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  #26  
Old 04-30-2017, 02:37 PM
GaReform GaReform is offline
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That is what I did too- became an advocate for prison reform and that is what has helped me. It takes people like us, to start the movement to succeed in getting the change to happen. What state are you in? I am in WI.
I am working for change in GA but have joined 2 organizations that are working for change nationwide. Good for you to turn your pain into action. Who better to work for change than the people needing it the most? Keep fighting. With over 65 million people having some sort of conviction on their record just think what a sight it would be if just 1 person stood up for each of them! The government couldn't ignore that! The Million Man March would look like a day at Walmart compared to the number we'd have.
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  #27  
Old 05-02-2017, 07:58 PM
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I want to thank you for your words of engouragement and I am taking this one day at a time. I know it will get easier but I hope sooner than later because I am really in a dark place right not. I really don't see a ight at the end of the tunnel but I know it is. I'm just so confused, angry, hurt and mad ass hell at the outcome.
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  #28  
Old 05-02-2017, 07:59 PM
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I am working for change in GA but have joined 2 organizations that are working for change nationwide. Good for you to turn your pain into action. Who better to work for change than the people needing it the most? Keep fighting. With over 65 million people having some sort of conviction on their record just think what a sight it would be if just 1 person stood up for each of them! The government couldn't ignore that! The Million Man March would look like a day at Walmart compared to the number we'd have.
I am in Illinois.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:16 PM
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Ms. Denise- my heart bleeds for you as a mom. I can't imagine. I would think something was wrong if you weren't having a hard time dealing with it. I am seeing that this is a new sentence? The most important thing right now is to allow yourself to feel how you do- you will feel shocked, pissed off, heartbroken, maybe even embarrassed or guilty( I was). If you need to cry- then cry! If you don't process your feelings, you won't be able to help him process his. How old is he? The biggest thing to do right now is take care of you- youre suffering the loss of a life you had and you need to grieve it. Then you need to be that MOM,with that incredible mom love, and when you can- let him know that this doesn't change the love you have for him. That youre on his side, I have some really great activities that you can do w/ him thru the mail to keep your relationship strong.They are corny, but my 27 year old loves them. Please reach out to me anytime. I also joined a group I found in my town for people that have loved ones incarcerated- it was thru a church but it isn't religious. And I am also on a board for prison reform in our state that helps me, navigate the system better. In time, these are things you may like to explore. Take care of yourself- eat, drink water and juices, rest, walk- reach out to us anytime. ***HUGS****
Hello thank you so much for the words of encouragement and I am doing my best to deal with this but it is really taking a toll on me. I write him letters and accept his calls every chance I get. He knows that he is the other half of my heart because my daughter has the other half. He knows that mommie will do any and everything possible to make sure that he know that I LOVE him no matter what and that I will never ever let his situation tear us apart.
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  #30  
Old 05-02-2017, 08:21 PM
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Hello All,

I finally got a chance to visit my son, after what seemed eternity. The look on his face made my heart smile. He was suprised because I didn't let him know that I was coming. We really had a GREAT day but when it was time to leave once again reality sunk in and all the pain came rushing back to me at once. I know I couldn't let him see me cry and it was hard but I managed. This is the most terrible feeling in the world and I don't wish it on anyone. But I just want to thank the people in this group for there encouraging words.
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  #31  
Old 05-03-2017, 11:39 AM
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Denise, when my son was in prison I said that when he got home, I would never, ever write to an inmate or pay for money on books or phone calls. Not long ago, I led a friend here that I only knew online 17 years ago. Never met her in person. We live too far apart. Helped her w info on visiting etc and she asked me to write a note to her son because he had no immediate family but her. I did. She and I exchanged phone numbers and texted.

Last month I texted her two days in a row. No reply. She had died suddenly, alone. Someone finally answered her phone and I found out. I knew I was the only one writing to her son. I knew the news he was getting in prison. He needed help and no one there. After a few weeks, he wrote to me. The pain. The regrets. He was alone and he is young. First time in prison. No one to pay for him to attend his mom's funeral. Many hours from home. Heartbreaking.

I wrote back and told him he's not alone. I'm going to keep him company. He is very grateful and gracious about everything. I won't abandon him. I tell him that he matters, he is important, he is not alone, not forgotten. I've been teaching him the bible. We're about to start the 11th book of the bible. I have learned the new stuff about phones, emails, commissary and quarterly packages. In his mom's honor, he will have support.

