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  #26  
Old 01-21-2019, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
I think you need a different friend. If you want to see a massive opinion change, talk to her after her angelic son gets crosswise with the law. Looking down on other folks is what makes many judgmental people the happiest.

Your Son will determine his future after he is released from prison. I hope he has decided that prison is awful enough that he won't ever go back. You can definitely support him, especially if he is attempting to do the right thing.

Thank you so much. I needed to hear that he will determine his own future. I really, really needed to hear some voices of experience after spending time with my friend. My husband reminded me of what my mom would tell me to do, “Listen, thank her, and do what you d@#* well please.”

I totally agree that we should definitely give my son help if he’s attempting to do the right thing.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:52 AM
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My son went into the system when he was 22. He had only been living with me for 8 months before being arrested as he was on probation out of another state where he had finished high school. So basically, he hadn't lived with me since he was 16. He visited on and off. So all that time, he was still a child to me.

Since he will be 29 when he gets out next spring, he is an adult. He has had some positive mentors in prison, for which I am grateful. He will be drug free on the outside for the first time since he was 12. But, he will have been in prison and missed out on all those things that we each go through in becoming and independent adult.

He will be living with me and we will have a rental agreement for house cleaning and maintenance at 20 hours per month and cash for half the utilities. I will provide him with a computer. I will buy a used car for which he will get a loan and pay me back. He will be responsible for his own food, health care, clothing, gas, insurance, cell phone.

My BIG QUESTION is how do I treat him as an adult? It is a sudden change from child to prison to 29 year old man. What do I need to be careful of? How do I know the difference between being a mom and telling him what to do vs letting him figure it out for himself when he lacks the experiences of everything from smart phones to streaming TV to filing income taxes.

I am presuming the parole department will set some rules, like no alcohol, curfew and others that will simply be annoying but part of the system. So hopefully, I won't have to police him going to work and coming home much for the first year. But, if anyone has suggestions and experiences - please start sharing them.

I am posting this here because I am hoping there are some of you who have been in my son's place and can tell me what is most annoying and what is most helpful.
Liz, would you mind re-posting this in another spot where former inmates would be more likely to see it? (Also, please let me know if you do so I know where to look!) I have no idea where would be a better place, but I am very interested in seeing their responses. I kind of accidentally hijacked your thread too. Sorry!
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:47 PM
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I’m seeing her again next week, and I have a lot of questions for her. Knowing her, she probably just wanted me to see the part where Morgan Freeman talks about how he was a stupid kid when he committed his crime and is a totally different person decades later, but for me to see all of the other stuff was pretty upsetting.
A lot of questions for her? You have no questions she can provide a helpful answer. She thinks because she has watched a Hollywood movie she knows something you / we don't??? She does not. Unless she some day walks in your shoes, she is not going to change her thinking. That's the way many people are.

I'm not saying don't see her, but I think it not healthy for you to continue that conversation with her.

You don't need confirmation from her or her approval. You are making good choices for your son in an enormously difficult situation. Keep doing what you're doing. We've all experienced people like your friend who think we are doing it wrong. You don't need negativity which will just drain you and more important not help your son. Some friends and family who think that way I no longer see, others I see but will not get drawn into conversations about how they think I should handle this.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:16 PM
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Prison definitely changes both inmates and their families after they experience the realities of our prosecution-punishment system. It changed me significantly, and I have also observed it in others.

Example, a family member who was as aggressive about crime/criminals/immigrants/and police powers (she even applauded when our president opined that rather than protecting an arrestees head when loading them in the police car, the officers should bounce their heads off of the car roof instead). Lock them all up, throw away the key on steroids.

After her adult son was recently arrested for beating and kicking his girlfriend to death, the crime quickly morphed into being "her fault" since she had the audacity to have sex with someone else. I hope they all recognize how wrong they were previously, and how hypocritical they are now.
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  #30  
Old 01-27-2019, 10:20 PM
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Ignore the sanctimonious people.

