Is Joining a Support Group Beneficial for Those with Incarcerated Loved Ones

Updated on 7/6/2023

Did you know that there were 1.8 million people  incarcerated in 2021?

In addition to those people in prison, there are thousands of family members left at home to cope with the hardship that comes with a loved one going away. When someone is given a jail sentence, there are economic consequences and emotional struggles for their family.

One day your loved one is there for dinner, and the next they’re gone for months or even years. It can be a traumatic experience. Thankfully, you don’t need to go through it alone. Joining a support group could help.

Even though you can send jail mail, send money to an inmate, and have  inmate phone calls, nothing can replace having that person with you in real life.

Having someone to talk to in hard times and being able to share problems with over a coffee could make the difference between a good day and a bad day.  Below, we outline reasons why you should consider joining a support group if your loved one has been incarcerated.

The Struggles of Having a Loved One in Prison

Going through the experience of having someone close to you become incarcerated can be overwhelming and confusing at first. You don’t know how to get on with daily tasks, or when you’ll be able to see them next. 

All of these daunting feelings can lead to mental health problems , which can make it hard for you to cope during your loved one’s jail sentence. Why is it hard when someone you know is in prison?

Once you find where they are located, you might have to complete lots of paperwork, inmate calling, and browsing on federal inmate locator websites just to be able to connect with them. 

This process can be long and difficult, which is made even worse by the fact that there is a physical barrier between you and them. This can lead to depression and anxiety.

Separation From Children

While being separated from our partner or family member as an adult can be stressful, many inmates are also taken away from their children. 

For the child, being isolated from their parent can lead to long-term physiological effects that could disrupt the rest of their lives. Especially if they are not around other children who have been through the same thing. 

However, what if being separated could improve family relationships ?  

Benefits of Joining a Support Group

When you hear ”support groups” you might be put off by the pressure to speak about your life, meet strangers, and take time out of your day to dedicate to commuting to the location.

Without a doubt, committing to a support group is a big step, and acknowledging you find it difficult to cope with having a loved one in jail is even harder to admit.

However, the good news is, you are not alone. A support group looks to give people the space to connect with others going through similar experiences. Which, in turn, helps them connect with their families in a new way, since you are going through the same circumstances.

Here are a few things you can learn when you make the decision to go.

Comfort Group

Instead of calling it a support group, you could also refer to it as a comfort group. 

The idea of going somewhere where you feel comfortable is more appealing than attending an event that makes you anxious. You’ll be amazed at how comforting it is to talk to others that feel the same as you. 

Stress Relief 

When your loved one is behind bars, there are moments when you feel so alone and stressed that nothing makes it better. You feel hopeless.  Attending a support meeting allows you to vent about the frustrations, anger, sadness, and any other emotions you’re going through with understanding and compassionate people. 

Talking about your stress can be extremely therapeutic and will improve your overall well-being, so you can manage other life tasks.

Information Source 

In addition to the emotional benefits of joining a support group, there are also practical advantages to attending a meeting. For instance, you might be wondering, how to write  to a prisoner, or what an inmate look is.

Everyone at a support group has had the same questions as you and might be able to give you some great advice. This can be very useful for learning coping strategies and recommendations for books to read. 

When you’re in the middle of something traumatic, you might not have the headspace to think about these things so having a place where people can suggest ways to improve your situation could help a lot.

Speaking of useful tools, Pigeonly is a great way to contact a loved one in prison. 

We dedicate ourselves to making communications between inmates and family members as easy as possible with budget-friendly calls, sharing photos, and writing letters.

That way, you won’t need to miss out on years of memories and important moments with a loved one when we offer you the chance to be close to one another. 

Breaking Barriers and Building Love

No matter the reason why there’s distance, being far away from someone you love can make life seem unbearable. Especially when someone close to you is suddenly put behind bars and you have limited contact with them. Luckily, there’s a solution to that feeling of helplessness, joining a support group.

Opening yourself up to other people and connecting to a community of friendly people can help you feel more hopeful and happier, despite the pain of having a close family member or friend in jail.

Our platform allows you to send mail, photos, and other personal notes to a prisoner. Contact us  for more information on these services.