Your son needs you more than ever. He's alive and so are you. (Hugs and tears) I know I won't be here in75 years, but for what time I have, I will be loving and supportive to "my" inmate. I know it's early on for you, but I see others posting to you who came in here breathless and wounded...like me...and now they're uplifting others. It won't always be the way it is now. Your son and you will evolve and adapt. You're a survivor. You sought help. (More hugs)

Is there a possibility others could write this young man? I would love to - this absolutely breaks my heart. I am ultimately all my son has and if he was ever in this same position I could only pray for the compassion of others like yours. I would love to write him if you think he would not mind.
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  #32  
Old 05-03-2017, 04:15 PM
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I have been trying to take it minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day but this is so out of my control. I'm lost knowing that I can't help him when he needs me the most. This is truly HEARTBREAKING!
Denise, The first time my son was arrested, I worried for his safety even when he was in jail. When he got a prison sentence I started learning about the dynamics in the prison system by reading what former inmates had written. However, they happened to have been in rough prisons. I got sick worrying about my son. ZERO!! of what I feared happened at all. He came out looking better and healthier. He did well for about 4 years but he is back in again. Now I feel in similar ways that you do because his sentence might be much longer than previously. I cannot make his sadness go away. But I can write e-v-e-r-y d-a-y. I can send him the books he likes to read and my husband and I visit during visiting day (once a week). We take a day at a time. Last time he was sent 7 hours away and my husband made that trip twice a month for the entire duration of his sentence. All we can do, besides securing him a good attorney, is to give him unconditional emotional support... and take care of myself, so I can be there for him. You are in my thoughts, Denise.
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  #33  
Old 05-03-2017, 05:00 PM
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Is there a possibility others could write this young man? I would love to - this absolutely breaks my heart. I am ultimately all my son has and if he was ever in this same position I could only pray for the compassion of others like yours. I would love to write him if you think he would not mind.
Thank you so much for this kindness. At this point, his mom has only been gone a month. He's still absorbing that. When he's not so much in shock, I will see if he'd like mail from others. Hugs!
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  #34  
Old 05-03-2017, 05:02 PM
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Hello All,

I finally got a chance to visit my son, after what seemed eternity. The look on his face made my heart smile. He was suprised because I didn't let him know that I was coming. We really had a GREAT day but when it was time to leave once again reality sunk in and all the pain came rushing back to me at once. I know I couldn't let him see me cry and it was hard but I managed. This is the most terrible feeling in the world and I don't wish it on anyone. But I just want to thank the people in this group for there encouraging words.
Yes, that describes visiting so well! Joy at seeing one another then heartbreak at the "goodbyes for now". I used to cry all the way home. Of course, then I planned the next visit.
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  #35  
Old 05-03-2017, 09:51 PM
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Hello All,

I finally got a chance to visit my son, after what seemed eternity. The look on his face made my heart smile. He was suprised because I didn't let him know that I was coming. We really had a GREAT day but when it was time to leave once again reality sunk in and all the pain came rushing back to me at once. I know I couldn't let him see me cry and it was hard but I managed. This is the most terrible feeling in the world and I don't wish it on anyone. But I just want to thank the people in this group for there encouraging words.
So glad to hear that you had a chance to visit and that it went so well. Was it a contact visit or behind the glass? Not that it's important since seeing their faces and seeing that they're okay are things that matter the most. I hope you get another great visit soon.

I also know how hard it is to leave a visit. We've been doing this for 10 years now and, although it isn't as painful as it was in the beginning, I still have to choke back the tears when we're leaving. Just leaving him there while we walk out to freedom is always hard but, like jancy, we start planning the next visit almost immediately. We make reservations at the hotel (he's almost 500 miles away) in advance and don't plan anything except visiting for the entire weekend. Just knowing that we'll be back again soon does help. You will find a way to cope eventually. Just don't feel bad or weak for feeling pain and on the verge of tears. We all share the same feelings and it is completely normal.
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  #36  
Old 09-18-2017, 11:52 AM
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Hi,
I just read your post and would like to ask you a couple questions. My son was sentenced to 40 years this spring and is incarcerated in St. Cloud State Prison. He has been in prison once before but this has been especially hard for me. You mentioned being involved in prison reform. How does one do this? I have cried so much in the last couple years and am now wondering what is wrong with me. I am afraid to go and visit my son alone because the last time I did, I started crying and he gets upset when I cry. I have also tried to find a support group in the Twin Cities but so far haven't found one. I have lost interest in a lot of things and would really appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Thanks so much.

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Ms. Denise- my heart bleeds for you as a mom. I can't imagine. I would think something was wrong if you weren't having a hard time dealing with it. I am seeing that this is a new sentence? The most important thing right now is to allow yourself to feel how you do- you will feel shocked, pissed off, heartbroken, maybe even embarrassed or guilty( I was). If you need to cry- then cry! If you don't process your feelings, you won't be able to help him process his. How old is he? The biggest thing to do right now is take care of you- youre suffering the loss of a life you had and you need to grieve it. Then you need to be that MOM,with that incredible mom love, and when you can- let him know that this doesn't change the love you have for him. That youre on his side, I have some really great activities that you can do w/ him thru the mail to keep your relationship strong.They are corny, but my 27 year old loves them. Please reach out to me anytime. I also joined a group I found in my town for people that have loved ones incarcerated- it was thru a church but it isn't religious. And I am also on a board for prison reform in our state that helps me, navigate the system better. In time, these are things you may like to explore. Take care of yourself- eat, drink water and juices, rest, walk- reach out to us anytime. ***HUGS****
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:10 PM
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>You mentioned being involved in prison reform. How does one do this?

Tell your personal story to your state legislator. They can get all the facts and figures they want but there's nothing like hearing how a policy affects a voter. Sometimes you can get an in-person appointment if things are slow.

