How to Survive Prison: 5 Tips for Calling Home from Prison
Preserving Your Marriage
"I made a conscious choice to keep up good contacts with family and friends, an effort to keep up as much normalcy in my life as possible," says Gerard, a Pennsylvania prisoner. "I humbled myself, let people know my situation, and have had wonderful contact through phone and mail and visits."
Maintaining your relationships with your family—if appropriate—is an important part of your personal journey to restoration. Reconciling with family and loved ones will motivate you to make the most of your time in prison. It will also spur you on toward successful reentry after your release.
But how can you keep in touch with people when you're behind bars? Through visitation, writing letters, and phone calls from prison.
5 TIPS FOR CALLING HOME FROM PRISON
- When calling home collect, consider calling different members of the family rather than always calling the same person.
- Time your calls. Agree that you’ll say goodbye when time's up. This is all about costs. The bills that come with calls can sink a family budget. In many cases, you'll need to keep it brief and use letters to finish up or go deeper into areas of concern.
- Plan your calls by making a list of items you want to talk about. This will help you get though the important items first before time runs out.
- Be considerate of your family's finances when asking for commissary money and help with your school tuition, reading materials, or other costs. If possible, ask different people rather than the same person every time. This spreads the financial load around.
- Consider doing the same Bible study together and discussing what you learned by phone or in letters. It's a great way to grow together spiritually.
Going to prison is a severe strain on family ties. If you are married when you enter prison, the odds are stacked against you. Studies show that 85% of marriages collapse when one spouse goes to prison, even for a short stay. But even though the odds look grim, marriages can survive—and even thrive! —behind bars.
For more information on how you and your spouse can maintain and preserve your marriage, download the Prison Survival Guide. You can also find additional resources on marriage and relationships on our website.