While mentoring inmates who are married, in committed relationships, dating or real close to a special woman or man, I’ve found most don’t want to hear the truth about their relationships.
In over 10 years of being a prison mentor, I’ve had many inmates walk out, threaten me or stop talking to me over conversations about their relationships. Free world people in relationships with incarcerated men or women who love them despite their past crimes and past ways of life are blessings from God.
Now I’m not saying all prison relationships are bad, but close to 80% are. I have been to 9 federal prisons in my 17 years of incarceration that range from Penitentiaries to highs, mediums and lows. All the men I met at all levels of prison share a common intent – they all need to change for the better and treat the special person in their lives well.
Loved ones on the outside all share their own common intent of wondering if are with the right person. They often ask themselves “should I make a clean break and move on?”, and there’s a long list of things they factor in to make that determination:
1: Has this person changed for the better?
2: Has the person in prison taken the right steps to become a productive citizen once released?
3: Is the person really someone they can see themselves with? If children are involved can they get along with the children and respect that the children are a package deal?
4: Does this person have something to offer besides, sex, looks, money or material possessions?
5: Is this person someone you can talk to, do they understand you, and do you feel comfortable with them?
6. Will you love them unconditionally?
Dealing with having someone in prison is difficult and having a loving relationship with them is even harder. The only real means of communication and intimacy with someone incarcerated is via letters, visits when possible, limited phone calls and email for some.
If you’re reading this and you support someone who’s in prison, know that you are deeply appreciated by that person. However, make sure you’re happy and ask yourself those questions and do what you feel is best.
You only live life once and if you’re not happy, you can’t make anyone else happy!