The post about prisons got me down. I have a problem in my life right now and need some sound advice. Since I know most of you just from this board, maybe you can help me - advice from people not directly involved can often be best, I guess. Although I haven't met any of you face to face, I care about many of you after sharing discussions on the Reds board for years and with my dad and all feel like you're a part of family.
My youngest son is in prison right now. Drugs. Its a drag visiting but I do it every Sunday, line up to get searched, take my baggie full of quarters so I can buy him a Coke and a couple candy bars while we visit (at a buck each!). I don't know about anywhere else but Missouri doesn't allow internet access. He can buy a phone card from the commissory to call home after years of complaints that collect calls to families were outrageous and a burden to families who hadn't broken any laws. (Before he got some money on his books he called us collect and the bills for twenty minutes once a week were right at fifty bucks a month). It's crazy because one major factor in preventing rescidivism is family contact yet they make it prohibitively expensive. I put twenty bucks in his account monthly just for the phone card, which lets him call us the same amount for quite a bit less.
Now I have a dilemma concerning Rich, my son. He wants to live with us when he gets out this coming January and needs a home plan. I really hate to admit this but he's been untrustworthy, a liar, and quite a con man - he can look you in the eye and tell you he's doing this and that to straighten out his life but then turn around and do whatever the hell he wants in the next second. His brothers and I are glad he went to prison actually as we feel it has saved his life at least for now. What he does when he gets out will determine whether he lives or dies, imo. If he goes back to the drugs, he's doomed. He's stolen from me many times, and I've thrown him out more than once before he went to prison for lying, stealing and laying around doing nothing. I mean it - no one can know the heartbreak this causes a parent and the anger. Why is it so damn hard for him to figure out? His brothers and sisters have all become grown, responsible people I'm proud of - he was raised in the same home, same rules, same everything. Now I am remarried with a 5 year old step daughter and have to make a very difficult decision. He has an alternative - a halfway house. I think the rules and strictures he'd have to follow would be good for him but he desperately wants to live here instead. My wife says she'll support me whatever I decide (and she means it - she is a gem, how I got so lucky twice in my life I'll never know) but I have to think of Saide, my 5 year old s/d. I don;t want Rich here if it means he goes back to his old ways, and I wonder if I can set rules that he'll feel compelled to follow. My heart goes out to him but I wonder if the right thing is to let him live in the halfway house and "prove out" on his own. That's the course my head says is the 'tough love' one, my heart cries otherwise. He's 22 now, it's past time to grow up obviously. So why do I feel I'm abandoning him if I say no?
I've decided to post this as it's own post and maybe get more replies. I've discussed Reds with all of you many, many times and really would like to hear your advice. FCB has been a teacher, and I know some of you have been attorneys, or corrections officers, etc. and most of you are parents who can understand, maybe, the angst and concerns. What do you think ? Rich is a non-violent drug abuser, head in rock music and dreamy clouds of unreality about becoming a rock star, funny and engaging to talk to (like I said quite the con man) and has many, many friends (many of em the wrong kind but a lot surprisingly level headed good people). At this point he's still more confused kid than hard criminal but I do mean it - I know if he returns to his former lifestyle he is likely a hardened criminal before long. Noithing has ever confused me and made me so indecisive before in my entire life.