Scared in St Louis
Hello everyone, my husband is being sentenced on October 27th for receipt of child porn. He is looking at a mandatory minimum of 60 months. I am so lost and sad. I find myself crying at the most random times during the day when I’m at work. Yesterday I broke down to my husband after holding so much in. I have lost my light. October used to be my favorite month. It’s our anniversary, my birthday and my favorite holiday, Halloween. But I don’t feel excited or happy about anything anymore. We still haven’t told my parents what is going on. We are trying to plan a weekend to do that but we are so scared how they will react.
I wish there was a local group in St Louis I could join of people going through what I’m going through. I’m thankful there are online groups. Reading all of your stories and advice is so helpful and reminds me that I’m not alone.
I have been out (of prison in Michigan) for abt. 3-1/2 yrs and made a successful transition back to a "semi-regular" life. I understand the fear, anxiety and depression that goes along with prison. I cannot understand what you are going through exactly, but I can imagine. I understand what it takes to get by when you are inside those walls, but what had worked for me may be different for someone else. I know your mind must be spinning right now and you feel helpless and frightened. At the very least you said "receipt" of child porn and not distribution, producing, or selling of it. My time spent inside was just under 5 yrs. Don't bottle your feelings up, but use caution when discussing matters with others. I wish you and your husband well. If there is any advice he may want that hasn't been answered here just reply. I'll be glad to help out with what ever I can.
@never_ending Thank you for your reply. My husband had his sentencing and did get 60 months. His lawyer said he will probably serve closer to 4 years though since time is taken off for good behavior. We told my parents and they took it pretty well and are going to be supportive and not turn their backs on us.
We do actually have a couple questions. Did you have a hard time finding work or a place to live after you got out? Did they make you go to a halfway house? Were your prison mates only sex offenders? Or were you in general population?
I have to apologize for the delay. I usually get notifications for new mail, but somehow didn't this time.
I can only render opinion as my situation was slightly different, but still had similarities. both being non violent offenses for one. I have strong opinions and could probably ramble on about the unfairness of the laws, but will stay on track as much as possible.
The good news I hear from you is that you are actively planning to try and make a future. That is the main ingredient in your husbands success. Time will go slowly, and the most important thing for me was the mental or emotional support from family. boredom is the real problem. My wife was living with her parents when I got out and we planned on getting back together anyway, but I had to have a place to stay. So, yes there was a plan for transition that the state made available. The place was called Exodus and was a step-up from prison program. The state had job placement programs as well, but those jobs didn't pay enough. Some former prisoners would supplement their pay donating plasma after being out for the required time. Most single ex-offenders would find that they needed to share an apartment after transition.
There are more companies that are now willing to hire ex-felons now, such as Wal-Mart. Prisoners are generally put in general population, but there are levels depending on the severity of the crime. Your husbands is pretty low-level, so he will most likely fare better than other sex offenders. Many prisoners that I was with had more common sense than those on the outside. He would benefit putting himself in a position of importance. Gaining experience in the law library was of great benefit to me. You cannot practice law in my state (as an attorney due to it being a felony, but can still be hired into a law firm.
I would suggest a few things he should know. Being a prison snitch or stealing someones "store" will get you in a real world of hurt. He should stay well-away from doing illegal "favors" for anyone. When he gets close to release, he should be extra careful. Some guys can get jealous and try and goad him into a fight or something. That's the best time to get along with everyone and stay put (read a lot or write). Nothing is worse than getting your parole tossed a week before going before the parole board for a fight.
All said, he may get a bit less than four yrs, depending on availability of housing, family support, and of course his prison record. Prison is hard, but it wasn't Shawshank Redemption for me. I read a lot of John Grisham, as boredom was the biggest enemy. Try not to worry too much, it will show in your voice. If you and others can keep consistent with writing or phone contact, it will be his greatest source of strength. One thing I failed to mention is that when he gets out, he will have a parole agent and they show no mercy and he will have restrictions. Being on parole is a transition, but the time when most people go back. He will have to "drop" to test for drugs and/or alcohol and will be on a tether, tracked by GPS at all times. He will need to keep it charged always. In Michigan you wear it for 2 years.
I came out of prison more appreciative of freedom and the little things that people take for granted. But I can still feel the stigma almost like I am still wearing my prison clothes though, and remember my number as well as my name. I have some good neighbors, and others that don't speak. I still have a good relationship with my kids who are grown. And now I look out my window and see the trees, not razor wire. I guess that's as good as it gets.
Take care and write with any questions
@wednesday_in_wonderland Im so sorry for what you are going through. My husband served 7 years and has been out for 8 years. We have definitely faced challenges, especially with work and housing. For my husband, finding work was quite difficult. He of course was able to get the temp jobs, but finding work in his field of study was a challenge. He went to school for broadcasting. He applied and was turned down so many times because of the background check. He finally decided that rather than waiting for the background check to come back he would disclose from the very start and when he did that he was hired on with a huge company and has been with them for 5 years. The job is in his field of study and he loves it. He also started his own business and that has grown over the years as well.
Housing - Because of his background check we have never been able to live together in a rental. We lived separately for a couple of years after he was released until he was stable in his work and we were financially able to get back on our feet. During that time he rented a room with several other guys in the same situation. Our solution to the dilemma was to purchase a home. My husband actually bought our most recent home on his own. I think a lot of people transitioning from prison believe that there is no way that they will ever find success and that is not true. It definitely is a slow, challenging process, but it definitely can be done. For us, continually moving forward and always thinking just a little bit out of the box is what has brought us to an almost "normal" feeling life.
For me, I had to find support within the sex offender community. Finding other wives and significant others that were experiencing the same things that I was has really helped me. I can't just talk to anyone about electronic monitering, DOC fees, or the registry. They just don't understand. So finding someone who does has been a game changer for me. I am considering starting a support group / community to connect others so that we can support each other. Being a wife of sex offender is not easy. Support is completely lacking and is something we desperately need.
Take one day at a time and please reach out. Im happy to listen 🙂