Ive always been a fixer…fix the issues that my kids came up against. But then there was an issue I could no longer fix or control. All I could do is watch from the side lines. My son, my youngest, my baby was sentenced to 2 years TDCJ and 6 months State Jail. Oh the naivety when you know nothing of TDCJ. The day that the deal was struck and our lawyer assured us that he would be out in six months, the only reason he wouldn’t be is if TDCJ suddenly built new prisons to help with overcrowding.

So here we go, counting down to six months. My son was in county for about a month and said that was cake…if prison was like county this next six months would fly by. The morning he caught chain…I cried…and cried. That night trying to go to bed I had an anxiety attack that was out of this world, I couldn’t breath…my only thought was OMG MY child is in prison…PRISON! That’s a place for horrible people. The next 45 days with no calls from him were some of the hardest of my life. I’ll admit I was a pain in the ass. I called Middleton…thankfully those ladies that answered the phone were very sympathetic, nice and very patient with this mom new to this whole new world of prison. I worried about him and for him. I lived or rather existed in this world going thru the motions with this black cloud hanging over my head, tears constantly below the surface and a never ending feeling of what a horrible failure as a parent I must be.

I knew with my logical brain that I was not a failure, that kids get grown, make their own choices, their own mistakes and pay their own consequences. At this point I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to that understood…family was sad and tried to be supportive, but had not been down this road so they really didn’t know what this momma was thinking and feeling. One day while surfing thru the web looking up anything I could find that would give me some sort of peace I came across this blog…I even emailed Magnum with my questions…and was probably a total pain in the ass with my questions and my getting defensive and pissy over some of the comments by others to my questions lol.

The Jpay.com forum and Magnum’s blog helped me so much…to connect with others that were on this road, that knew first hand all the emotions I was feeling, the worry and the fears. The worries and fears are legit. Prison is ugly and its not a safe haven nor is it a rehab facility. Six months rolled around and my sons parole was denied. I’ve come to notice from talking to others that a lot don’t make their first parole, I guess maybe they don’t feel like you’ve been there long enough to learn any real lessons, I don’t know…maybe it really is a money game (that’s another rant of its own lol), but regardless he was stuck until the next review. When you have a young son going in there that thought he was invincible and learns the hard way he isn’t…it’s very heartbreaking. You can do nothing…just pray and hopefully find a support group, online, in person whatever where you can cry, vent and share your story with people who know exactly what you are going thru.

I came to realize that maybe there were lessons needing learned…no matter how unfair it felt to me…lifestyle changes that had been made that needed to be cemented into place and as hard and ugly as prison is it was the cement needed to hold those changes in place. I’m not trying to be selfish or think I’m better than any of the others who love my son, but I do know that while he was in prison my life honestly felt like it was on hold, no real joy, just going thru the motions of living. Other family members still seemed to be enjoying life…trips, partying, life as normal…and it pissed me off to no end! How dare you live like all is well when my child, your son, your brother, your spouse is in hell. I’m in hell. So yea I felt very sad and even jealous that life was going on and being lived and enjoyed by those my son loved the most and couldn’t understand how they were doing it. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m different than other people…but yea I definitely was doing time too.

  1. Paula says:

    Thank you for the “mother’s perspective”. I know in my head, yes, this was probably a good thing to stop him from drugs. But my heart is broken. I wish there were support groups in my town for prisoner’s moms. My son was charged with a serious crime and I am having a hard time dealing with it. He is 30 years old and has always had bad luck. I cry every day and I have aged so much these past months. Like you other moms, it makes me feel bad when I hear other people talk about their sons in college, or just married. It’s like rubbing salt in the wounds. I wonder what I did to fail him. It’s a hellish experience. He does not want me to visit him, but I talk to him on the phone and send him commissary gift boxes. I can’t send him money since the prison takes half of it. (I’m in PA) God bless you all. My dad died a month before all this prison stuff happened.

    • Patti says:

      This summer my son will reach 25 years being locked up. The first 2 were in county jail. He has never been home since that time. He is mentally ill and this has been a road I don’t wish on anyone. All the feelings on this page have been felt by me numerous times. I wish it got easier but he was just transferred far away from me
      and the transfer and not knowing for the wee he was on the road were pure hell.
      So.. going through this over and over does not make it easier. The hardest thing is not being able to protect him. I lost my family, divorce and have not seen my older son and grandson for more that 5 years and have never met my great grandson. I have had to put those feeling aside because the pain of prison is just too much. My youngest needs me the most and everyone else has abandoned him and me. I have no joy in my life and also wonder how people keep on living their life when mine is falling apart. I’m not sure why i don’t just give up but I can’t.
      My heart and prayers go out to all of you suffering this life. May God be with you.

