Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Families of Prisoners

BY PATRICIA STANLEY 

I have been pigeon-holed in the 'families of prisoners' category quite a few times. 
My husband has been in prison three time. We have been married for 9 years.
The first time he went to prison I was a wreck. Our daughter was 3 years old at the time.
The second time she was 7 years old when her dad went to prison and this time round she is 13. 
I despised being classed as a group of people known as families of prisoners. The person to blame is my husband but then I stare at the bigger picture and feel that I too am equally to blame for putting my daughter through a roller coaster of emotions. The second time he went to prison should have been my last sentence.. and our daughters. 
Yes families of prisoners have a rough ride but at some point it becomes unhealthy to keep strapping yourself on to a big dipper that does not know when to stop. 
The authorities encourage families of prisoners to stay in touch with the prisoner. I understand this completely but the authorities need to listen hard because whilst staying in touch and visiting benefits both parties; the staying in touch and visiting can have a profound emotional impact on a child's mental health, especially a child whose dad is a prolific offender and by being a prolific offender does not have his families best interests at heart. At some point; when do the offenders stop and realise that this whole prison lark is taking its toll on their families? 
My daughter asked me the other day; "Mum; does my dad prefer being in prison than at home with us"? 
Families of prisoners have the roughest ride. It is us that has to clean up the mess!