Welcome to our new weekly series, Friday Q&A. Each week our attorneys
will respond to a question selected from the many received by direct and
online submission. Have a question you want answered or topic you want
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My husband was convicted at trial and sentenced to five years in prison.
How can I continue to be there for him once he is in prison?
ANSWER: Once your husband has been sentenced to a prison term, he will be sent to the
Correction Reception Center where he will stay for a period of time before receiving a “home
institution,” or where he will be housed for the term of his sentence.
You can read more about the offender intake process here:
Offender Reception Processing.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website offers general
information including: the rules and regulations for
visiting offenders in person; the
mailing address and mail service details; information about
phone access; and information about providing
Information specific to your husband’s home institution can be found here:
Field Operations. By selecting your husband's institutuion from the map or list, you
will receive more information about the facility, including the programs
offered for inmates and their families at that location and specific rules
about visitation, mail, phone service, and commissary.
If you plan to visit your husband in person, be sure to read the rules
for visitation at least week before you plan to go. Each prison has rules about what days and times inmates can visit and
what you can wear to visit with your husband, as well as what kinds of
things you can bring into the building with you. Each prison requires
documentation establishing a biological relationship in order for a minor
child to visit. Some institutions require you to schedule the visit in
advance and may penalize your loved-one if you miss the visit or are too
late arriving. Planning ahead is the key to a successful prison visit.
In person visits and snail mail are not the only way to stay in touch –
you can also take advantage of the online system
JPAY. Your JPAY account is free to set up, but many of the services involve
a fee. For example, for a small fee (about what a postage stamps costs
now days) you can send email-like messages to your husband at his institution.
JPAY also offers video chat and picture messaging for a fee at eligible
institutions in Ohio as well as access to funds deposit.
No matter what method of communication – in person, mail, phone,
or JPAY – you need to know your husband’s Ohio Inmate Number
because it is part of his “address.” You can look up your
husband’s inmate number on the Ohio Department of Corrections website, here:
In addition to staying in touch, you can start making plans for your husband’s return
before he is released.
The Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition provides valuable resources to former
inmates and their families as well as a wealth of general information
about living with a conviction after prison. Check out the resources available
on the reentry coalition website here:
Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition Links & Resources.
Another great web-based resource is the National Helping Individuals with
criminal records Re-Enter through Employment Network (HIRE), a project
of the Legal Action Center. The HIRE website features an Ohio-specific
resource page with online and in-person resources - check it out here:
Everything from how you can best support your husband, to chat boards,
to in-person support groups are available today to help you and your husband
during the period of incarceration and after he has been released. Some
examples of support networks include
Prisontalk.com and Daily Strength.org
Families of Prisoners Support Group.
On a final note, consider meeting with an attorney who specializes in
post-conviction work, like appeals, applications for post-conviction relief, and habeas corpus,
to see if there are any further legal options for your husband’s case.