Don’t call us, we’ll call you

October 11, 2008

19 July–Update on my second family member interview

Filed under: Incarceration research — Tags: , , — llcall @ 10:03 pm

Just two days after her interview, I’m back at the jail doing a follow-up with her estranged husband. When we ask the same questions about his family relationships that we asked in the first interview, his tone has really changed. During the first interview, he acknowledges how awful he has acted when he uses, but explains that he hopes to stay clean when he’s released so he can win his wife back. Now, three weeks later, he says he has no family anymore. They don’t care about him. They don’t respond to his letters. They don’t think about him anymore. It’s hard to listen to him say these things, knowing that nothing could be farther from the truth. He is loved, and in fact, they find it difficult to keep from thinking about him. But I can’t tell him that.

It’s a strange thing to know family members’ inner feelings that they can’t or don’t know how to share with each other. She can’t tell him how much power he still has in her life. Self-preservation…I can understand that. And in his lonely cell, he can’t understand how she could still care and not do something, anything. I can understand that too.

And what do I take away from watching so much heartache and destruction right before my eyes? Drugs and alcohol ruin lives. Incarceration traps so many people, not just the captive. There is not, and maybe never will be, anything simple about their lives.



  1. Oh man! Their story kills me–it is so heart-breaking. I hope they can all find some healing someday soon.

    Comment by Jenn — October 21, 2008 @ 12:41 am

  2. These are universal feelings… the ones on both sides of the story. If it is not a comfort, it is a reminder, that there are so many people experiencing this sort of pain. The love, that is betrayed, but is still love despite it…

    Comment by Robin-Elise — October 26, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

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