How to Cope While a Loved One Is Incarcerated

While a loved one is incarcerated, you may have to confront financial and emotional health issues. Here are some tips for coping.

Cope Emotionally When Your Loved One is Incarcerated

Take care of yourself mentally and physically. Seek the help of a professional mental health counselor in coping with emotional issues. Stay on top of your physical health by seeing a physician regularly.

Reach out to others. Look for support groups created for family and friends of prisoners. You can find support forums online and in the community.

Understand that your loved one has a right within limits to have contact with those outside of prison. Learn the rules for communicating with your loved one by contacting the facility in which your loved one is being held.

Determine visitation rules and regulations for the prison in which your loved one is incarcerated. Schedule visits on a regular basis.

Seek support on the Family & Corrections Network Web site (see Resources below). You may find programs to help you cope with the incarceration of your loved one.

Deal With Financial Issues When Your Loved One is Incarcerated

Review your budget. Determine the cost of maintaining your current lifestyle while your spouse is incarcerated.

Look for ways to increase your income or cut back on expenses while your spouse is in prison. In some cases, obtaining a second job or eliminating luxuries may be necessary.

Estimate expenses you'll have when visiting your incarcerated spouse, such as gas money or bus fare, and include them in your budget. Be sure to include money you will deposit into your spouse's inmate account as well.

Contact the Department of Health and Human Services in your state if you cannot meet your expenses without your spouse's help. You may be eligible for help with housing costs, food and medical care.