Effects of incarceration
on prisoners’ families
Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl compiled the following lists from its actual experience, over a 10-year span, with prisoners’ families. They are presented here without any particular order.
Effects on prisoners’ families in general:
- Incarceration is experienced as if some member of the family died
- The roles within the family change
- Personal interest in the members of the same family increases
- Other members of the extended family begin to get involved in the life of the nuclear family
- Free time diminishes (due to new and added commitments)
- The children (of an incarcerated parent) end up with no role-figures (if this, incidentally, is not for the better)
- The children (of an incarcerated parent) show signs of instability
- The children (of an incarcerated parent) show a lack of ethics in their sexual behaviour (and sometimes desire to leave the home early)
- The children (of an incarcerated parent) show symptoms of problematic behaviour, such as:
- Act like little children;
- Do things that children much younger do (such as wetting their bed, sucking their thumb, etc.);
- Argue a lot;
- Clink to the parent at home (in such a way that they try not to loose him/her from sight, due to the fear of not seeing him/her again);
- Began to be aggressive;
- Cause trouble more frequently;
- Fear being with people they do not know very well; and
- Become restless.
- Mothers (of incarcerated sons or daughters) feel cheated or robbed of their children.
- Mothers (of incarcerated sons or daughters) experience great fear (or anxiety) from what might happen to their kids in goal (conscious that the prisons change people, generally for the worse)
- Increase in religious faith (and in God)
- Members of the extended family consider support given to the prisoner (from the nuclear family) as irrational or ridiculous
Effects on interpersonal relationships:
- Parents (of incarcerated sons or daughters) begin to idealise their incarcerated kids (due to the fact of their separation)
- Love between the non-incarcerated members and the person in goal increases
- Increase in the desire that the familiar love with the prisoner does not ever come to an end
- The non-incarcerated members develop a sense of guilt, as if they had some responsibility in the crime of their relative (or as if they could have done something to avoid the crime, and did not)
- They also sometimes develop a sense of shyness before their relative- prisoner
- They experience a sense of shame while in public due to their blood-relation to a prisoner
- They experience a conflict of sentiments (anger/mercy; hate/love) towards others, especially their incarcerated relative
- They find some difficulty during visits to their incarcerated relative, in such a way that they mentally plan the meeting, and consciously decide beforehand what to mention to him/her and what to pass by in silence
Effects on the finances of prisoners’ families:
- A salary is lost (if the incarcerated part is a parent)
- A considerable increase in expenses due to things that will have to be taken constantly to the prisons
- Less pocket-money for sons and daughters
- Less spending-money for the family
- Payment of exuberant fees to lawyers
- Sometimes the family has to pay also the fines imposed by the courts on their incarcerated relative (so s/he would not do extra periods in goal)
Effects on the relationship of prisoners’ families with institutions:
- Parents (of incarcerated sons and daughters) feel frustrated due to their sense of powerlessness before the destiny of their kids
- The members of the family avoid talking about the incarceration of their relative due to the fear of bad effects — goal, incarceration, and the like, become taboo subjects
- The day, and the moment itself, of the declaration of the prison sentence of their relative becomes a trauma for the close relations of the sentenced
- The family feels completely lost in the judicial bureaucratic system
- The family feels disappointed with the system
- The family looses heart when they realise that their sons and daughters are in the hands of an unfeeling institution or system, such as the courts and the prisons
- The children (of incarcerated parents) begin to show lack of respect towards any authority
- The children (of incarcerated parents) show signs of academic proficiency, especially if they are of a young (primary-level) stage
Social effects on prisoners’ families:
- The family is discussed in public
- A sense of shame
- A feeling that the members of the family are somehow guilt too of the crime committed
- A possibility that fear of the “criminal” is also extended to the whole family
- A sense of isolation from neighbours (which, though real, may not be altogether realistic) due to the fact that the family of a prisoner is considered a degradation for the neighbourhood
- Isolation of the children (of incarcerated parents) due to the fact that they are considered unworthy of other “normal” children
- The children (of incarcerated parents) begin to show some anti-social behaviour
- Sometimes other members of the community consider support given to the prisoner (from his/her nuclear family) as irrational or ridiculous
Effetti ta’ l-inkarcerazzjoni
fuq il-familja tal-prigunier
Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl ghamlet din il-gabra mill-esperjenza taghha, twil mal-10 snin, mal-familji tal-prigunieri. Il-gabra hija pprezentata hawnhekk minghajr xi ordni partikulari.
Effetti fuq il-familja b’mod generali
- Il-karcerazzjoni titqies bhallikieku miet xi hadd fil-familja.
- Jinbidlu r-rwoli tal-membri tal-familja.
- Jizdiet l-istress fil-membri tal-familja.
- Fil-hajja tal-familja jibdew jigu nvoluti wkoll membri ohra mill-familja estiza.
- Jonqos il-hin liberu (minhabba impenji godda u zejda).