I don't think that others are necessarily hypocrites as much as they are sanctimonious. Most people, in my experience, are simply unexposed and uninformed. I worked in the legal field and our office did a lot of criminal work in the 80s and 90s. But, I was young, inexperienced, and didn't see anything past the convictions, trials, or plea agreements. I had no real exposure to the prison system. Most of our society applauded the tough on crime laws enacted during that time period. Then I had children - I was 30 when my son was born, 42 when he started to become a problem child, and first-hand experience affected my outlook, perspective, and knowledge. My worldview expanded. No, I never would have said to anyone, even when I was 20 something that as a parent it was their fault, but I probably thought it more than once. I was incredibly naive. Yes, sometimes it was true, but eventually I realized that was the exception and not the rule. I saw basically good kids have their lives ruined by our criminal laws. Simple possession or use result in loss of college and young people giving up on their futures and attempted suicides. By the time it was my child giving up, I had seen it often enough to be truly afraid for him and completely frustrated by not being able to fix the problem. When it is your own child, it is a completely different perspective, with a lot of self-examination.

As a society, we want to assess blame. We immediately assign it to the parents or home environment. We have a nation that has failed to really treat mental health issues. We feel sympathy for the person who suffers from cancer or some other measurable illness of the body, but we don't apply that same attitude toward illnesses of the brain, i.e., mental illness, which includes addiction, depression and suicide. I have a sister who has suffered throughout her life from depression, and parents who thought she should just get over it, get a job, and do something. We blame the individual, which makes it worse for them.

When my son went to prison, I know my mother prayed for him and I suspect her beliefs were still the same ones we had grown up with. She always asked how he was and sent him cards, but she was incapable of understanding how he ended up in prison.(She was also upset that my daughter was pregnant and unmarried but was teaching high school kids.) I have no doubt that my son's paternal grandmother blames me for my son being in prison. She has never acknowledged that her son (dad) is an alcoholic and has never held fulltime employment as a result. Since she raised her children on her own in her opinion him not paying child support to me was the way it should be. They are products of their generation and I simply ignored their beliefs and don't expect them to change. (My mother has since died.)

The parents whose children never get into any trouble and appear to be perfect don't realize they are either very lucky or are wearing blinders. I don't think anything we say is going to change their beliefs. On the other hand, I have friends and neighbors who know that I am a good person, have known my kids to be good people, are saddened by my son being in prison, and have been willing to listen and learn. Dad will continue to drink and be unable to communicate with his son. On the other hand, my mechanic is keeping an eye out for a reasonably priced, sound used car for my son and a neighbor has offered that he will show my son how to do some of the home maintenance and repairs I needs. The latter are the people we need to surround ourselves with and spend time with while we go through this journey.

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Old 02-04-2019, 08:24 AM
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**The parents whose children never get into any trouble and appear to be perfect don't realize they are either very lucky or are wearing blinders. I don't think anything we say is going to change their beliefs.**


So true. Like I said earlier.........they dont even realize that they are blissfully ignorant.
Im sure we all wish we could be. I know I was as well (before the crapstorm hit)
If I could go back and change many things I did as a young mother, I would. Not sure exactly how, but I would change some of my views for sure and how I reacted to things. Dont know if it would have helped, but I also can forgive myself. I was doing the best I could.
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  #32  
Old 02-14-2019, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
Ignore the sanctimonious people.

I don't think that others are necessarily hypocrites as much as they are sanctimonious. Most people, in my experience, are simply unexposed and uninformed. I worked in the legal field and our office did a lot of criminal work in the 80s and 90s. But, I was young, inexperienced, and didn't see anything past the convictions, trials, or plea agreements. I had no real exposure to the prison system. Most of our society applauded the tough on crime laws enacted during that time period. Then I had children - I was 30 when my son was born, 42 when he started to become a problem child, and first-hand experience affected my outlook, perspective, and knowledge. My worldview expanded. No, I never would have said to anyone, even when I was 20 something that as a parent it was their fault, but I probably thought it more than once. I was incredibly naive. Yes, sometimes it was true, but eventually I realized that was the exception and not the rule. I saw basically good kids have their lives ruined by our criminal laws. Simple possession or use result in loss of college and young people giving up on their futures and attempted suicides. By the time it was my child giving up, I had seen it often enough to be truly afraid for him and completely frustrated by not being able to fix the problem. When it is your own child, it is a completely different perspective, with a lot of self-examination.

