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Coping with the reality of prison

partner in prison

Jenna sat on the edge of her bed, clutching her phone with sweaty palms. She glanced at the clock on her nightstand: 5:55 PM. Five more minutes until the call. Her heart raced as she thought about hearing Michael’s voice again. It had been two weeks since his last call, and she missed him terribly.

At exactly 6:00 PM, her phone rang. She answered immediately.


“Hey, Jenna,” echoed the sound of Michael’s voice, warm and familiar despite the static.

“Michael! How I miss the sounds of your voice. How are you?”

“I’m doing okay. Just taking it one day at a time. How about you?”

Jenna took a deep breath, fighting back tears. “I’m managing. Work is busy, and I’ve been spending a lot of time with Mom and Dad. They miss you too, you know.”


There was a pause on the other end of the line. “I miss them. I miss you all so much.”

“I know. We miss you too,” Jenna said softly.

hard conversation on the phone


The two talked about small things, the weather, shared a funny story from Jenna’s workplace, and the latest book she was reading. Jenna tried to keep the conversation light, but she could hear the weight in Michael’s voice. She knew he was trying to stay strong for her, just as she was trying to stay strong for him.

“Have you been able to read the books I sent you?” Jenna asked, hoping to shift the topic to something positive.

“Yeah, I started the mystery novel. It’s really good, helps pass the time.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Jenna said, smiling despite herself. “I’ll send more when I can.”

“Thanks, Jenna. I appreciate it.”

There was another pause, longer this time. Jenna knew their time was running out. She hated these pauses, knowing they meant their precious minutes were slipping away.


“Listen, Jenna,” Michael said quietly, “I want you to know how much your support means to me. These calls, the letters, the books… they keep me going.”

“I know, Michael. And we’re all here for you, no matter what. Just keep holding on, okay?”


“I will. And you too. Stay strong for me.”

“I will,” Jenna promised, her voice trembling. “I love you, Michael.”

“I love you too, Jenna. Take care.”

The line went dead, and Jenna sat there for a moment, staring at her phone. She wiped away a tear, taking a deep breath. These calls were hard, but they were a lifeline, a connection to the man she loved. She would wait for the next call, holding onto the hope that one day, they wouldn’t need these calls anymore. Until then, she would stay strong, for both of them.


For the over two million families who have a loved one in prison, this is their reality. The barriers that they encounter every day, the love and support of friends and family will be their lifeline. Despite the perceive and real things that make it hard for families to stay connected, it is easier than ever to keep in contact with their loved one who is incarcerated. We identified a few things to help you as to call them. For more ways to stay connected, read this article

Phone call etiquette in prison involves several key points to ensure respectful and effective communication:

  1. Respect Time Limits: Calls are usually limited in duration. Be concise and focused to make the most of the time.
  2. Be Mindful of Rules: Each facility has specific rules regarding phone calls. Familiarize yourself with these rules and adhere to them.
  3. Use Appropriate Language: Avoid using profanity or discussing illegal activities, as calls are often monitored.
  4. Maintain Positivity: Try to keep the conversation positive and supportive. This can be a crucial lifeline for the incarcerated individual.
  5. Avoid Sensitive Topics: Discussing escape plans, contraband, or other prohibited topics can lead to serious consequences.
  6. Respect Privacy: Understand that calls might be monitored and recorded. Avoid sharing sensitive personal information.
  7. Be Patient and Understanding: The incarcerated person may have limited access to phones and may not always be able to call at the most convenient times.
  8. Express Support: Offering emotional support can be very meaningful. Listen actively and offer words of encouragement.
  9. Prepare Ahead: If there are important topics to discuss, plan ahead to ensure you cover everything within the time limit.
  10. Follow Up in Writing: If the call gets cut off or there is more to discuss, consider following up with a letter.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your phone calls are effective and respectful for both parties involved.

We are rooting for you!