Journal Entry 

 Family Ties 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Family Ties:

Rebuilding Relationships After Prison

The journey of incarceration is not just a solitary path walked by those serving time; it profoundly impacts their families and loved ones. The separation and challenges faced by families during this period are often overlooked, yet they play a crucial role in the rehabilitation and reintegration process. We understand the importance of nurturing these vital connections, as they can significantly influence personal and professional growth after release.

The Challenges of Separation

Incarceration inherently means separation from family and community. This separation can strain relationships, leaving both parties to navigate unfamiliar territories. For those in prison, it’s a journey marked by introspection and adaptation to a new environment. For their families, it’s a test of resilience, often without a support system that truly understands their unique challenges.

Nurturing Relationships from Within

During my 9,500 days in prison, I learned the importance of actively working to maintain and strengthen family ties. It’s about more than just staying in touch; it’s about growing together despite the physical distance. My experience led me to marry the love of my life, Carole, in a federal prison visiting room. Our relationship blossomed through daily letters, allowing us to build a strong foundation that has lasted for years.

Strategies for Maintaining Family Bonds

  • Consistent Communication: Regular letters, phone calls, and visitations can help maintain a sense of normalcy and emotional connection.
  • Shared Goals and Plans: Discussing future plans and setting goals together can create a sense of partnership and shared purpose.
  • Emotional Support: Offering and receiving emotional support is crucial. It’s important to acknowledge the challenges each party faces and provide a comforting presence.
  • Personal Development: Use the time apart for personal growth. Engaging in educational programs, like our “Preparing for Success after Prison” course, can demonstrate commitment to change and improvement.

Invitation to Share and Grow

We invite you to share your journey of rebuilding family relationships with us at [email protected]. Your stories of perseverance and commitment can inspire others facing similar challenges. If you include “Request a Book” in the subject line of your email, we will donate a book from our resources to aid in your journey, provided our nonprofit has the resources available.

Critical Thinking:

  • Reflect on your current family relationships.
  • Identify areas where you can improve communication and support.
  • Write to express your thoughts, feelings, and commitment to maintaining and strengthening these bonds.

Books to Guide Your Journey

  • Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence
  • Success after Prison
  • Prison! My 8,344th Day
  • Release Plan 2024
  • Preparing for Success after Prison

Family relationships are a cornerstone of successful reintegration. By nurturing these ties, you not only support your loved ones but also lay a strong foundation for your new beginning after prison.


Michael Santos
Founder, Prison Professors

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