As a society, we want to assess blame. We immediately assign it to the parents or home environment. We have a nation that has failed to really treat mental health issues. We feel sympathy for the person who suffers from cancer or some other measurable illness of the body, but we don't apply that same attitude toward illnesses of the brain, i.e., mental illness, which includes addiction, depression and suicide. I have a sister who has suffered throughout her life from depression, and parents who thought she should just get over it, get a job, and do something. We blame the individual, which makes it worse for them.

When my son went to prison, I know my mother prayed for him and I suspect her beliefs were still the same ones we had grown up with. She always asked how he was and sent him cards, but she was incapable of understanding how he ended up in prison.(She was also upset that my daughter was pregnant and unmarried but was teaching high school kids.) I have no doubt that my son's paternal grandmother blames me for my son being in prison. She has never acknowledged that her son (dad) is an alcoholic and has never held fulltime employment as a result. Since she raised her children on her own in her opinion him not paying child support to me was the way it should be. They are products of their generation and I simply ignored their beliefs and don't expect them to change. (My mother has since died.)

The parents whose children never get into any trouble and appear to be perfect don't realize they are either very lucky or are wearing blinders. I don't think anything we say is going to change their beliefs. On the other hand, I have friends and neighbors who know that I am a good person, have known my kids to be good people, are saddened by my son being in prison, and have been willing to listen and learn. Dad will continue to drink and be unable to communicate with his son. On the other hand, my mechanic is keeping an eye out for a reasonably priced, sound used car for my son and a neighbor has offered that he will show my son how to do some of the home maintenance and repairs I needs. The latter are the people we need to surround ourselves with and spend time with while we go through this journey.
I think I would probably lose it if I didn’t have all of you to check in with some days. This is one of those days.

Liz, I can relate with relatives judging your son. One of my brothers and one of my sisters don’t want their kids around him ever again. Our neighbors who know him from being friends with their sons and in the scout troop have been very supportive. These people know our kids’ hearts better than our “loved ones” who are related but only see us once in a while. They know how great our sons can be and how heartbroken we’ve been because of their emotional problems, and they know we’ve done our best to parent them. I hate to say this, but I’m glad that my parents have died so they didn’t have to be around to see their grandson go downhill like this. My DH’s parents have been incredible about everything, and I think my parents probably would have been too, but some of my siblings (and that ridiculous friend of mine) are the ones who make me feel really bad. I’m not very social anymore, and the few neighbors who really know us have been unbelievably kind.

I know you share my fear of what things will be like when our sons get out. They’re going to be judged even more harshly than we have been judged. I want to crawl under a rock most of the time, and I wasn’t even the one who did anything wrong. I can’t imagine how our sensitive sons are going to handle this. That idea breaks my heart, and I’m so worried for them. I try to give it all up in prayer, but I think the idea of “let go and let God” goes so strongly against a mother’s nature. I for one feel the need to be pro-active, but I feel so helpless and clueless. It’s really, really hard.

I’m still looking for books to send my son about what to do when he gets out, but I haven’t found one that I’m sure he’ll read yet. I’ve been reading BEYOND BARS: REJOINING SOCIETY AFTER PRISON by Ross and Richards. The copyright is 2009... I wish I could find an even better, more up-to-date book, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. I’ve found some good things in this one, but I can only read it for short amounts of time before I start obsessing. I’m skipping around in it too. There’s a good section on being honest with your parole officer if you screw up and use instead of trying to beat a drug screen, and there’s another about making sure that you’re NEVER around anything that could be construed as a deadly weapon. You can be sent back if you’re in a house or car where someone’s got a gun or knife even if you don’t know it’s there. “The fact that a gun is owned by another person will not protect you from arrest and conviction.” I had no idea. Most of my brothers and brothers-in-law have guns, and my father-in-law does too, so does that mean he’ll never be able to visit them again? They even go on to say that “if these words of advice seem a little paranoid, don’t forget that almost anything can be considered by law enforcement to be a deadly weapon, including a pen, pencil, or a car.” That was true of my son. The BB gun he was using to try to get the police to shoot him was considered a “gun, unloaded” in his court case, and since he took a plea deal, the judge never even heard that it was a BB gun. I don’t even know if he would have if it had gone to trial.

