Coming Home from prison…mixed emotions


A couple of our writers work within a prison facility. There are happy occasions when a man serves his time, completes his program and is able to be reunited with his family and friends.

We are sharing another letter that was written to “Jeremiah’s” family and friends:

To Jeremiah’s Family and Friends,

Who would ever think that leaving a prison could be anything except a JOYOUS occasion?! We can answer that question…we who have come to respect, enjoy, and care deeply for this man who is leaving…there is a bit of sadness in our hearts because we will miss him.

We are happy that he will be a free man again and not only that – we are so pleased that he has gained so much character before he gained his freedom. When we met him, he had a rough and angry nature. We soon saw that he was a “diamond in the rough!” He is now a man with a new attitude and sense of honor about himself. He is able to re-enter society with wisdom and determination to live a good life…a man who is no longer ashamed to show his emotions or speak his mind at the appropriate times. He knows he is “dirt” and can tell you why that is a GOOD thing! Most important, he looks to God for guidance and peace in his life.

We would like to mention a few things that you should be aware of…things that a man will go through when he re-enters society…things he may experience:

  1. After the first few days, weeks, or months of freedom and celebration, he may feel sad or bored. Remember that he has gone through many changes and even when a change is a good one (like coming home) – it can create a kind of trauma as he gets used to his new living arrangements. In order to survive in prison, he had to create and adjust to a different way of life and he went through many changes before he came into the program and started to really understand himself and to know how blessed his life could be, even in prison. He has made good friends – friends that he has opened up to; friends that he has told things that he had before kept secret in his deepest soul; friends that he has laughed with, cried with, worked with, hurt with, and in short – friends he has bonded with in ways that he never knew was possible. Now he is adjusting his lifestyle again, adjusting to freedom and you can KNOW that he is thrilled to be home…but it is normal to miss good friends. Hopefully he will get a job quickly and this is usually helpful as he gets used to his new lifestyle.

  2. There will be some of his old friends (before he went to prison) that will expect him to be the “old Jeremiah.” Some of these friends will come to respect the new Jeremiah…others will expect him to act in the old ways and encourage him to do things that he should not do. We know you will help him be strong as he takes his new behaviors into his old life.

We would like to suggest that you be supportive by being alert to his moods and behavior. He wants and need your help as he adjusts. Some of these suggestions may, at first, seem to appear that you are interfering in his life; or you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable because these subjects seem too personal. However, loving him as you do – we believe that you will help him in these ways:

Ask him what is going on with him and then listen with love and understanding:

  1. If he is acting in secretive ways,

  2. if he is nervous

  3. if he is angry

  4. If he stops taking care of himself in any way

  5. If he becomes excessive in any area

  6. If he looks sad

  7. if YOU feel like there is something wrong with him but you can’t even explain what it is

Please feel free to call on us if we can be of help to your family as Jerimiah comes home to you. We pray your reunion is a joyous one and that the challenges you face in life will be small and manageable.

May God bless all of you.

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17 thoughts on “Coming Home from prison…mixed emotions

  1. Hello i would like to speak so one for help my husband will be home in 1year after being gone for 16years…

  2. Hello Mrs. Jordan, I took your phone number out of your comment so that you would not receive any unwanted calls. I will send you an email and see if I can be of help. God bless you and your family! Macky

  3. Hi,
    My husband came home 10/26/2010 and I watching him slowly deteriorate. I feel helpless because I don’t know what to do to help him. He has stayed out longer this time than anytime in the past and he seems to be skating on thin ice. We have been married 30 years and he has spent about 27 years in and out of prison.

    He has a drug problem, doesn’t trust anyone he sees as an authoritive figure and it is so heartbreaking watching him self destruct.

    Can anyone offer us any help?

    • Hello Kim,
      Your husband needs not only group but intense individual therapy. Alcohol and drugs only cover up a painful reality that he is going through but that he has not “worked through” yet. He can work through this painful reality – whatever it is – if he will go into a counseling relationship and get honest about who he is and what has happened in his life. At this time, he is what we call “institutionalized,” which means he is adjusted to the prison life and is not taking responsibility for himself in the free world…he has nearly never had to take responsibility. Some men find it easier to stay in prison and let someone else do their thinking for them. This is a very sad situation and I am sorry to hear that you are in the middle of it. If your husband will not get counseling, you certainly should and you can find some peace of mind for yourself even if he refuses to take hold of life himself. I wish you the best and will be praying for you. God bless you, Macky

  4. My husband is coming home in a couple of weeks and we have a 13 month old who had NO idea who he is anymore…the last time she seen him was at 4 months. what are some tips on how the two can adjust to each other…how do i get her to love him

    • Dear friend,
      You are right. Your 13 month old will not know who her father is since he has been gone since she was 4 months. You cannot get her to love him, but you can let the love develop over time. Do not try to rush love…love will not be hurried – it takes time and it takes a foundation of trust and knowing. Allow the two of them to get to know each other naturally and if he is a kind and gentle man, she will soon warm up to him and want to be with him…she will feel the protection that he can provide – if that is his nature. I hope that he wants to be a good father! May God bless your family as you come together again!
      Macky

  5. my husband came of after serving 19yrs. we don’t talk anymore like we use to he is very disrepectful to his mother. Everything he said he was going to do has fallen to the wast side he thinks only of himself

