6/29/11

The Prison Wife's Tale- Frances Russo,RN,BSN,MA

Having a husband in prison is a stigma in our society. However it is possible to cope and get through this difficult time in your life. Let me help you along the way and give you a few tips.

I myself am a "Prison Wife." My husband has been in the prison system for the past 22 months. He was first in a minimum security unit, a place called "THE FARM, " with open doors, and no barbed wire. Now, he is in a half-way house, hoping to come back home the summer of 2005.

The "Prison Wife" is the forgotten one, as she waits at home for her husband. Our society takes care of the sick, the dyimg, the homeless, but the prisoner's wife is alone and forgotten.

She is faced with insurmountable problems....financial,emotional, psychological, social, stigmatization, health problems to face alone, children to take care of. She keeps the household "together," until her husband comes home. She works, pays the bills, pays the mortgage or rent, the car payments, insurances. She takes care of the children, repairs for the house, and just about everything else under the sun. Holidays and birthdays come and go. She is alone and lonely, most often faced with depression.

Most find it difficult to even face another day. She lives in hiding because she is afraid the neighbors may find out. So she lies and says he is on a "business" trip, to protect herself...after all, the neighbors would be shocked to know a criminal's wife lives next door to them. And, what does she tell the children? No one wants to let their child play with a criminal's child.

When her husband leaves for prison, the wife goes through a period of "grieving." She goes through the same "grieving process" that a widow goes through. The only difference is that the widow can eventually move on, while the prison wife cannot. The Prison Wife is a "wife," without a husband. She cannot go out and socialize, and it is difficult to make new friends, as she feels she is being "unfaithful" to her husband.

After a certain amount of time (months or even years), it is acceptable in our socity for the widow to step out, and start dating and even re-marry. The Prison Wife who is faithful and dedicated to her husband does not have this option....some women wait years for their man to return...10 , even 20 or more years.

There are close to 2 million prisoners in our country....that makes me wonder just how many wives and loved ones are left behind and forgotten. We think about the prisoner, but never, ever, think about those left behind.....the wives, the children, the mothers, the girlfriends, to name a few. Those loved ones, who did not commit a crime, except the crime of "loving a criminal." They did not commit a crime, and yet they are punished.

When their husband goes to prison, they are not notified by the prison system where their husbamnd is. I believe there should be some notification system in this country. The wife must sit and wait, until her husband is able to place a collect call to her.
There should be support systems in this country for prison wives. There should be follow-up programs for families of the incarcerated, to see how they are coping.

I will now give you some tips on how to get through this period of your life. It is from my own personal experience, and I hope it can help you...........after all, just remember, you are not alone..........there are so many of us out there experiencing the same feelings and emotions...the same problems.



"Ways To Cope"
1. Take one day at a time........Do not think too far in advance. Try to get "through one more day."

2. Plan small projects for each day, and try to reach a goal. For instance, I put all our photos in photo albums, during the first few weeks of my husband's incarceration. When that project was complete, I started cleaning out drawers and closets.

3. Organize tour life............I re-organized bills and mail, using folders and envelopes, and I kept logs, writing everything down.

4. Keep pictures of your husband around the house....I had pictures in every room. I even had one posted on the refridgerator door.

5. Join a church group. I started baking cakes for the monthly cake sale. I enjoyed doing it, and felt I was contributing something to society.

6. Get involved...acquire hobbies. Knitting, needle-point, gardening, writing, keeping a diary....anything. just do something, even if you force yourself to do it. As time goes on, it will get easier, and you will begin to enjoy it. I planted an "Angel Garden," outside in the yard, with angel statues, and flowers. I also began writing poetry, stories and letters to the editor. I also began writing a journal, which became a very important part of my life.

7. Keep in close contact with your husband....Accept phone calls (if you can afford it, as prison phone calls are extrememly expensive), send your husband letters, cards,magazine and newspaper clippings, and computer print-outs of thingd that interest him. Send him pictures (old and new)...Men in prison love to look at pictures from home. It helps them from becoming homesick. My husband has almost 100 pictures that he keeps in photo albums, and loves to share with the inmates, and show them our family and home. If I change something around in the household,or buy anything new, iI take a picture and send it to him, so he always feels connected to our home. I also tkae pictures of the pets, the garden, and the cars.