Watch your legislature's web site for bills related to prisons and sentencing. Phone to ask your legislator to vote "yes" on the good ones.

Research the candidates for prosecutor positions. Volunteer for the campaign of one who supports diversion and alternative sentences. This is way more important than almost anyone realizes.

Look up your local Quakers. They've been active in prison reform for centuries.
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  #38  
Old 09-28-2017, 02:21 PM
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Hi,
I just read your post and would like to ask you a couple questions. My son was sentenced to 40 years this spring and is incarcerated in St. Cloud State Prison. He has been in prison once before but this has been especially hard for me. You mentioned being involved in prison reform. How does one do this? I have cried so much in the last couple years and am now wondering what is wrong with me. I am afraid to go and visit my son alone because the last time I did, I started crying and he gets upset when I cry. I have also tried to find a support group in the Twin Cities but so far haven't found one. I have lost interest in a lot of things and would really appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Thanks so much.
Hi! I am so sorry its taken me a while to get back to you... I am so very sorry to hear of your sons lengthy sentence. My heart just cant imagine the pain. I never set out to be a person looking for reform in our justice system- I never thought Id need to. It was always " someone elses issue" to me, until it became "my issue"... For me it started w some poor medical care my son was receiving. W my background of being a ARNP- I knew the ins and outs of his medical needs, the meds, side effects and his diagnosis. When he would tell me he wasnt getting his seizure medication, bc they didnt order it, or it wasnt approved, or they dropped the pill and couldnt give him a new one, I would call the HSU unit. I realized quick it was a bigger problem, so I started to write to the Nursing Director at the facility. When problems continued, w his seizure meds, his psych meds, I started writing to the Warden. Id CC the HSU director, but Id also CC the State director of medicine in madison. If it involved his psych meds, Id cc all of them plus the State level director of psychology.... I then just started looking at our state senators and found the locals in my area, plus the ones in other areas of WI that were on the justice committees, and CC'd them into my letters. I would CC the assistant sec of the DOC, the Director of the DOC- I would send all the letters certified so I knew they got them. I looked up the prison reform groups in my area and CC'd them on every letter. I stopped calling completely because every single thing I wanted proof of my contact w everyone. Thru all the mailings, I would receive letters back saying: this group may be able to help you deal w your anger, fear, etc-- they didnt realize my anger / fear was directed towards them! It was thru that , that I was able to make contacts and join groups tht really work to make a difference.
I think, you can be very involved . If you have a career, start w that line of work. I googled "prison reform in MN" and there is a ton of groups. I am really happy to discuss this more w you. One thing I learned, and would advise EVERY SINGLE PARENT to do, is to get the HIPPA and NON-HIPPA forms for records release at your childs facility-for instance, I have them signed, I can make copies, I can fill out if its for the actual facility of the DOC-- have him sign them both. They dont like this happening, so I would send only the part for him to sign -- andI would instruct him NOT to date it... That way, with every letter I sent, I could send a records release. NO one could say " I cant talk to you bc I dont have a records release" ( the hippa is for medical- the non-hippa is for security issues, social services, etc) I cant stress that enough!!! PLEASE msg me, there are some really good programs in your area_ I can help you make some connections. I also suggest that you look for " free books for inmates" and have books sent to your son. This helped me get info about other inmates, when my son would get free books, ppl would ask him how? hed say my mom, and theyd say, I wonder if they make a book abt depression, diabetes, etc.... my son would send me their name and what kind of book they wanted. making sure they knew there was never a promise of getting the book, but having someone try...I could see a trend, and start investigating.... inch by inch, step by step, hour by hour, day by day, I can feel a little bit of pride knowing that I was making a difference, and it wasnt " someone elses issue".....I hope this helps.

Last edited by Juniesgal; 09-28-2017 at 02:46 PM..
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  #39  
Old 09-28-2017, 02:36 PM
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Hello All,

I finally got a chance to visit my son, after what seemed eternity. The look on his face made my heart smile. He was suprised because I didn't let him know that I was coming. We really had a GREAT day but when it was time to leave once again reality sunk in and all the pain came rushing back to me at once. I know I couldn't let him see me cry and it was hard but I managed. This is the most terrible feeling in the world and I don't wish it on anyone. But I just want to thank the people in this group for there encouraging words.
Denise: I have been thinking about you, and I am so glad you were able to see your son. I was the same way, I would hold in those tears until I hit my car, then cry so hard I couldnt drive for an hour. But 1 time, I broke down right there, in visiting, in front of everyone. With those heart wrenching sobs of a mom-you know the ones, the almost silent sobs, with tears that never stop. I was so embarrassed that I wasnt as strong as everyone around me, and I wasnt strong for him. The next letter I received from him changed my view on that- he said thank you. He thanked me for letting HIM comfort ME, for making him feel like that over protective son he always was once again. It was that day that I learned that he actually needed to hear me grieve, bc knowing that I was grieving the loss of our past normal, I loved him. Hugs and Love, Stacey
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  #40  
Old 09-28-2017, 02:48 PM
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I am in Illinois.

Im pretty close to you. Im in WI....
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