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Writing to a semi long lost relative in prison / jail... Tho'ts??

I have a cousin that is about a year younger than me. We have never been all that close, only seeing each other at my Grandma's on Christmas. He lives about an hr and a a half a way and our lives have always been different w/ me marrying so young and starting a family.

He has been in and out of the system and this time is back in jail (or prison, I don't even know the difference!!!). I briefly spoke w/ his mom (my aunt, my dad's sister) telling her that I tho't about him and was wondering how he was doing. This is a very tough subject, something they have gone through before and she even said "I can't believe we are going through this again.". when I brought it up yesterday. I am not very good about tough subjects but wanted her to know I thought about him and told her so.

She said that he would love for us (my sister was sitting there was well) to write. That she isn't that great about writing.

I have been thinking a lot about what Sadie said about sending a b-day card, small gift, whatever to a person on their bday (or whenever) to let them know they are thought about and special.

I am seriously considering writing to this cousin but have feelings that are holding me back.

I am not even sure the whole story as to why he has, yet again, come to the place he is but am pretty sure it all comes down to drugs and being in w/ the wrong crowd. His parents have done nothing but try to help him, and in a way enable him tho not purposely, so I am sure they are at their wits end.

I am seriously debating on writing him just to let him know that I do think about him, he is special and try to lift him up and feel positive.

I don't know how to do this, what to say, how to approach it.

I am so cautious because I feel like I have my family to protect. I don't know if he would have any expectations or further ties to me when he does get out of jail / prison and that scares me. I know it doesn't have to be a book but really, how many times can you talk about the weather?

I don't know how I would keep it casual enough that I wouldn't divulge any (too) personal info. I'd like to write him monthly (I guess depending on how he responds) at least.

Does anyone have any experience, thoughts, anything on this matter? I'd appreciate it!

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:09 PM on Dec. 26, 2010 in Relationships

Answers (6)
  • I would start out by just writing him a letter telling him that you were thinking of him. Maybe share a few memories from childhood at grandmother's on Christmas. You could include a few inspirational quotes or bible verses if you are religious. If he writes back then you could go from there. Just be aware that the guards/detention officers will be reading (skimming) through the letters. Oh, and just so you know, jail is for people who have committed a misdemeanor and the sentence is 11 months and 29 days or less. Prison is for people who have committed felonies and are serving 1+ years.




    Answer by JeremysMom at 10:17 PM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • I think it would be a nice gesture to write him, but at the same time you should keep yourself somewhat guarded and don't expect too much. If drugs are a major part of his problem I would be weary- he made be very manipulative. I'd start by sending a simple card and then just see where it goes from there.


    Answer by skittles1108 at 10:17 PM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • family is family, and people who are down sometimes just need to know that someone still cares. maybe a funny story or something. take the leap, step out of your comfort zone. you just might make someones day! :)

    Answer by itzmyzoo at 10:45 PM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • No, he makes bad decisions, he has bad connections. The last thing you need is this guy (or one of his connections) knocking on your door.

    His own mom is not writing him, but she encourages you to write to him? Something is wrong with that picture.

    I would stay out of it. You aren't close to him, and you don't really need to be. Let him find support elsewhere and you put your family's safety first.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:52 AM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • I disagree with the state by anon above. NOT all prisoner's are abandoned while in prison because they are evil and their families want nothing to do with them. SOME members of the family can't bear to see their relative in that situation even if it's not their first offense. You should write him and just let him know you were thinking of him. He will greatly appreciate it. If you don't want him to have your address for whatever reason you could always get a PO Box for him to send your mail to.

    Answer by Proud_Mommy05 at 5:20 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • My cousin is in the same situation. He's always going back to jail/prison for some reason or another! I did begin writing him. Just the "how are you" and minor, non detailed things of our life. All he ever wanted was money. He kept asking me to send money to his canteen (?) Account. I decided to stop writing. His mother even warned us to be careful because he is a user. Not that your cousin is the same, but be careful! And I never sent any pictures of me or my family. GL.

    Answer by Austinsmom35 at 11:06 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

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