Chapter 7

Help Family Adjust

At some point your family is going to have to live without you.  There are many, many things you do for them without anyone realizing it.  How well is your family prepared to take over your duties?

Important information Notebook

Start by creating a 3-ring binder notebook to hold important information.  It needs to be flexible so you can add categories.

This chapter will cover four categories, contact information, account numbers and passwords, emergency action plan, and what if… list.  Feel free to add more categories t fit your particular needs.

This notebook should be kept in an accessible yet safe place.  It is not advised to write login information or sensitive information in this manual as you may lend this manual to someone.

Contact Information

Start your notebook with contact phone number of services, family and friends. Use Appendix C as a sample template.  You can easily create your own customized version.

The first entry should be the address and emergency numbers where you will be housed include your registration number.

Appendix A has a listing of BOP Facilities with street addresses and telephone numbers.  BOP.Gov has a current list as well.



Account Numbers and Passwords

Lost financial website passwords are a real hassle.  Your family will have to jump through more hoops than a circus poodle to recover a forgotten or unknown password.  After a very short period in prison you will probably not remember them either.

Financial account numbers and insurance policies should be kept in a central place.  Credit/Debit card numbers and the bank telephone number (Which is printed on the back) should also be on this list.

Emergency Action Plan

What should your family do if someone close to you dies?  Who takes care of your children if their guardian is incapacitated? Where dose your family go if the house catches fire?

The next category is to write an emergency action plan including when and how to contact you ensure your family is actively involved in the process. There is no substitute for a well written and rehearsed reaction to tragedy.

As many family and friends as possible should have a card with procedures for contacting you in case of emergency.

When they call the facility number they are not going to be able to speak to you directly,  They are going to get someone in the office who may know nothing about you.  Make sure your registration number is clearly printed.

They should calmly explain to the BOP staff the nature of the emergency and multiple contract persons with phone numbers.  They should also email you if you have it set up (see trulines in Chapter XX).

Family and friends should know that it can be several hours before you will be notified and you’ll be able to call back.

Explain going to the prison will do not good.  Unless it is during visiting hours the BOP will not let your family see or talk to you.  There are specific procedures that must be followed.

What If… List

The next category is a “What If… “List.  There are regular tasks that may take written instructions like setting the timer on the DVD player or microwave after a power outage.

As you go through your daily routine keep a journal of what you do when something goes awry. Do not assume your family knows what to do.  Appendix D has some ideas to get you started.

It is a good idea to keep product instruction manuals with this notebook.

Delegate Chores

Now is a great time for children to get involved by taking over some of your chores. Explain to them how important it is for them to step up in your absence.

Step Back, Not Away

If you normally take care of the laundry, show others how to do it.  Then help them with the routine.  Don’t sit back and do nothing, at the same time don’t do it all while they watch.

Eventually they should be in charge and you’re just their little helper.  Doing chores together will strengthen bonds.


In order to minimize your absence family members should get into new routines.  Each family member should have written goals and deadlines.  Setting goals in writing gives it more meaning.

Even young children should set their own goals and make plans to attain them.  Be involved with their goals and accomplishments.  This gives you something exciting to talk about.

Keep family and friends in though with each other.

Ask friends and family to stay in touch with each other.  Call, write, or email them to get together.  This will keep them thinking and talking about you in a positive light.


Chapter 6

Chapter 8

Table of Contents

Glossary Terms