Getting a call that your friend, friends, or a loved one is arrested is never fun. When it’s the first time, it can even be startling. If you’ve received such a call and don’t know what to do, rest assured, there are ways you can support your friend while they’re locked up. From writing letters to helping support them through any sort of substance abuse issue that may have contributed to their incarceration, you can be there as a listening ear both during and after their time in jail. If you still aren’t sure how to support them, read on. The following are steps you can take in being as supportive as the system will allow.
Face the situation head-on.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe you got the call at all. This is actually common for people whose friends don’t have a history of breaking the law or being in trouble. If you’re in denial about your friends or friend being arrested, mugshot lookup is one place to go to find out the facts. This search engine provides free mugshot lookups and will help you to quickly make sense of the situation or at least believe it. landline
Stay in communication.
Phone calls, which will be charged only to your home phone land line account, will always be collect and will get expensive fast. While you’ll want to stay connected to your friend or friends, a cheaper way to do it is with a pen. Writing a letter to someone in jail can actually be fun, and your friend will appreciate the outside communication.
Offer money for bail, bond, or the canteen.
Depending on the nature of the crime, a person’s resources, and how long they’ll be behind bars, they’ll have different financial needs. If you trust your friend or friends to pay you back, consider offering bond or bail money. If that won’t work, offer to make payments to their canteen. Inmates in state prisons are able to use canteen funds to buy supplies they might need, snacks, and more to make their incarceration a little less rough.
Nothing will show support more than an in-person visit to a jail or prison. To do this, you’ll need to go through a background check, you can’t be a felon, and you must be cleared to be on your friend’s approved visitor’s list. While the process involves paperwork and a wait, most houses of corrections are able to process this in a few weeks’ time.
Before your visit, make sure you’re aware of the rules, the visiting hours, displays of affection, and dress code. The last thing you want to do is have your friend excited to see you and be turned away. Following the rules will ensure this won’t happen to you. If you’re worried about safety, put those fears away. All visits are supervised, on camera, and anyone visiting is checked for any sort of weapons or metals. Guards will be watching the entire visit and looking out for you.
Help with a plan for after jail.
Any former inmate will tell you it’s important to structure your post-addiction lifestyle in a way that won’t have you turned right around and heading back to jail. While obviously not all criminal offenses related back to substance abuse, the reality is that many do. If this is the case for your friend, you can help to support them in formulating a plan that will keep them clean after their release from jail. In most states, drug tests are done regularly to stay on good terms of probation. Violating means finishing up a full sentence or even extended time behind bars. Help your friend avoid this by making good choices, getting a therapist, attending support groups, and more.
While learning your friend is in jail can be a difficult situation, if you stay in close contact and help with a safe and legal exit plan, you’ll be doing both yourself and your friend a favor. In the end, he or she will know that you’re there for them, and you’ll have helped in what, to them, is an even scarier situation.