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Illinois General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat Topics & Discussions relating to Prison & the Criminal Justice System in Illinois that do not fit into any other Illinois sub-forum category. Please feel free to also introduce yourself to other members in the state and talk about whatever topics come to mind that may not have anything to do with prison.

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Old 06-10-2018, 10:47 PM
Nanner109 Nanner109 is offline
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Default How do you deal with the heartbreak of having a sibling in Prison?

Hello, Im from Illinois but am currently living in Canada.

My brother has just been been sent to Lawerence Correctional Center in Illinois.
This whole process is new to our family
I am worried for his physical health as he had just had a leg amputation in January
I cannot find too much info on Lawrence
Are they allowed to purchase a TV?

I will be down in July to visit him.

I am hoping to be able to find out how others on here are dealing with the heartbreak of having a sibling in Prison

Thank you
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:47 AM
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patchouli patchouli is online now
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I can't answer your questions about Lawrence Correctional, but here is a link to the Illinois DOC page for that facility:

Lawrence Correctional Center

You cope by taking one day at a time, staying busy & writing often. It isn't an easy journey, but it is doable. How long is your brother's sentence? I hope its a safe & speedy one Welcome to PTO!


patchouli, PTO Admin

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Old 06-11-2018, 08:39 PM
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Okay, I can handle the family bit and the amputation bit.

The family bit - my older brother has done a ton of time in Midwest prisons and federal facilities. The first big sentence was federal for running drugs. Dad was driving home from work listening to am radio (remember that?) for the news and Paul Harvey. The news talked about a huge drug bust in a small town in Wisconsin. One of the men involved was my brother and he gave his address as Dad's address even though he'd been living in Colorado for a couple of years. Dad almost got into a traffic accident, then he was afraid to go home for fear of running into cops rummaging through his personal possessions.

It became painfully obvious that he was going away for a good long time - he did 8 years on a 10'year sentence. Parents had a hard time understanding what all was going on. I translated. All that court stuff - it's what I was doing in North Western Illinois around the time. It was a lot of confusion on their parts.

For me, it wasn't such a big surprise. He'd been brought home by the cops at age 8 and the rest of his life was a continuation of playing with that line between being a good guy and jumping well over the line committing a crime. His record is pretty extensive, and it kinda proves my opinion of him. As a kid I always said that he'd either be a millionaire or in prison by the time he was 30. He opted for prison.

For Mom and Dad, it was a hard thing. I mean, this wasn't some local dust-up in our hometown with a simple battery charge, or a OUI, or something they could understand. This was a big crime. It really challenged their image of my brother. They applied for visitation at the earliest possible date. Even though he was sent to MN to serve some of his time (he spent about a year in Texas as well), they had every intention of visiting. And they did visit. Dad poured over all the requirements for visitation. mom freaked out. Mom was always worried that she'd stand out like a sore thumb among all the visitors who she assumed would all be poor or gang members or some other bigoted view of visitors to prison.

They did stand out. Your parents will, too. So will you. Everybody who has never visited a prison before stands out because of the look on their face, their indecisiveness, and the fact that they are scared - mostly for the inmate. You've talked with him on the phone, gotten a few letters (hopefully) but sitting face to face with an inmate loved one for the first time is frightening - are they really okay? Are they eating well? Will they see evidence of getting their ass kicked? Will they look like they belong in a prison uniform? Will they still be the person they knew before prison? The little boy that they raised, the one with a sweet smile? It is a series of daunting moment: driving in and parking, making sure that you are dressed right, have your ID, and leave the stuff you're supposed to leave in the car. Do you have money for the vending machines? Then there's going into the building and trying to figure out how to get from reception to visitation. The first frisk is a frighteningly real thing if you've never been frisked before. The shutting doors are scary. Then you sit down and wait for your inmate and that is perhaps the most anxious moment.

Within a minute or two, when your tears are wiped away, you're talking with your brother and he's your brother. Time slips away. Before you know it, your time is up and you hug him (unless he's classified so he can't have physical contact), and you leave your brother.