8. Keep a notebook near the phone at all times. Jot down things you want to discuss with your husband when he calls. Remember, those are 15 minute calls, and there is a lot to say in a short period of time, so get organized beforehand.

9. Cry when you have to, but also try to stay focused. Do not be torn apart by the prison system. You are still a person, and a wife...and you need to be supportive to your husband.

10. Try to stay healthy. Eat right, avoid junk food and alcohol. Exercise. Try walking. After all, you want to be physically fit when your husband comes home!

I hope this article will be of some help to the wives and loved ones of prisoners, as they await their loved one while he is in prison.



My name is Frances Russo,RN,BSN,MA. I am a retired Registered Nurse,who is now legally- blind , and does free-lance writing, as a hobby. I enjoy writing short stories for magazines and poetry. During my life, I enjoyed education, and international travel, having travelled to 28 countries. I've lived in Manhattan, California, Las Vegas, and New Jersey. My husband is currently within the prison system, and I enjoy writing a journal, which has become quite popular. It is called "Reflections Of A Prison Wife." Please visit my web-site!


Over 5800 have read my journal, leaving comments and identifying with it. They find strength in my journal. I have recently been interviewed by 2 newspapers, and my story will soon be published , along with photos (ASBURY PARK PRESS AND THE PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY). My journal is the basis of a book I am writing.

6/25/11

Ka Yang, Accused Of Microwaving Baby, Could Face Death Penalty

 Ka Yang, Accused Of Microwaving Baby, Could Face Death Penalty

As the story goes so far no one can tell why she did it other than a history of mental issues and seizures. She has other children, all under 7 years old, who were unharmed.

Police arrived to find the baby severely burnt other than her pj’s and her hair then later found a pacifier in the microwave.

She is claiming multiple personalities among other things but could very possibly face the death penalty because it is considered torture that resulted in murder.

6/22/11

Alyssa Bustamante's confession blocked and is allowed to be moved from jail

 Judge blocks Bustamante's confession and allows her to be moved from jail : News : ConnectMidMissouri.com

Americas darling, Alyssa Bustamente- the 15 year old murderess who killed 9 year old Elizabeth Olten in 2009 is now 17. She went to court Monday and the judge allowed her confession to be blocked from trial on the grounds that she was coerced.

A juvenile officer told her that she should tell the truth to her because she was a juvenile advocate and that juvenile facilities were for treatment only and not punishment.

The judge also ruled that Alyssa be moved to an undisclosed location for testing although what sort of testing no one knows. Prosecution was not told where she would be moved as it would be a violation of her civil rights and she would not be able to receive a fair trial because prosecution would be able to figure out the defenses angle if they know.

6/21/11

What is Probation Good For Anyway?

The probation service is a community corrections function of the federal judiciary system that serves the United States district courts. Under this system offenders are allowed to pay for their crimes using a term of probation instead of a jail sentence. They may also be released from jail early to spend the remainder of their sentence under probation. Probation can be under direct supervision by a probation officer or unsupervised. Probation is offered to both adult and juvenile offenders. The probation service is in place to accomplish a set of aims and objectives. These objectives are accountability, safety, rehabilitation and reintegration.


Accountability
The probation service strives to lead the probationer to become accountable for his or her actions. Often times an offender will blame family, friends and society for their crimes. Serving a probationary sentence helps him or her to realize that they must take responsibility for their own actions. This can be achieved through visits with a probation officer, fees and other disciplinary actions. Once a defendant learns that life circumstances are not a valid reason for criminal activity they begin to acknowledge their own accountability. This especially relevant in juvenile probation cases.

Safety
Safety is a main objective in the probationary services. Safety for both the probationer and the public at large. Subjecting a petty thief or small time criminal to jail or prison time is not beneficial. Serving a probationary sentence allows the defendant to remain out of jail and the dangers it presents. It also protects the community by imposing rules, regulations and curfews on the defendant that stops them from repeating their crimes and getting into further trouble. For instance, DUI (driving under the influence) offenders will be sentenced to a specific amount of time without being able to drive.

