name) helped give me a little bit of hope that some people do care.

It didn't even cross my mind that people breaking out or hijacking a bus was the reason they didn't tell the transfer dates. When I learned that I was like OOOHH. Well I guess that makes sense? , I'd rather know just for my own sanity.
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