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How to navigate transferring prisons

supporting loved one moving to another prison

The memories of being transferred from one prison to another still haunt me. The fear that consumed not only me, but every man on that bus, was suffocating. With my hands shackled to the man next to me, I could only stare out the window and pray for everything to be okay. Even now, thinking back on my first transfer from county jail to the reception center makes me sick to my stomach. No one can truly prepare you for an experience like this. In an instant, all sense of dignity is taken away. You feel like a shell of a man, stripped of your masculinity. 

From that moment on, every decision is made for you. Every step is dictated by someone else. Being chained up with shackles around my ankles, connected to the handcuffs on my wrists, was a horrific feeling that words cannot capture. Anyone who says being transferred from one prison to another is no big deal is lying. Change is scary for everyone, no matter how many times you’ve experienced it before. It’s stepping into the unknown, where anything can happen. Here are a few ways to navigate the challenge of relocating to another prison.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, fear, anger, or sadness. Acknowledge and accept these feelings as a natural response to change and uncertainty.

Stay Informed

Seek information about the transfer process, including the reason for the transfer, the timeline, and any logistical details. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the unknown.

 

Maintain Communication

Stay in touch with loved ones, friends, or support networks before, during, and after the transfer. Sharing your feelings and concerns with trusted individuals can provide emotional support and reassurance.

phone calls

 

Focus on Self-Care

Prioritize self-care practices to manage stress and maintain your well-being during the transition. This may include getting enough rest, eating nutritious meals, exercising, practicing relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing or meditation), and engaging in activities you enjoy.

Stay Organized

Organize your belongings and important documents before the transfer to ensure a smooth transition. Keep essential items easily accessible, such as identification, legal documents, and personal hygiene products.

Stay Positive

Try to maintain a positive outlook and focus on the opportunities for a fresh start or new beginnings at the new facility. Remind yourself that the transfer is temporary and that you have the resilience to adapt to new environments.

Seek Support

Take advantage of support services available within the prison system, such as counseling, support groups, or chaplaincy services. These resources can provide guidance, encouragement, and coping strategies tailored to your needs.

Set Goals

Establish realistic goals for yourself during the transition period, whether it’s maintaining a routine, learning new skills, or connecting with fellow inmates. Having goals can give you a sense of purpose and motivation.

Follow Rules and Procedures

Cooperate with prison staff and follow the rules and procedures of the new facility. Adhering to guidelines can help facilitate a smoother transition and avoid unnecessary conflicts or disciplinary actions.

Stay Resilient

Remember, you have overcome many challenges to get to this point. You must trust you have the strength to persevere through more difficult times. In order to navigate this transition with courage and determination, draw on your support network and make every effort to not take it personal.

The reality is there are things that are out of your control. But at the end of the day, the thing you can control most is how you respond to adversity. By implementing these coping strategies, you can better manage the transition from one prison to another and adapt to your new environment with resilience and strength.

Always remember, we are Rooting for you!

Ron Tijerina, Co-Founder of TYRO

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