Anyway, the book seems pretty interesting so far, so you might like it. I bought mine used on Amazon for about $5, and it has 4 1/2 stars out of 5 with 87 reviews. If you’ve run across a better resource, please let me know. I’m hoping that my son will be receptive to reading it, but I want to have my copy dog-eared and underlined so I can talk to him about certain sections before I send it. His next step is work release, and we know nothing about that, so I’m interested in reading that chapter. One thing that I read that our sons will have to worry about are parole violations, and they’ll need to know the laws. I’m glad you have your law background. I sure wish I did! The book says that more than half of the parolees that get out return to jail or prison because of “technical violations and not because parolees have committed another criminal offense.” According to my son, almost all of the guys in there with him have done time before, so I’ll bet the number is higher than half now. Prisons and jails are big business, so the stock holders WANT them to go back. I wonder how many people in politics, law enforcement, corrections, and the criminal justice system own stock in prisons or prison catering/service types of businesses. The answers are always there if you follow the money. Maybe we should invest.

Our boys are going to have to be so squeaky clean when they get out! I really, really need to prepare myself for the worst. Ugh. I hate this so much.

Last edited by Mama33; 02-14-2019 at 10:08 PM..
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  #33  
Old 02-15-2019, 06:46 AM
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When I was released in my late teens I went back home to my foster parents and they set VERY clear boundaries with consequences they made clear they were prepared to follow though on. I credit them as the only reason I managed to get back on the straight and narrow, if it weren’t for them then I definitely would have ended up dead in a gutter. Family support is extremely important, but as others have said, there’s a very fine line between supporting and enabling.

Probation (parole) is definitely difficult, many of the rules just seem petty, but there’s no getting away from it. Instead of fighting against it you just have to find a way to ‘embrace’ it and go with it.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:10 AM
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If I could go back and change many things I did as a young mother, I would. Not sure exactly how, but I would change some of my views for sure and how I reacted to things. Dont know if it would have helped, but I also can forgive myself. I was doing the best I could.
I think every parent, prison or not, has things they wished they had done differently. Rear view mirrors are great. I know I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew at the time. As parents, that is all we should expect of ourselves.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:34 AM
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I sent my son BEYOND BARS: REJOINING SOCIETY AFTER PRISON last month. He said it looks like a good book. I haven't read it. I told him to bring it home with him.

I sent him Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed Paperback – July 1, 2014 by Mark Drevno last fall. He said it had a lot of good information in it and that others had requested to look at it. So he has shared it around the dorm.

In regards to preparing to release, I found one that looked very good and was recommended on a lot of sites as the top reentry guide. It has self-assessment quizzes and such in it -- The Ex-Offender's Quick Job Hunting Guide: The 10 Sequential Steps to Re-Entry Success by Ronald Louis Krannich. There is an older version from 2009 where the title is just a little different, so make sure you get the current one. Krannich has a lot of books out there.

"This ground-breaking book provides important answers to many re-entry employment questions. Beginning with a job search self-assessment, users address such critical issues as asking questions, taking responsibility, telling the truth, and becoming trustworthy before examining 10 sequential steps to job and re-entry success. These steps include changing attitudes, seeking assistance, assessing skills, writing resumes, networking, interviewing for the job, and more. The book also includes two special chapters on developing an action plan for re-entry success, and navigating today's challenging digital world."


I got them from Barnes & Noble, because we can't use Amazon in Arizona,. It frustrates me because for a small fee I could get ebook versions and read them too, along with Amazon price being cheaper at the time I bought them. He said he hasn't delved into the Krannich book yet because of the others he is reading along with the Men in Recovery program they started in January.
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:06 AM
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I was really scared before I met with the parole officer. I knew that last one had sent a lot of people back. I knew the office was an hours' drive away from me. I felt better after I met the new officer. A woman who has set up satellite offices so that parolees wouldn't have problems getting to their meetings with her. She has one in our town that my son could walk to if necessary as it about 2 miles away. The local bus hub is 2 blocks away and he could take the bus. So I know he can there without a problem. That is one of the top reasons they get revoked - not keeping their meeting with the parole officer.

