While reading the Trauma Informed Oregon newsletter I came across Shannon's story - so powerful! Please read ...
From Shannon Turner, MSW, LCSW
At the time of writing this blog, there are two million, two hundred-twenty thousand, three hundred adults currently incarcerated in the US. In thirty-five states analyzed in a study, one in every ten inmates has served at least ten years in prison. My brother is one of the over two million inmates currently incarcerated in the US.
Outside prison walls are the families of inmates, mothers, fathers, partners, siblings, cousins, grandparents, and children. Families often have histories of multiple family members incarcerated over generations and carry the tension, shame, trauma, and stigma with them throughout life.
The majority of prisons maintain some form of a visitation program. What visitation looks like in each prison depends on the state, state policy, crime committed, and security level of the institution. The institution where my brother resides is in one of three states that allows for extended family visits. The state governor recently amended the policy to include “lifers” serving time with and without the possibility of parole depending on their crime. This amendment in policy presented my brother and me with an opportunity we had only dreamt about in the past. We applied for our first extended visit and it became reality shortly thereafter.
What Does Visitation Look Like?
I obsess over a list sent to me of what to bring and not to bring. I recite the packaging rules, measure my new duffel bag, and take great pleasure in purchasing toiletries more expensive than my usual purchases. I cannot wait to see his face light up at the smell of ocean breeze body wash and honeycomb shampoo. I spend hours carefully spending the maximum sum on our food and meals I order through an approved vendor. I daydream about the house on the prison grounds and our time together where we will sit outside the house, share food, and freely talk without the intense observation of guards.
The amount of logistical information prison staff provide me is endless but there are no trauma informed and/or support resources. I am about to walk into a situation I have no experience with. I have the perfect size duffel bag. I have my identification. I have a board game that excludes dice and play money.
The story continues - please click HERE to read the full article.