Incarceration of family members is a topic that is often discussed in hushed tones since it is usually surrounded by shame, thus the compulsion to sweep things under the rug. However, the process of incarceration is one families should not ignore.
According to World Prison Data, Kenya's prison population rate stood at 57,000 inmates in 2020. While some of these prisoners may spend their entire lives in prison, others will get freed either after completing their sentence or through presidential pardon. Unfortunately, rehabilitation back to society is not an easy task.
How do you ensure your family member is taken back by society in order to continue from where they left off?
Home coming party
This is the first way to welcome a member of the family who has been released from jail. They ought to be welcomed by their family and members of the community as a show of solidarity. The people who should be present include, close and extended family members, religious leaders, and close friends. The familiarity that is brought about by these groups could be what the family member needs to feel at home
Separation anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are likely to deprive happiness and peace to a member of the family who just left the prison. The best way to ensure they move on from this is by taking them to see a psychologist to walk them through the adjustments in their lives. Supporting their healing process is also critical to ensure they value themselves as members of a community.
A job offers someone a sense of belonging and responsibility. It also proves their acceptability back into the community. Helping a loved one get a job that earns them an income restores their sense of pride and pushed them to strive for excellence.
The work environment also provides an alternative experience to the individual than what they were accustomed to, especially when the workplace accommodates their struggles.
Keep close ties even while separated
Do not abandon your loved one just because they have been incarcerated unless it's unavoidable. Involve them in decisions making on matters related to the family. This way, they will not feel the dire effects of separation and will instead look forward to being free so they can rejoin the family.
There is a high tendency of prisoners becoming worse due to their interaction with other inmates. Reassuring your loved ones keeps their values in check and is important in sustaining their mental wellbeing.
Even though prisons offer training and education opportunities, urging your family member to join an institution of learning is a great way of updating them on what the society they left behind is up to.
Families should not shy away from discussing the challenges brought about by the incarceration of a loved one. It is through the discussion that lasting solutions can be achieved to ensure the loved one is accorded the necessary assistance. Just like any other issue that affects the family, incarceration is likely to have dire effects if left undiscussed.
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