Just one more harrowing tale of prison families and the burdens of incarcerations. These burdens come with having a family member that is incarcerated – Parents of Incarcerated Boy Sets Up Prison Ride Service to Take People to See Prison Inmates.
This is a story of “using what you’ve got” to make the best of a situation and also help others cope with individual situations. Cecilia Whitfield and her partner established Use What You’ve Got Prison Ministries Keeping Families Connected (UWYGPM) – a prison shuttle bus service, when their son was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.
Prison Families: Setting up Prison Ride Service Has Help Us to Cope with Our Son’s Imprisonment
The idea to set up prison ride services to help the prison families of incarcerated people visit their loved ones in prison came about with prison transportation problems. These are one of the biggest burdens of incarcerations prison families suffer.
According to Whitfield, people would always ask her “can we ride with you?” whenever she wanted to visit her son in prison. This caused her to wonder if the state of Indiana does not have a prison ride share service for families of incarcerated individuals.
Dealing with the Burdens of Incarcerations for Prison Families
“I thought, well, I think I’ll start a shuttle service for all of us, because we’re all in this together,” Whitfield said.
Setting up the prison shuttle service has been of tremendous help to families in Indiana. And both Whitfield and her husband have been able to better cope with the prospect of their son spending up to 40 years behind bars with the shuttle.
“Sometimes when you’re helping other people, it can take your mind off your own problems. That was such a devastating thing for me for my son to be facing 40 years,” she said. “Just starting that shuttle service helped me to cope.”
Indiana Department of Corrections Underscores the Importance of Social Contact for Inmates
Considering the difficulties families face to get in touch with their incarcerated loved ones, the Indiana Department of Corrections has underscored the importance of social contacts for inmates. They feed into the burdens of incarcerations for prison families.
The IDOC policy acknowledges that families have a right to get in touch with their loved ones behind bars; and that social contacts help inmates to maintain mental and behavioral equilibrium. Indiana Recorder reports:
“Any time that you go to do a visit in person, there’s obviously going to be gas and mileage. We have facilities all around the state of Indiana,” said Jon Ferguson, IDOC legal counsel. “We try to keep in mind where the offender originated from, or any family members that might be there. We try to keep it within traveling distance to the best of our ability.”
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