I asked her about meeting if he has work or school. She said not a problem. She does not want to interfere with anyone's job and she was even happier that his hope it to finish his college degree. She doesn't want to interfere with that at all. The biggest key seems to be communication.

We have to meet with her within 24 hours of his release. That is a Friday, so I don't know what she will do in regards to that meeting. No weapons in the house, which I don't have anyway. I can have alcohol in the house, but he can't drink. She talked about programs she has connected with so that if someone backslides and uses drugs or alcohol (if not part of another crime) her goal appears to be getting them help in a program first. She said they have 30, 60, and 90 day programs. At that first meeting she will have a packet for him which includes any local employers that hire felons and resources - housing, food, and such. She was a corrections officer at some point in her career.

From what I have read and heard, the parole officer's attitude is a big part of their success or failure. I hope both our sons are lucky enough to have an officer who wants them to succeed and isn't looking for an excuse to revoke. I hope my impression of her is accurate, but I won't know until we deal with whatever comes up. She said he will have to take an anger management class and counseling. If we can afford it she will refer him to private rather than group as I told her about the group counselor that was partying with them and disappeared when my son was arrested. She has an arrangement with someone who has had his own experiences with drugs and the system in his past who accepts her parolees at $30 per session. My son says the Men in Recovery program allegedly results in some of these parole requirements being waived. We won't know until the time comes. His monthly parole fee is $65.

For those who don't have family to take them in, I don't know how they manage housing, parole fees, getting to meetings, counseling, and classes, and feed and clothe themselves. We are lucky that I can help and he is lucky that I am willing too. I have been clear that I am not going through this again. If he ever goes back to prison because of his choices and actions, I will love him, I will visit, I will write, but I will not send money or securepaks.

I can't control if he visits his father and his father has guns. He will have to make sure that dad understands that he cannot touch a gun or have it around him. I would hope that any person who has guns would have them put away properly and not leave them sitting out in the open. Of course, he will also need to stay away from anyone else who is a felon.
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:08 AM
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How do we make sure we don't inadvertently have an ex-felon as a dinner guest? Our loved ones on parole can't associate with ex-felons. I am not sure how far that extends to in their lives. If an employer hires ex-felons, a fellow employee may be one. Does that mean they can't go to lunch together or be friends?

Considering the number of former inmates in this country, someone could have a record and we would never know. I had an elderly gentleman come into our office one day. He had discovered when applying for a concealed carry license that he had a record from when he was 18 - over 50 years ago. He had broken into a junk yard and stolen a car part. Between leaving for war, the next day a military career, getting out and never having gone back to his small hometown back East, it didn't cross his mind. He had been found guilty in absentia. Old records had finally been digitalized and added to the computerized world so at 72 years old it showed up for the first time.

We can't go around asking everyone we meet - are you an ex-felon?
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:23 AM
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I suggest he asks his PO. It isn't possible to do a criminal background check on everyone he encounters. He may also be assigned to "therapy" where everyone is a felon. If he doesn't know, then he doesn't know, but getting set guidelines from his PO will give you both more peace.
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:10 AM
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I suggest he asks his PO. It isn't possible to do a criminal background check on everyone he encounters. He may also be assigned to "therapy" where everyone is a felon. If he doesn't know, then he doesn't know, but getting set guidelines from his PO will give you both more peace.
During my interview for him moving in with me, she asked me if I associated with any ex-felons, I told her none that I know of, but I never actually asked my friends. She said, that's fine and went on to something else.

I didn't really think that deeply about it at the time. After dealing with divorce because my spouse of 12 years had determined he was transgender, followed by my kid going to prison, and then multiple surgeries on both arms, hands, and wrist that didn't work forcing me into disability, I have lived an isolated life.

This summer I turn 60 and I finally feel like I am ready to come out of my shell. Should I wait until the 2nd or 3rd date before asking if they have ever been convicted of a felony.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:29 AM
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When to ask is completely up to you. As I said, if you don't know the answer, felon or not, then you don't know.
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