Rehabilitation
Probation serves as a rehabilitative resource through educational programs and the completion of the probation sentence itself. These programs can be provided for family members as well as the probationer. Rehab programs in the probation service can include drug programs, job training, life skills classes and any number of programs the court may impose during the sentencing process. Rehabilitation is achieved through these programs but also by completion of the probationary sentence. Probationers are informed that once they have been given a deferred sentence of probation and are able to stay out of jail, any instance of future criminal behavior may result in serving the entire jail sentence.

Reintegration
Successful reintegration an offender back into society as a productive, responsible citizen is the ultimate goal of the probation service. Successful completion of all other probationary goals must be achieved before reintegration can be considered complete. An offender must display accountability, rehabilitation and a desire to remain clear of any criminal activity to successfully be reintegrated into society.

6/19/11

Molly Jane Roe raped, killed boyfriend's 17-month-old baby girl, Maleeya Marie Murley: cops

 

Molly Jane Roe raped, killed boyfriend's 17-month-old baby girl, Maleeya Marie Murley: cops

This is a breaking news story about Molly Jane Roe who apparently raped and then threw her boyfriends daughter causing brain damage that resulted in death.

This only happened the other day and so details are still vague but I cannot believe this case. I will be interested to see what her defense is. I wonder if she will deny the sexual abuse and perhaps put the blame on the baby’s father.

6/18/11

I live way far out in the country. I'm talking at least 12 miles from a grocery store. I have problems getting Internet service that is reliable, cheap and available. I'm constantly searching for the best deal, one at least that works out here. I found Wireless Internet Service which has helped quite a bit.

Earlier this year we were bombarded with storms that knocked out power all over the area and turned us into a bona fide natural disaster area. Since I work from home and also attend some classes on line this was doubly devastating to me. I had to find some info and find it quick.

The FAQ page of the Wireless Internet site was super helpful, letting me know all the answers to my wireless Internet questions in one easy reference-able page. There are lots of pages across the web that claim to be helpful in finding the information you need but I was genuinely helped out by the information here.

6/12/11

Iraq Veteran Matthew Perkins Facing Death Penalty | Gather

 Iraq Veteran Matthew Perkins Facing Death Penalty | Gather

I went to court on the 8th to see Matthew. It was harrowing and sad. I wasn't allowed in at first because Id gotten there to early. I had to sit in the restroom and wait for the bailiff's to begin allowing people in.

I sat in the very front row and hoped that when they brought him in he recognized me from the pictures I've sent him. He was very close to the head of the docket and came in quietly.

The judge announced his charges of capital murder. His public defender expressed his desire to post pone the next hearing until he could get his motions in order and said that he would have many, many motions to file.

Matthew was a bigger man than I imagined. Very thick but not fat. Stocky with many tattoos. His army background was apparent in his proud stance, build and tattoos.

He was the recruiter who had a hand in my sons joining the Army and he lived close to me when he murdered his girlfriend. I felt a pull toward this case that I cant explain.

I don't understand how so many people have turned their back on him when he fought for this country. He was unwavering in his support of America and yet the country has turned their back on him. Its devastating.

If only the army would have given him the help he asked for. If only someone would have listened to him when he said he felt wrong inside. Stephanie and her children would be living.

I introduced myself to his family on the way out of the courtroom. They were hesitant and a bit rude but I understand why. I tried to explain that I just don't believe in the death penalty and that Matthew recruited my son. I feel some sort of dedication to him. I feel a need to support him.

I do not believe he will get the death penalty. PTSD should not be a death sentence in itself and the family of the victims does not wish to see it proceed.

I can only hope that the world and the Army will see that this is not your average murder case.  Help this man.

6/3/11

Good News for Chelsea Richardson

 

Lawyer Claims Misconduct, Wants Woman Off Texas Death Row « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

This has been a long time coming but Chelsea Richardson’s lawyer has finally brought to light the 9 points of error during her trial, including that the prosecutor withheld vital information that showed Stephanie Toledano was the mastermind and actual murderer in the case.

This will probably only result in a life sentence for Chelsea but she certainly deserves a chance at parole considering her age at the time of the crime and the fact that she was coerced into the actions that caused the deaths of her boyfriends parents.

Natasha Cornett