    • Hello Michelle,
      This is not an unusual situation. Did your husband have any treatment or therapy while he was in prison? Was it helpful? Even if the treatment or therapy was not helpful – now he has the opportunity to find a therapist and/or group that can meet his needs. He must re-adjust to society and all the changes that he is facing. This is a whole NEW world to him and although difficult to believe, a man can experience PSTD after coming OUT of prison just as he can experience PTSD going IN prison. My prayer for him, you and your entire family is that he finds a good therapist / group as soon as possible.
      Sincerely,
      Macky

  6. hello my bf came home a week ago after 3 yrs we didnt live together before but we do now he dont want to have sex with me it makes me feel bad about my self hes very sweet but he is very far away in the bed room

  7. Hello Shelly,

    Do not take it personally that your bf does not want to be sexually intimate with you. This is about him and not about you. He is going through a very stressful time and when people are stressed out – they are usually not in a mood to have sex. If you read the above questions; then, you already know that he is probably going through a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I know you think he should be THRILLED to be out of prison… ALL change brings stress to our lives – even good things. He needs time to adjust to life on the “outside.” Of course, I recommend a good therapist to help him through this and if the two of you are serious – perhaps you can have couple therapy too.

    God bless you both,
    Macky

  8. My husband comes home in less than 24 hrs after being incarcerated for well over 4 yrs. I am a complete mess. I keep thinking that this is too good to be true, he’s not coming home. That something bad might happen before I can get to him. Then I’m thinking maybe he won’t like who I am. What if he decides we wasted our time? I haven’t eaten, I’ve lost atleast 5 lbs in the past week (which is good but not healthy) and I’m a complete wreck. I smell like bleach from scrubbing the house clean and I don’t even want to go to sleep because I’m afraid of what tomorrow will bring. Why am I acting this way. I love my husband dearly and he loves me. We’re best friends and we tell each other everything. Am I over reacting? I don’t even know why I’m on this site. Sorry!!!

    • Hello Garrett, I’m sorry for taking so long to answer you. Likely you know these things by now; however, I will answer you. Are you over reacting? YES! If he does not like who you are, it is NOT wise to attempt to “rearrange” who you are to please someone else. Certainly, each of us needs to make some changes, but we are basically just who we are and we should not put on a “mask” in order to please someone else. You will come to resent the fact that he does not like/love you for who you are. In fact, it is not truly LOVE until your special someone KNOWS your quirks as well as your lovable traits and loves you – the WHOLE you, just the way you are!

      I hope this response finds you and your husband in a very comfortable and happy place… remember life is always a roller coaster and we take the downs with the ups (unless there is something very wrong). I hope to hear back that you are doing well. If not, we can discuss it.

      God bless you,
      Macky

  9. Thanks for this. I needed this knowledge…..my guy is coming home from doing 17 years. I don’t know what to expect. Promises….promises….Only the Lord knows and everyones experience is different……

    • Hello Q, I hope the two of you are adjusting well. It takes time, especially after 17 years. Please write again and let me know how you have been doing since May.

      God bless you,
      Macky

  10. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but I have a very unique situation. One of my friends from my high school days (actually to be blunt, my best friends ex boyfriend) has got less then a year left in prison after serving 12 years for avery violent offence. The offence he commutes was in Ohio so that is where he is doing his time. However home is Florida. I have already promised him I would drive up there to go get him (obviously after all the details are ironed out: he might get probation, he might have to stay iny Ohio depending on parole, conditions of release, etc) I am looking for some type of info on how to help him reintroduce him to society and signs to keep an eye out for. If everything goes as planned he

    • Hi Kimmy, I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you and very likely, you have the answers to your questions by now – at least a lot of them. Depending on the prison he was in – they should have provided him with some good information on transitioning back into society. But even with that, I suggest that he find a very good Therapist .. someone he can trust with his deepest secrets and concerns. Serving time in prison, alone, seldom is enough to make lasting changes in a person. And it must be he, himself who wants the change. If you want him to change more than he wants it – it will not work. You will become frustrated and he will become angry. If you have read very much of my blog, you know that I am a Christian! I highly suggest that if he is not a Christian that he find a good Christian-oriented church and have a long TRUTHFUL conversation with the pastor. Becoming a Christian and living this lifestyle, having a good Therapist and a good support system at home – then your friend has a good chance in living a productive and Good Life!

      God bless you both,
      Macky

  11. I am so glad a friend of mine sent me this link. My son was out of Prison for 5 short months & now is back in. It breaks my heart to see him have to go through this all over again plus I feel I’m in Prison with him. He’s not sentenced yet so I have no idea how long he’s looking at but I’m praying it will only be months not years. I have to leave it in God’s hands but that’s easier said than done. He never got any therapy while he was out that 5 months & I think this is where he fell into his old trap, especially his drinking. He never saw cash while he was in Prison for 2 years & when he got cash once he was outside he went wild in his spending habits. So many things he needed help with but unfortunately never received. So sad, my heart breaks as a mother. Just a few comments. I’m really enjoying reading other’s post, it lets me understand my son even more. Thanks for this thread, keep up the good work & God Bless you my Brother in Christ. Glenda

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