Sunday, January 27, 2013

Prison Transfers

Sometimes, a transfer is a good thing, meaning the inmate is moved closer to home. Some states will even allow hardship transfers, in case the family member is to far away and it puts undue hardship on the family to visit, check with your state DOC to find out. Some states, like VA don't take it into consideration, and while I can't prove it from my experience they tend to put inmates as far away from the family as possible.

It is hard adjusting to a move, especially if you are used to getting visits every week, two weeks or month. It tears at family relationships and finance. As well as calls. The inmate has to adjust to a new enviroment, get back on a waiting list for jobs, hope the same classes are offered so they can continue to work towards a degree or their trade.

Our transfers haven't worked out well. He went from an hour away, with visits every month, working on an electrical certification and an associates degree, while there he had never gotten any charges or had any problems. He had a job, where he had earned some certificates, that would help him outside. His mom was able to visit him.  Things were good, we were able to see each other, he was able to develop a bond with our youngest one. At his review he was moved down a security level, which should have been good news and they asked him if he would rather stay where he was or put in to transfer to a lower level prison. He said he would rather stay, since he was doing good and this was as close to home as he could get. Okay they said...3 months later he was moved 5 hours away, I couldn't visit because my car isn't in good shape, though I had planned on visiting this year when I got my taxes in and was able to fix my car. He was told he was no longer for college classes b/c he had less than 5 years left, and they didn't offer any trade classes and would go on a waiting list for a job...The move sucked for me and the girls since we couldn't visit, so we made adjustments with more phone calls, with the hope of a visit in 2013, and the words of his counselor he can put in for a transfer back at his annual review in December. He didn't adjust well to the new environment, and while I know it isn't 100% healthy, without the family contact to keep him balanced (not to mention this new place didn't keep him on his bp meds), needless to say he got into some trouble, lost 4 months of good time (our new release date is 2/2016). He came up for review and was told he had to put down 3 prisons that he couldn't just put down one, so he put down the 3 closest to the house all under 4 hour drive. What does the system decided to do, to move him as far away as possible, he was moved close to 10 hours away. He is now on lockdown 22 hours a day, his fan was taken from him as well as some of his cloths. The fan doesn't seem like a big deal, but can  you imagine being stuck in a 9X3 cell with another person in over 100 degree weather and no air blowing..Yeah dogs get better treatment.  And he has said because of the conditions of where he is and the people, that he doesn't want a visit ever while he is there. Not that I would be able to even if my car was fixed. He asked his counselor about hardship transfers, VA doesn't do them, and he couldn't do anything for Jody right now but would try his hardest at his annual review to get him transferred back to the southwest side of VA rather than the coast. Even his counselor was surprised that they moved him all the way there, considering in a year he will be eligible to enter into the re-entry program, and 99% of the time when an inmate enters that they try to have them close to home. The only plus to this move, is that a trade class is offered its not electrical like he was taking before but it dry walling  so its something that might help him when he gets out. Or atleast give him more time out of his cell and something to occupy his time.

I think the hardest part on me has been when Lily over heard me telling my mom about Jody's move and she thought that meant she will get to see her "sweet-daddy" (thats been her nickname for him since she was tiny, for whatever reason lol). She went and picked out some clothes and brought them to me and was like here's  my outfit to go see sweet-daddy, they let me in this...:( I wasn't going to tell her he moved, I honestly wasn't going to mention visits or anything..but since she brought it up I had to explain that they moved daddy far away and I don't know when we see him again. She misses her dad alot and I hate to see my baby girl so sad.

How I deal with it? Like I deal with everything else so far, I just take it in suck it up swallow it down and keep going. After all what choice do I have? We are back to writing everyday and I'm trying to send him more pics. We'll find our footing again and hopefully this time next year I will be writing that they finally moved him back closer to home.

It isn't all hopeless, if your state allows hardship transfers, don't give up till you get one.

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