Call From My Son In Prison*
I received a call from prison and it was my son telling me he had been arrested. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I called the prison to find out when I could visit my son. I was able to visit him within the first week when he was in the County Detention Center. Everyone goes into a detention facility first. I didn’t really have any expectations, had no idea of what it was going to be like.
*The word “prison” is used generically in this article based on the story told by the mother interviewed here, and can refer to “jail”, “detention center”, or “state prison”.
Visiting My Son In Prison
When I went to visit him I had to park on the street. It wasn’t a nice area so I parked as close as I could. It didn’t really bother me, I was more concerned about my son then about myself. I felt I hadn’t done anything wrong and that’s the way it’s been the whole time. I was there to support him and didn’t think about myself.
I took the elevator up to the 3rd floor to visitation. They gave me a key to a locker so I had to lock everything up and could only bring in the key. I had to walk through a metal detector and got to talk to him on a telephone through a glass. There were about 8-10 people there at a time. I got to visit for about 1/2 hour. When my time was up they sent up another group. The place was filthy.
I felt sad for him, especially after seeing the visitation room. Of course he was on the other side and I’m sure it was as dirty as the visitor side. He stayed in the same facility until he was sentenced and went to prison. I visited him in the county facility about once a week.
While he was in the detention center he was also able to call me on the phone a few times.
In the 7 ½ years he was incarcerated there were only a few times when I couldn’t visit him because there was a lockdown (all prisoners have to stay in their cells and no one is allowed visitors). Other then that I really haven’t had any problems. When I filled out paperwork they sent a form of what I could wear and not wear and their local rules and regulations. I found that over the years different facilities had different rules and regulations. That’s what’s hard: when they get moved the rules could be different.
One time I ran into a girl I worked with –it happens to everyone rich, poor –it can happen to anyone.
(See Visiting a Loved One in Prison for more information.)
Problem With Guard
I only had a problem with one guard. My son did have a job while he was in prison. I asked the guard if they were going to dock my son’s wages on the days I came out. He said, “ well if you don’t go to work you don’t get paid”. Then he continued to say, “when I get paid other than my regular hours I get time and ½”. The conversation ended and the guard kept coming over and making comments during my visit.
A lot of times you get mad at the guards but they are doing their job, that’s what their supposed to do even if you don’t agree with it. If the inmate has support from the family or friends that’s a big help.
The guards treated me very nice; I had no problems with the guards other than the incident above. If you follow the rules and don’t cause any problems they are not going to bother you.
Call from Prison: My Son Is Released!
I received a call from prison that my son was being released and I could pick him up. I was thrilled! When I picked him up, he was very reserved because of what he’s been through. It was also Thanksgiving Day and we stopped to see a friend of ours. My son was very uncomfortable so we only stayed a few minutes and left. It took him about a month to acclimate; he slept with a light on for about a month. It also took him a while to get used to being out.
My son has been out for about eight years now. He went through a lot of medical problems while he was in prison and a lot of medical problems since he’s been out. He’s also had a lot of depression. He has a son (who is married and has two children) and they have a good relationship. He lives with his girlfriend who he was with before he was incarcerated.
Advice To Others Visiting Loved One In Prison
I would tell others that you have to remember that you are supporting your loved one and you’ve done nothing wrong, so you can’t really feel a lot of guilt. Sometimes I did feel a little guilty though, that I could’ve done something different, but I didn’t . Big thing is follow the rules and don’t cause any problems and you won’t have any problems.
The support group I joined really helped because when you have someone in prison it’s not something you talk about. I need to talk to people in the same predicament. I had great friends that helped through it all. I was lucky I could visit my son every week on Friday, my day off. This also gave people who worked during the week the chance to visit on weekends. It’s just something you’ve got to do. During the visits I did support the other visitors while I was waiting to visit, but didn’t really make any friends (well maybe with two people). I just didn’t want to get involved with them because I had my own support group friends, family and local support group. I suggest that anyone in this position to join a support group where there are others who understand and you can share with.