      • Texas Magnum says:

        Hey Patti, I am real sorry to hear of your son’s situation and the pain it has caused you. I am very sorry to hear that other family members have abandoned him and you, that must make it all the harder. But, I am sure they feel they have their reasons. I hope that you can find peace and him as well. I found a lot of comfort in Bo Lazoff’s book “We Are All Doing Time” and I highly suggest it. Even though you are not incarcerated the writing about those with long and difficult sentences and how they found hope and peace even in those circumstances might help you out. You can get the book online at http://hkf.baldwinandbrand.com/. Peace to you and your son ~ Magnum

  2. Rose says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. Prayers for all.

  3. Dawn says:

    I have a son who is 27. This is his 2nd time in Tdc for drugs. Right now he is on restriction and I don’t know why and I haven’t heard from him in 2 weeks and I don’t know how to find out if he is ok? All I know is there was a lock down and now he is on restriction.How long does that last.
    Does anybody know?

    • Rose says:

      You might could find out from the wardens office. Restriction lengths vary depending on what they did. Hopefully you hear from him soon or get some answers Monday. Hang in there!!

  4. Sad mom says:

    Hi I have a son he’s been in prison since March 2015 he my youngest of 6 he had a clean background till now he set to see parole in sept of 2018 he hasn’t gotten any trouble do you think his chances for parole

    • Rose says:

      It all varies. Depending on sentence length and type, how he’s adapted/behaved inside. What is his projected release date? That’s a pretty good date to look at as to when he’ll get out. Hang in there!

  5. Jaynie says:

    My daughter just got pulled from county this morning on her way to SAFP.
    I’m on the road to a full blown anxiety attack 🙁
    Can anyone tell me…
    How long before she’s in the system and I can find out what unit she’s in?
    Do I have to wait until she shows up on the TDJC offender search page or can I call and find her?
    Thanks in advance!!

    • Texas Magnum says:

      Hey Jaynie, I know from my own mother and from Rose and other parents that this is one of the worse experiences of the prison trip for family members. The time when your child is picked up from county and off to prison but you don’t know where they are or how they are. You and your daughter are really lucky she is going to SAFP, it really isn’t prison. It’s a lot nicer than prison. Not that it’s a resort or anything, but it’s better overall and the focus is on rehabilitation which is really more positive than what you get in prison. So, overall, you and her can feel good about that. You should be able to find her in the system within a couple days and meanwhile just try to not panic since you have no choice but to be patient. Once you can get her ID number start writing her a lot and keep in touch and her stay at SAFP will be over in no time. Peace ~ Magnum

      • Rose says:

        Hang in there momma. This is the worst part. If you have her number by now then download the jpay ap and send letters and put some money on her books if your able. I don’t know anything about SAFP but I do know my son said he wished he’d asked for that during the plea dealings. I’m so sorry you’re traveling this road. But for what it’s worth the change in my son since that horrible time ALMOST makes it worth the tears and fear and anxiety. This too shall pass!

  6. Shanna says:

    Hi everyone.My son caught chain on 7/21/16, from Dallas to Middleton Unit. I haven’t heard from him since the day before he left.He has 30yrs. and im very concerned about him, being picked on, also tdc doesnt have a/c. Does Tdc give em ice water? I read somewhere that tdc has Fan coolers for inmates at transfer facilities.My question is when will he be able to call home. I havent heard from him since he left. And does anyone know how often commissary is open? Please someone let me know. Thanks.

    • Texas Magnum says:

      Hey Shanna, it’s a hard time on the family when someone catches chain. It takes a while to hear from them so try not to worry. You can find their TDC number online here: https://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/. Use that number on correspondence to him. You can also add money to his commissary. It can be very hot at TDC, there are a few units with AC so he might get lucky and get assigned to one. If he is in generally good health and is young, the heat will be uncomfortable but he will be OK. Try to not worry about that, he will get used to it. If you have questions, this is a good place to find answers, either me or Rose will usually answer within a day or two. Meanwhile just send him letters, that will help him a lot to hear from home. Peace ~ Magnum

      • Shanna says:

        Thanks Rose and Magnum, My son is at the Smith Unit. Do you know anything about this unit? And what goes on behind prison walls.Thanks your answer is kindly appreciated.

