People often wonder how to be supportive of someone that’s incarcerated. What would you say to them?
I think staying in contact with someone that's incarcerated is important. I understand that sometimes phone calls can be expensive, but I would recommend some type of contact, whether by JPay or by regular mail, because that contact is a big help. Please make contact at least once a week.
What tips do you have for families and friends of people in prison?
Try to find something that will keep you sane in a world that is insane. Maybe that's sports, maybe that's jogging. Just something, so you can keep your mind together.
How about people who are new to the prison system? What piece of advice would you give them?
Do not give up, even when there's moments that feel like there's never going to be an end. Hang on!
Family members often worry when they don’t hear from their incarcerated loved ones. What are your thoughts on that?
We worry, too. Being in here, you gotta think, we always think the worst happened. I wouldn't know how to cope as a family member. I guess you could call the prison to verify that your loved one is ok.
Is it important for families and friends to support their loved ones in prison financially?
I wouldn't say that it is important, but I would recommend some things. The things I would recommend are a clothes box, and the essentials, if possible. What I mean by "the essentials" is music, a television (if the state allows it, because I know some states don't allow televisions). The television is something that keeps you grounded. It's something to look forward to. And music is the most essential thing that you can ever give to someone incarcerated. It is the one thing that drowns out all the noise and all the bull crap. Other things that are important are a fan, and in some prisons you also gotta have a blanket. In the older prisons -like Lebanon-...in the winter time...it's cold. Very, very cold. Here in Ohio, the average state pay is 17 dollars a month. It's not enough. Not when commissary prices are so high.
How do your loved ones support you and how do you support them?
Well, I can say that I only have two individuals who truly support me. One is my fiancee, Stefanie, and one is my aunt. I really can't help them financially. They support me financially. But I would like to think that I support them by providing encouraging words and by being there for them.
Do you enjoy making new friends, and, if so, how can people reach out to you?
Yes, I enjoy making new friends. They can reach out to me at my address [at the bottom of this website] or by JPay.
Any final advice for people who are dealing with the criminal justice system?
Try your best to encourage your loved ones that are incarcerated to keep their heads up as much as possible. Show them that you love them and make sure they know that you're there for them.