How to Prepare your Family for Your Prison Sentence

Preparing your family for your federal prison sentence can help them navigate the challenges and maintain a sense of stability and support during your absence. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your family:

  1. Open and Honest Communication: Have open and honest discussions with your family members about your impending prison sentence. Explain the reasons behind the sentence, the expected duration, and what it means for the family dynamics. Encourage them to ask questions and express their concerns.
  2. Emotional Support: Reassure your family members that your love and support will continue despite the physical separation. Provide emotional support and encourage them to share their feelings and concerns. Consider seeking professional counseling or support groups to help your family cope with the emotional impact of your incarceration.
  3. Financial Planning: Work together with your family to assess your financial situation and develop a plan for managing expenses during your absence. Create a budget, prioritize essential expenses, and explore resources and programs that may be available to your family. Consider appointing a trusted family member or friend to help manage financial matters if needed.
  4. Legal and Administrative Affairs: Review and organize important legal and administrative documents with the help of an attorney. This may include updating wills, powers of attorney, and any necessary guardianship arrangements for minor children. Ensure that your family members have access to important documents, such as your medical records and contact information for your attorney. Make sure that you appoint a power of attorney to handle all legal and financial documents while you are unavailable.
  5. Childcare and Education: If you have children, discuss their care and education during your absence. Work with your spouse or other family members to create a plan that ensures the well-being and stability of your children. Keep lines of communication open with their teachers and caregivers to stay involved in their lives as much as possible.
  6. Support Networks: Encourage your family members to seek support from trusted friends, relatives, or community organizations. Connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences can provide valuable guidance and emotional support.
  7. Visitations and Communication: Familiarize your family with the visitation policies and procedures of the correctional facility where you will be serving your sentence. Discuss how they can maintain regular communication with you through letters, phone calls, or approved electronic communication platforms.
  8. Reentry Planning: Start planning for your reentry into society early on. Identify programs, resources, and educational or vocational opportunities that can help you reintegrate successfully after your release. Involving your family in this process can give them a sense of hope and focus on the future.

Remember that each family’s situation is unique, and it’s important to tailor the preparation process to your specific circumstances. Seeking professional guidance from a social worker, counselor, or support organization specializing in assisting families affected by incarceration can provide additional resources and support.


Sam Mangel


Member: American Bar Association