Supporting Others Through Imprisonment

Sometimes we have friends, coworkers or group members who are convicted of a crime or have loved ones serving time in jail.

So, how do we C.A.R.E. for our friends, coworkers, and group members who are dealing with a jail sentence or the incarceration of someone they love?


CRISIS – Understanding the Stress of Imprisonment

Incarceration of a loved one causes a lot of emotional, mental, physical, financial and relational stress.

Separation from loved ones serving time in jail and the stress caused by the separation can have long-lasting ripple effects on everyone affected, personally and publicly, not to mention the potential stress and trauma experienced prior to incarceration.

Understand that individuals and their families experiencing the heartbreak of incarceration deal with a heightened sense of these emotions on a daily basis:

    1. Guilt
    2. Anger
    3. Loneliness
    4. Resentment
    5. Embarrassment

APPLICATIONPractical Suggestions for Encouragement

LOOK- Realize your group member might be stressed about this situation but too embarrassed to talk about it. They are most likely concerned about:

    • Public perception
    • Personal loss and the loneliness of separation
    • Impact on the rest of the family, particularly children
    • Finances and job security
    • Feelings of confusion, anger or betrayal regarding the conviction

ASK – Sometimes our group members need our support even when they try to appear strong and independent. So here are a few questions you can ask them:

    • Is there anything I can do to support you and your family?
    • What do you need most right now?
    • How can I help you with what you have going on this week?

LISTEN – Be available just to listen to your group member talk about the situation. Avoid sharing your own take on the situation.

REFERENCEWhat Does the Bible Say About Work and Stress?

ENGAGENext Steps For Engaging Your Coworker or Group Member

OFFER empathy and concern, and DON’T JUDGE – if your group member is dealing with a loved one in jail, give some grace. Recognize that your group member is not the one convicted of a crime; try to understand how hard it may be for them to be in this situation too.

CONNECT with them in supportive ways such as a sending a card, leaving notes, or giving small gifts.

SHARE the link to listen to Hoboken Grace Online or a copy of What on Earth Am I Here For? book as a way to encourage them during this time.

SUGGEST Hoboken Grace’s Care Team if they need help, other resources, support and care.

PRAY for them and ask God to give you opportunities to share his love with your friend, family, coworker or group member going through this new season.


Return to Care Guides


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


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