Supporting Your Loved Ones

Going to Prison for the First Time

When a family member goes to prison for the first time it is a scary time for him or her and their family. There are so many questions and you don’t know whom to ask. A TIFA chapter meeting can provide the answers and support that is needed ESPECIALLY during the first year. We are here in the beginning of this journey to get you through, during the years to help with the problems and then to help you in the end with parole and reentry. Here are a few suggested readings to get you started.

Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates  By Jorge Antonio Renaud (This book can be purchased on Amazon.)

Jorge Renaud is an ex-offender who discusses living quarters, food, and clothing, along with how prisoners handle money, mail, visits, and phone calls. He explores the issues of drugs, racism, gangs, and violence as well as what an inmate can learn about his parole, custody levels, and how to handle emergencies. What opportunities are available for education? What is the official policy for discipline? What is a lockdown? These questions and many others are answered in his one-of-a-kind guide. A few things have changed since he wrote the book but much is still the same.

Two other readings that can be found on-line.

Going to Prison in Texas (Habern 2014)

How to Survive Prison (ex-con 2007) – send money and EMAIL! to your loved one

JPay is a fast and convenient way to transfer money to your loved ones. Funds can be sent to their commissary account through the Inmate Trust Fund in Huntsville, preferably with one of the deposit forms that can be picked up at the unit. However, if you are sending the same amount every month, you may want to take advantage of the bank draft form available from the Inmate Trust Fund. The benefit is that you don’t have to purchase a money order and then remember to get it in the mail each month. And, it goes without saying, that the loved one appreciates knowing that there is a set amount in his/her commissary account.

NOTE: JPay fees have gone up considerably since we first listed them here. It is much better to get the trust fund deposit slips and send one with a money order. There is no fee applied when you make deposits this way.

It is now possible to send your loved one an email through JPay. Unless you are sending a long letter, it will usually cost you only the amount of a stamp ($0.44). You will know how much it will cost before you hit send. You just buy “stamps” on the JPay website. It is easy, and your message will usually get there faster via JPay email than if you send it through the post office.

Transportation to some TDCJ units:

Texas Inmate Express Services (TIES) 214-330-8400

LJ Enterprises 773-259-2345

Hospitality Houses

Hospitality Houses