Interesting question. When I went into federal prison, I was also 46 and was looking at 8 years. I'd never been locked up before and I was very depressed. The first couple of months were the hardest. To me, prison is like the movie Groundhog Day, where every day you wake up and it's the same as the day before. You have to figure out how to get into a routine so that the days will pass.
My wife visited me as often as she could. I wrote letters, talked on the phone and tried to somehow stay connected to the outside world. But the feeling that you have no control over anything in your life, was very overwhelming. It was like I was dead and watching my loved ones go about their life, I could only hear about it and it was torturous.
Eventually, people stop writing, stop visiting and you find out that you have to do this time alone. At 19 months, my wife left me and i had to really become introspective. I had to address my faults and fears. It made me a better person but i had to endure the emotional pain first. I can say that prison made me face my problems and I came out better than ever. We reconciled and are living happily ever after :).
You are going to face some of these same issues. He will go through the emotional roller coaster - if you miss a call, he will think you're running around on him. Be prepared, he has all day to think - you do harmless things all day in your routine, but they don't seem that way to him. This is a tough road ahead, but if you are determined to stick it out... InmateAid will help you immensely.
Not to sound like a commercial but if he's gonna be in for 10 years, your phone bill is going to be an issue (unless money is no object). In federal he gets 300 minutes - period (400 during holidays) - there is no such thing as unlimited. A local line call is 6 cents a minute, all others are .21 cents minute. Get a local line for only $8.95, the lowest in the market and if you are going to talk, this is the only way to plan ahead. If you get the line for a year, it's $4.95/mo-prepaid. The savings pay for the small fee.
Thank you for trying AMP!
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