How to Cope with an Incarcerated Loved One During Coronavirus

Being socially isolated and away from loved ones during the coronavirus has many people struggling with feelings of loneliness, stress, and worry. When a loved one’s incarcerated at a time when the world fights to contain this highly contagious virus, it can be even more challenging to cope with painful emotions that arise.

When someone you care about is arrested for a crime, it may be one of the most traumatic events a person experiences. In a day, everything can change in the lives of the person being arrested, and the people close to them. If your loved one has recently been incarcerated, consider these steps to help as you and your loved ones go through this situation.

Steps That Make Coping with an Incarcerated Loved One Easier

Coping with a close friend or relative being incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic, trying to figure out what to do, and where to start can feel overwhelming. To help deal with the stress and anxiety, consider the following steps that make life a little easier until your loved one is home again.

Practice Self-Care

Understand that this is a grieving process and be gentle on yourself. Someone who’s generally in your daily life is no longer present, and it’s essential to allow yourself the time to go through the grieving process. Practicing self-care by ensuring you sleep on a regular schedule, eat balanced meals, and exercise often will help keep stress and anxiety levels down.

Reach Out to Support Groups

Reaching out to other families and individuals also coping with an incarcerated loved one is great for a support system. Many communities have support groups focused on this very situation. Find one through the court system or reach out to local psychologists’ offices to look for recommendations. Online groups, like on Facebook, can be helpful for online support and to stay updated on any news related to the health and safety of the jail.

Try a Grief Counselor if Necessary

While support groups can be great for a sense of community, sometimes it can be more beneficial to speak with a grief counselor for a few one-on-one sessions.

Make a Plan and Stick to a Budget

If your loved one was the primary provider for you and your family, it will take some adjusting to get used to while they’re incarcerated. You’ll need to consider your expenses and create a budget that you can stick to. Jail can be expensive for loved ones on the outside. Simple costs like making phone calls to the jail and buying items at the commissary can add up quickly. Be sure to set a budget and understand how much you can afford to spend each month to make ends meet while your loved one is away.

Decide What You Want to Tell Your Children

If you have children at home, getting used to your loved one being away while incarcerated will be a significant adjustment for them as well. Figuring out what to tell your children during this time is one of the most challenging decisions you may face. While what you tell them is your decision alone, children often cope better when parents are open and honest about what has happened. Try to answer any questions they may have about where their loved one has gone and try to be direct to avoid confusion.

Decide What You Want to Tell Other People

It can be tricky to think of a response you’re comfortable with when people ask you about your loved one on the spot. Consider your answer ahead of time, and try to be consistent. You only need to share what you feel comfortable sharing, and nothing more.

Decide How Often You Can Visit

There are restrictions at most jails on how often visitors are allowed. Find out this information, along with any other rules ahead of time. That way, you can look forward to the next time you’ll see your loved one and know what to expect. For example, in Orange County, Florida, inmates are allowed to have three video visitations per week before the coronavirus crisis began in March.

Take Life One Day At a Time

Life will be different and will require some adjusting to get used to your new “normal” while your loved one is away. When someone you love is no longer available to call or see at any time of the day, it’s normal to feel a little lost. That lost feeling will pass, though, and it’s important to keep working through each day and live in the moment. Don’t let your mind wander to how life will look years down the road without the person you love. That will likely leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Instead, focus on one day at a time and be kind to yourself.

Put Aside Guilt

You may feel guilty while you’re home, and your loved one is in jail. It’s vital to your health and wellbeing that you put aside any feelings of guilt you may have. You did not make the same decisions your loved one did that resulted in this situation. All you can do now is take care of yourself to best support your loved ones through this challenging period.

Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney in Orlando

When a loved one goes to jail, it can be devastating for those who wait for them just as much as it is for the one being incarcerated. The COVID-19 crisis has brought on even more stress during this challenging time, and it’s beneficial now more than ever to lean on support systems during this unprecedented time.

At The Umansky Law Firm, Attorney William D. Umansky provides compassionate and knowledgeable legal counsel for those facing criminal charges in Orlando and cities nearby. Whether your loved one is in jail for a third-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree felony, all criminal charges should be taken seriously. One mistake can negatively impact many lives when a person going to jail leaves a family behind. Securing experienced criminal defense is vital to your loved one’s future freedom and the wellbeing of your family.

Bill Umansky and many on his team of criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors. They have tried hundreds of cases in Florida courtrooms with a unique position that most law firms can’t provide. To schedule a free consultation and speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, call (407) 228-3838.