Life can be hard for you on the outside. I think most inmates understand that but no matter how hard it is, it can never be as hard as life on the inside.
Hopefully being on the outside you will have friends to get you through the man's sentence and they usually are men that are on the inside! This page is looking at what you can do on the outside for your man on the inside. Maybe we should start with what not to do.
Do not write to the inmate about problems you have over which he can have no control, has no knowledge, can do nothing about. All that can happen is he will worry and be concerned. In extreme cases it could end up with him committing suicide. If you have problems find someone to help who can really help you, or can stand a good chance of doing so.
You are entitled to three visits each month if your inmate is on Standard Regime. Help can be provided for traveling expenses and you should ask by telephoning the Prison or talk to the Probation Officer. To a Prisoner these visits are a life line. Do not be tempted to use them to smuggle drugs or anything else into the prison. If you are lucky only the inmate will be punished, if you are unlucky you could find yourself in Prison.
You will be searched. This might just be a rub down but it could be a full strip body and internal search. Similar searches apply to children. More open prisons have less strict search regimes but you are still liable to be searched.
You might think that giving your inmate a small gift would be allowed. It will NOT be allowed so don't try to pass anything over, not even a newspaper.
Another life line is the letter and get your friends to write. These are a welcome break from the monotony of prison life. Even if you have nothing to say they are great. One 10 page letter I received was complete and utter rubbish - it was just as though I was sitting next to the rambling old dear. It was great.
You cannot phone in but do try to be there at the times your inmate normally phones. Believe me it is not much fun talking to an answering machine! Be cheerful.
In the months leading up to release some prisoners will be entitled to days out or home visits. Do ensure that your prisoner goes back on time and sober, otherwise you may not see him again for a long time.