Author Topic: Have you been in jail? How did you get past it and move on with your life?  (Read 4383 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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I was thinking about mistakes, and times in my life when I wish I had done something differently. I can punish myself in my mind for things and be really brutal about it. And I was thinking about how hard it must be to go to jail and beat yourself up about your mistake and then have society punish you, too.

At least, that's what I presume it would be like, but I really have no idea. Anyone brave care to share their experience? We're all human.


  • Walrus Stache
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I have not been in jail.

However, one person who I care about deeply has, after doing something terrible. He/she is a very good, very kind person who made a mistake. It has no relevance to his/her life now, other than that I suspect it is still a source of personal sadness and shame and of course has limited his/her opportunities with employment and such.

I also know at the acquaintance level several people who have served time after making a bad decision or mistake. They also appear to have moved on with their lives, and are good, nice people.

I know these are just anecdotes, but they may be of comfort to you.


  • Pencil Stache
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I have a family member who will get out of prison in a few months. He's a fabulous person and I respect him to the utmost. However, he'll be legally limited in terms of where he can live and what jobs he can do. He'll have a very, very hard time reintegrating, and I worry a lot for him. I hope that he is able to start his own business to bypass many of the restrictions, but I fear that he'll be discouraged and depressed at the obstacles in his path.


  • Walrus Stache
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First of all, there is a difference between jail and prison.

County jails, state and federal prisons.   Big difference in what you have to do to go to one or the other, and for the length of time, too.

I've been to jail.  Only for a couple of hours until my business partner bailed me out.   Charges were tossed out by the judge as too ludicrous.
So it had no effect on me other than to give me a great story to tell.

I know one person who went to prison for 8 years and got out about 12 years ago.  It took them six months before they could go thru a door without permission.   It was that ingrained.   Still had issues over that up to 2 years out of prison.

Thankfully his parents weren't engaged in criminal activities and gave him a place to stay and helped him get a job.  Didn't pay squat, but it gave him spending money while he got on his feet and got used to being a free person again.   After 2 years, he got married and went to college.  Made straight As and got a free ride for the last 2 years.   

He's done very well and deservedly so.  Most people have no idea he's ever been to prison and would be quite surprised to find that out.

He had a number of lucky breaks, the foremost being having a safe place to resettle to.  But he really worked hard to up the odds of all the other lucky breaks happening.

But what made it work is that while he was in prison he decided to become a different person.  He worked at it.  He made himself into someone that people would like, would trust, and would respect.   In other words, he decided to leave the dumb-ass criminal gang lifestyle behind and that's just what he did.

I know one other person who is currently in prison.  They ended up there after they got wasted and killed someone with their car.   It could be quite a few more years - even 10 or more.

Their parent is being a "helicopter parent" and trying to do all kind of stuff for their kid.   Their kid needs to stop being an overaged child who can't handle themselves and turn into a responsible adult.  I'm not sure how babying them is going to help out with that.   We'll see.

I feel for people who have transformed themselves into worthy individuals, because I know we make it harder than we should for them to succeed after they are out of prison.

But I'm also perfectly happy when the bad apples who decided to stay bad apples quickly end up back in prison.


  • Handlebar Stache
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I have one brother who went to jail maybe 3 or 4 times during high school and college, but the charges were always dropped, so he never spent more than a few days there.  I'm pretty sure the lesson he learned is that he could manipulate our mother quite well and could get away with things because, yes, he was in fact guilty of all the charges.  It took awhile longer for him to grow up.  Unfortunately, mother has never stopped enabling him.


  • Pencil Stache
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Other than a few nights in the Norfolk city drunk tank 20 years ago, I've never been locked up.  However, I do re-entry mentoring.  It's really all about attitude.  The one's with bad attitudes go back, the one's with good attitudes usually make it.  There are lots of publicly and privately funded programs to help people transition.  Job training, housing assistance, day care.  The most difficulty that I see is people's families keeping them back and not letting them better themselves.  "oh, you think you're too good for us now?" That type of thing.  The other problem is after a long incarceration, people have a very hard time learning to make decisions for themselves.  Imagine going 15 or 20 years with every decision being made for you, then standing in a grocery store and decide which brand of beans to get. 

You asked about beating yourself up for past mistakes.  I don't think it's any different than if you don't go to jail.  If you cannot get past your past, you're just going to be stuck where you are at. 


  • Senior Mustachian
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I've been in jail.  I was 12, and it was part of a class trip.  The fact that you have to poop where people can stare at you did more to deter young GuitarStv from a life of crime than any other single thing in his life.

Paul der Krake

  • Walrus Stache
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How does posting bail work exactly? It seems like county jails require a cash bond but are vague on the logistics. Can you call up your online bank and post bail electronically, somehow? What happens on the weekend?

Asking for a friend, of course.