    • Rose says:

      HI Shanna…first I want to tell you that I’m so sorry yall are walking this walk. Do you know about jpay? You an download that on your phone and use online on home computer as well, jpay.com. With this you can send him emails that he will receive within 48 hours, where regular mail takes a bit…he will only be able to write back by regular mail, but he will receive letters much faster. You can also use this ap to put money on his books. Commissary and letters keep them going. Have you gotten your phone set up to receive calls? That’s takes a little bit so if you haven’t your might want to do that as soon as possible…it was almost a month to the day that my son caught chain and then I got my first call from him. Again I’m so sorry…but somehow, someway we do get thru this and we do survive it…moms and sons…one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time, but we do get thru. Please feel free to email me if youd like to “talk”. Hang in there…Big hugs and lots of prayers for both of you!

  7. Lgonzales says:

    His, My husband is currently serving a 6year Tdcj sentence, august 2016,he completes 1year inn Tdcj.. On february 2016,he saw parole 2weeks shortly after the parole review he got a Denial notice with a 1year set off. His next parole review is march2017.by that time he will have already served 19months, he does have a Prd of january 27,2018 it was first set for may 2018,than changed to january… He sent me his time sheet &he is being credited for good behavior, he hasnt caught any out of place write ups or any major cases,on the other hand we just found out that he will be going on a bench warrant, because he has a new charge that came up ,he comitted this new offense before his current sentence, it took the Da’s 9months to índicte him on this…My cuestión is when he goes on his bench warrant , will they give him a new sentence or will it be runned concurrent, with his already 6year sentence? And will he have to restart his parole hearings like new or will his next parole set date remain the same &will his PRD remain the same??? Anyone please help Thanks in advance 😉

    • Rose says:

      I would think his new sentence would run concurrent with what he already has. No way to really know tho until that one is taken care of. My thinking is that as long as his new sentence is equal to or less than the one he is currently serving then his PRD and all should stay the same. Seems that on some charges people tend to do at least half of their time, which is what his PRD shows to be. All you can really do is wait and see. Hang in there!

  8. Rose says:

    Every situation is different, but here is the timeline of how things went for us…maybe it will help you know what to expect and when (kinda) to expect it.
    1/15 county
    2/13 Middleton
    2/19 Parole review started
    3/15 he called me
    3/21 first visit
    3/25 moved to Rudd
    4/4 first contact visit and hug in 78 days
    4/6 Parole eligible
    4/28 he saw IPO
    6/17 Parole called me
    6/26 Parole denied
    7/3 Parole review started
    7/14 he saw re-entry
    8/13 he got his line class change and his PRD moved up
    8/26 he saw IPO
    9/11 he finished Changes
    9/18 they did labs on him
    10/12 PAROLE APPROVED!!!!!
    11/18 Transferred back to Middleton
    11/19 transferred, not sure where
    11/25 is released

  9. Ana says:

    Hi Rose,

    I found your blog to be so helpful. My son was sentenced to 5 years TDC and like you I had always done things to clean up his mess and like you in the end all I could do was sit back and watch the inevitable. He was sentenced in mid May and “caught chain” June 28th, the day before my birthday. That was brutal. I haven’t heard from him since 6/27 when he called to let me know they were taking him. I’ve never gone this long without talking to him. I write a letter every single day because I’ve learned that it is helpful. I’ve also ordered him some books from amazon to help pass the time. He is at Garza West and one of my biggest concerns is that the facility does not have AC. I’ve tried to sit in my garage as long as I can because I somehow feel that I should go through what he is going through and I don’t think I’ve lasted 5 minutes.

    My son is 20 years old, 5’2″ and 110lbs. I worry sick about him getting hurt and picked on because of his size.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that hearing that you understood me is very helpful.

    Ana

    • Rose says:

      Hi Ana…I’m so sorry. This road is an emotional rollercoaster for sure. Having a child in TDCJ sure changes your thought process and gives you an inside look at the system and I think it changes your thought process forever. Ive tried to find the good in the situation, you know the silver lining. My son is doing so amazing now, his priorities are in line…hes being the amazing husband and daddy I knew he could be…his thought process…so much good came out of this that might not of come for many more years or maybe not at all had he not had this experience. I will be praying for you and your son, for peace in your heart and for protection and safety for him. Hang in there and holler any time you want to talk, or just need to vent. Knowing we are not alone in these feelings and thoughts helped me so much. My email is rosemt37@aol.com if you ever want to give me a holler. Praying this goes by as fast as possible for you both. Hang in there and remember this too shall pass!

      • Shanna says:

        Hello to all, My son was recently transferred from the Huntsville unit , to the smith unit in Lamesa tx. I haven’t heard anything from him since he was at Middleton.Does anyone has info on this facility? I know prisons aren’t pleasant I’m praying it’s not one of the worst units. All info is welcome. Thanks.

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