Later, in the parking lot, you may break down again - it is just such an overwhelming experience.

Now, amputation of the leg. I'm a BKA (below the knee amputee) so I'm speaking from that reference. My amp happened as a result of trauma. He's been 6 months, roughly since amputation. This means he doesn't have an open wound and is in his first, maybe even his second leg (the first year sees the most dramatic shrinkage of the residual limb aka stump). He's probably moving around better than you expect.

They should make arrangements for him due to disability. He will have a pair of crutches and his leg because we never stay in a leg more than necessary. That walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night is done on crutches. Showers/baths are done on crutches. But, he will be placed in medical to begin with. If he's doing any sort of opioids for pain, he will stay in medical (opioids are not distributed in general pop and phantom pain really, really sucks). He can be placed in general pop if he's taking other drugs for pain. In gen pop, he will have access to programming that is not available to those in medical.

I have not had reason to visit Lawrence. Most IL prisons are just that - prisons. They are much better managed than like in the 1980's when they had their own clothes and sunglasses and the like. There are still problems, but if he practices good prison etiquette, he will be fine.

IL prisons allow people to buy a lot of different electronics. All are encased in clear plastic, including the TV - makes searches easier.

You are going to be nervous, and look for reassurance from both him and outside sources. It will kind of help, but then.... imagination gets the best of you.

Anyway, ask any questions you want. If I can answer them, I will. If I can't, somebody will be around who can.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:12 PM
rockchalk1 rockchalk1 is offline
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Every prison is different, and you should try to find out whatever information you can about Lawrenceville, but one thing that I would say is different about the prison where I visit my husband at is that the visitors do not get frisked. But, he is at a federal prison camp and the state prisons may be different. We also sit in a room that is one large room that looks like a school cafeteria. It is very unassuming and no big deal. The first time is a little anxiety ridden, and I didn't know what to expect, especially because I once taught a class at Anamosa State Prison in Iowa, and that was a scary as shit prison to walk through. This is nothing. So I would see what you can find online, via wikipedia or whatever, and do as much research as you can. Read about Sumner, the town that the prison is in, and whatever else you can and that will help your visit and be prepared.

While most of the inmates in the prison where my husband is at are minorities and in for drug related crimes, at visiting time, most of the inmates receiving visitors are actually white. My husband constantly tells me what a contrast it is compared to the prison. It makes me sad that the others don't have visitors and/or that it's a function of them not having visitors that can afford to visit in many cases.

Most of the visitors I see are the same people week after week. If close, they come every week. Some don't have visitors for months at a time, and some of us that have to fly, come when we can.

Good luck to you. The first time is the worst, but it does get easier.
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Old 06-22-2018, 02:22 PM
Andy&Me Andy&Me is offline
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Hi! I can give you a little info on Lawrence. Yes they can get a TV. they do not have emailing as of yet, but I do know it is something they should be getting soon. you can have your pix taking with him at a visit. just make sure he as money in his account for it. also you will need to bring two quarters with you when you visit, as you have to lock your keys and ID( and you do need two forms of ID,I used my DL and SS card) up when you go into see him. They will search you. bring a 5 dollar bill to buy a card for vending machines, plus whatever else you are wanting to spend, but you must have a 5 dollar bill to start.
As for the CO during visits they were very respectful and helpfully. I always had a nice visit. there is no time limit as long as they do not get full. as long as he has contact visit.
The prison it's self is a medium but it is run like a experimental max. they are lock down for about 22hrs a day. When my BF was there his hours were one day he was out in the morning 8-9 and at night 8-9 and the next day it would be 12-2. there where days he would get out extra for yard or something. he was there 2 months and they went on lock down 4times. we where lucky they only lasted a day or two, but is common they go down for a week or so at a time. he had said the co's inside where not bad, he did say there where a few bad ones but you will get that anywhere. I hope this helps, and if there is anything you what like to ask that I didn't cover please feel free to ask.

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Old 06-25-2018, 04:31 PM
Nanner109 Nanner109 is offline
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Thank you everyone for your replies. We will be down to see him next month !
I look forward to it
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