  • Guest
I have not been to jail or prison, but I work with a lot of recently released inmates and people (mostly men) with felony backgrounds.  Many do have a really hard time reintegrating into society. I am working with a young man who was put into prison at 18 and just got out.  He is almost 30 and has no work history other than some skills he learned in prison.  It will be extremely hard for him to find a job.  Many companies won't even consider him because of his background, and those that would will be put off by his lack of a work history. He is trying to stay out of trouble and keep clean, but he is back in the same neighborhood and his gang friends are still around. It is really tough to overcome especially if there are no resources there like a supportive family, etc.  Unfortunately, many end up back in prison or dead.

On the other hand, I have seen a lot of my clients overcome their issues and get back on their feet despite not having a strong support system in place.  One started working at one of the largest companies in the US. He was upfront about his background and they hired him on a temporary basis.  He proved to be such a hard worker that they hired him full time, and they have engaged him to help them put together a program for past felons. 

We know the felony friendly companies who will hire people who were recently released.  Many companies will hire someone who has been out for 5 to 7 years so a lot of options open up after that point.


  • Walrus Stache
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How does posting bail work exactly? It seems like county jails require a cash bond but are vague on the logistics. Can you call up your online bank and post bail electronically, somehow? What happens on the weekend?

Asking for a friend, of course.

If you're a first-timer for something relatively mild, you might get out on a PR bond. The DA's aide asks some questions to find out if you're employed, etc., the cops belittle and insult you, you exchange stories with your roomies, and, then, 6 hours later, you get released on your own recognizance. You might get a free meal out of it, too (9 chips, white bread, and bologna with cheese).

Otherwise, someone goes to the bank and pulls the cash and drives to the jail. A bail bondsmen will take a down payment in addition to some other kind of collateral.

If the bank is closed, you hit the ATM and combine your cash with the jailee's other friends' cash. Yeah, it can get messy, and you might not trust the other people with your money (and vice versa), and the unlucky SOB might have to wait until Monday morning.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 03:33:00 PM by bacchi »


  • Pencil Stache
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Slight bend in the topic, but a wealthy business partners daughter gets caught up in an "occupy" type protest her first day as a protestor.  They take all the arrestees to a staging area, segregate by sex and basically warehouse them until law enforcement can handle the crowds.  All the protesters are "savvy" and check in as John or Jane Doe to stick it to the man... and then they wait...and wait...and wait, until the leaders demand the cops give them their phone calls.  Cop with clipboard asks "What's your name?"  Ugh, Jane Doe... looks down at his clipboard and says "Sorry Jane, apparently we already gave you your phone call...says so right here"

Outrage, followed by more endless waiting in a caged area... until one by one, the precious little snowflakes are broken like they have been incarcerated in the Hanoi Hilton, and start reporting their real names, so they can have a real phone call to their parents who can provide real money for bail! 

She was a stubborn little s*&t , befitting of her stubborn big s*&t of a father but I did get a great laugh out of the story.   BTW she did move on with her life, earned multiple degrees and now is now earning an hourly wage that will only improve when the $15/hr madatory wage goes into effect.   


  • Pencil Stache
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I used to work with the urban poor and many of the men had been locked up at one point or another. It is hard to move on and live a normal life after committing a felony, particularly a violent one. You can’t get many jobs, and depending on what you did, many people may not want to associate with you anymore. It can be hard to find a place to live too. This can be particularly cruel for people who have non-violent offenses and who are not threats to public safety or security, or for young guys who committed crimes as dumb, spontaneous teenagers. They are labeled as a felon for the rest of their lives. The successful ones usually require a lot of help. They need structure - a good place to stay, a place to work and make money, and good influences in their friends and family. Too often they don't have any of that, so the recidivism rate is high.

However some crimes are just completely inexcusable and people have a right to demand that society keep violent people away from their families, schools, etc. In these cases, it makes sense to prioritize society and the public above the offender. However I suspect the truly violent/sadistic/dangerous are probably not overly concerned with looking bad or being judged. They probably have a completely different way of viewing the world, and the regulations and stigma may just be an annoyance more than anything else.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I had crooked CPD cops that let a perp they rolled up onto mid-act managed to outrun them and get away. I just happened to be getting out of a cab in front of my building and they came up and assaulted me and threw me in the can for the night. Knowing full well I was 100% innocent, but hey, I managed to fit one of the 8 or so bullet points in the description of the perp - and they got off the beat for the night, managed to get the collar, win for everyone, right?

A night in a holding pen with the Latin Kings, then my own cell, $1600, an arraignment, a court date and lots of time and stress I got off (cops didn't bother to show up when they saw I had paid-professional representation and not a public defender).

The point isn't to entirely rail on the crooked cops in Chicago, but having an emergency fund helped me out. You never know what crazy stuff is gonna happen.