- L-ulied (ta’ xi genitur inkarcerat) jisfaw minghajr role-figures (sakemm ma jkunx ahjar ghalihom).
- L-ulied (ta’ xi genitur inkarcerat) juru nuqqas ta’ stabbiltà.
- L-ulied (ta’ xi genitur inkarcerat) juru laxkezza fl-etika sesswali taghhom (u xi kultant xewqa ta’ tluq kmieni mid-dar).
- L-ulied (ta’ xi genitur inkarcerat) juru sintomi ta’ agir problematiku, bhal: jagixxu b’mod immatur; jaghmlu affarijiet li generalment jaghmlu tfal izghar minnhom (jaghmlu f’soddtuhom, jerdghu subghajhom, u l-bqija); jarguentaw hafna; jiddendlu mal-genitur mhux inkarcerat (b’mod li ma jafdax in-nuqqas taghha/tieghu); isiru aggressivi; joholqu l-inkwiet ta’ spiss; jibzghu joqghodu ma’ nies li ma jafuhomx sew; u ma jkollhom kwiet imkien.
- Ommijiet (ta’ wlied inkarcerati) jhossuhom cheated jew misruqaminnuliedhom.
- Ommijiet (ta’ wlied inkarcerati) jhossu bizgha (jew anzjetà) akbar fuq dak li se jsirminnuliedhom (konxji hafna li l-habs jibdel in-nies: ghall-ahjar? ghall-aghar?).
- Zieda fil-fidi (u f’Alla).
- Appogg lill-habsi mill-parti mhux inkarcerata titqies irrazzjonali jew redikolaminnmembri ohra tal-familja estiza.
Effetti fuq ir-relazzjonijiet interpersonali
- Il-genituri (ta’ wlied inkarcerati) jibdew jidealizzaw lil uliedhom (minhabba li jkunu ’l boghod minnhom).
- Tikber l-imhabba bejn il-parti mhux inkarcerata u l-habsi.
- Tikber ir-rieda li r-rabta (familjari, ta’ mhabba) mal-habsi tibqa’ shiha (u ma tispiccax).
- Sens li l-parti mhux inkarcerata ghandha xi sehem fil-htija u r-responsabbiltà tar-reat tal-habsi.
- Sens ta’ misthija tal-parti mhux inkarcerata quddiem il-habsi.
- Sens ta’ htija minhabba semplici assocjazzjoni (familjari) mal-habsi.
- Konflitt ta’ sentimenti (rabja/hniena; mibgheda/imhabba).
- Diffikultà fil-laqghat mal-habsi: il-laqgha mieghu tigi mentalment ippjanata; isiru decizjonijiet konxji ta’ x’ghandu jinghad lilu jew le.
Effetti fuq il-finanzi tal-familja
- Tintilef paga (jekk genitur).
- Zieda konsiderevoli ta’ spejjez ghall-habs.
- Anqas flus ghall-ulied.
- Hlasijiet kbar ghall-avukati.
Effetti fuq ir-relazzjoni tal-familja ma’ l-istituzzjonijiet
- Il-genituri (ta’ wlied inkarcerati) jhossu frustrazzjoni gej mis-sens ta’ powerlessness quddiem id-destin ta’ wliedhom.
- Il-membri tal-familja jibzghu jitkellmu dwar l-inkarcerazzjoni minhabba bizgha ta’ effetti hziena (il-habs, l-inkarcerazzjoni, jsiru taboo subjects).
- Il-jum, u l-mument innifsu, tal-ghoti tas-sentenza johloq trawma fil-genitur/mara/ragel ta’ l-issentenjat.
- Il-familja thossha mitlufa fis-sistema burokratika.
- Il-familja thossha ddizappuntata mis-sistema.
- Il-familja thossha taqa’ qalbha meta l-ulied jaqghu f’idejn istituzzjoni/sistema bierda.
- L-ulied jibdew juru nuqqas ta’ rispett lejn kull awtorità.
- L-ulied ikollhom nuqqas ta’ success akkademiku.
Effetti socjali tal-familja
- Il-familja tibda tigi diskussa fil-pubbliku.
- Sens ta’ misthija
- Sens li l-membri tal-familja huma hatja wkoll.
- Periklu kbir li l-bizgha mill-’kriminal’ tiga estiza wkoll ghall-familja kollha.
- Sens ta’ izolament mill-girien (li, ghalkemm reali, jista’ ma jkunx realistiku) minhabba li l-familja tal-habsi titqies degradazzjoni tal-hâra (tan-neighbourhood).
- Izolament ta’ l-ulied tal-habsi minhabba li ma jixirqux (unworthy) li t-tfal jaghmulha maghhom.
- L-ulied jibdew juru attitudnijiet anti-socjali.
- Appogg lill-habsi mill-parti mhux inkarcerata titqies irrazzjonali jew redikolaminnhaddiehor.