Celia (25), with dad Jay Coleman and his wife Alison Coleman.
Prison Families & Loved Ones Prison Love

Jay Coleman Did 25 Years for Stealing $18, and His Family Suffered with Him

The Altamont Enterprise reports on Jay Coleman, a man sentenced to 25-years-to-life for stealing $18. Due to numerous hardships, his family suffered right along with him.

When Jay Coleman was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison for stealing less than 20 bucks, his family suffered incarceration with him via untold hardships. Coleman was sent to jail for stealing “$18 with no injuries, no weapon.”

His wife, Alison Coleman, stood by him and set up public advocacy for him.

Jay Coleman stands to take a picture with his family after 25 years of incarceration.
Jay Coleman stands to take a picture with his family after 25 years of incarceration.
Image Source: Times Union

Prison Families of New York State is Established

Alison established the Prison Families of New York State. It’s a support group to help families of incarcerated people all over the State of New York.

The prison wife said she came up with the idea to set up the support group for families of inmates because they were not initially treated well. According to her, imprisonment should not separate families physically.

She believes a support systems should be in place for prison families to encourage reunions.

Even today, families of incarcerated people suffer terrible hardships and public rejections. Many turn to prison loved ones support groups to be able to wade through the tides.

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Married Prison Couple Conceives Baby Behind Bars

Jay Coleman has now been released after serving 25 years in prison. He and his wife already had a one-year-old child when Jay was sentenced. The child had become a full adult by the time he was released 25 years later.

But, while incarcerated, the couple conceived another baby inside the prison walls. It took place during a weekend visit through the family reunion program. Once called conjugal visits, these weekend visits are also known as family visits.

Jay Coleman & Family Today

Former inmate Jay Coleman was released 11 years ago. He now works with the New York State Defenders Association.

The couple are now divorced. But, Alison said they remain close friends and allies. They survived his 25-year incarceration together, which made their friendship stronger and better.

Alison works with several state-run prisons. She manages their visitors’ centers where people wait until they are escorted to see their loved ones in prison.

Jay Coleman stands to take a picture with his family after 25 years of incarceration.
Jay Coleman stands to take a picture with his family after 25 years of incarceration.
Image Source: Times Union

Jay Coleman: Nothing Takes the Place of Human Contact for Inmates

Jay Coleman said he was very glad Alison stood by him during his incarceration. She constantly visited him in prison with the family. He also appreciated the works, campaigns and support she provided outside the prison walls to help other prison families.

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The former prison inmate said Alison’s visits broke the monotony of prison life. It made him feel special and appreciated, since he constantly got news of the family via such visits.

The Altamont Enterprise Guilderland reports:

“’Even if you have a vigorous correspondence with someone, nothing takes the place of human contact,’ Jay said.”

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Are you currently supporting someone in prison? Has it been a rough process? Or, does love conquer all when it comes to being a prison loved one? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.