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Sadness,grief and regret over sons incarceration

Community Member

Hi, I am new to this but  need to talk to someone, anyone, I am a mother of 4 children , three adults ages 25, 29,32 and a 10 year old son from from second marriage. My eldest son was convicted of  a crime and is now in prison,he is 32 and the whole experience has devastated me , sitting through the trial I cried the whole two days everyone was looking at me  obviously knowing I was the mother ,then his sentencing was a day I shall never forget I had to write a letter to the judge about my son, about his drug use, about his father not being in his life since we divorced and his downfall, I also wrote about  how I loved him would stand by him, I'm sorry I failed him  and he turned to drugs too take away his pain, but underneath all that was a wonderful creative boy who just took a wrong turn, the judge  starting reading my letter word for word out to the court room, I looked at my beautiful boy and there were tears running down his face, I think he finally realised what he has done not only to himself but to me as his mother, that image is burned into my memory ,for once in my life I could not protect my child and it killed me, his sentence was given and they took him away, he will be released about september. I cannot tell  anyone and the stress is unbearable,I have to lie to people to excuse his absence , he is clean and sober now and has turned this life around he is doing all the courses to correct his life while in prison and is deeply regretful of his choices, I do not excuse his behaviour  but I am his mother and I have to stand by him, I look at all the other families visiting in prison and it is so sad it affects the whole family. This is the first time I have said this out aloud it is so hard to live with this "secret",I just don't know how to live with this.

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Community Member

It's all gone a bit quiet on here. I am planning a trip to visit my son this month. He has been moved a bit further away. So it's going to be a road trip to see him. I guess we are counting the time down to his parole. Hopefully he gets released then so we can have our lives back but with trepidation of the unknown and readjustment to come. His mum will be here as well so post Covid at least he will get to see her as well. Hopefully she brings a different dimension and a calming influence but lets see what happens. The other kids are moving on with their lives albeit with challenges they bring. I wouldn't say our relationship is great. My daughter is fiesty with a mind of her own. She is also on a slippery slope but i let go the reigns so letting them find their way. Sadly there is little respect towards me and i'm still that enabler. Not much else going on. Wondering whether i should fork out a bundle of money to get him counselling / rehab whilst inside? Will it help him and case for parole i wonder? anyone had experience with this?

Community Member

Hi JoeDee

its over a year since our son came home from prison.  I mentioned that in another reply. You have read my story and know my concerns I had and I understand yours. There is hope . Sadly for July it’s been difficult and that does happen to some.

I am proud of my son’s efforts to stick to his resolution to change because he never wanted to return to prison.
 He has had steady work.

He learnt to cook from those he lived with  in the cottages and do we cook together and I get him to teach me. He often used to talk about his experiences in prison during this time which helped us understand what he went through. He was blessed with some good inmates that helped him along.
Getting back into sport  and a good team of friends from good times is important 

 and  who are supportive.

Habing good hobbies to occupy time are important and my husband and I support  his hobbies of on working on his cars . 
Keeping away from bad influences is essential 

I think he got to the point with his mind he couldn’t even understand  he was heading towards prison and he was shocked.

Don’t give up!!  With hard work and determination, they can make it.  
His mind has healed and he is now very clear headed and much calmer , easier  to talk to 
and in control of his behaviour . He has a supportive girlfriend. 
We pray every day for him. Trust  and love go  a long way.  

Community Member

Hi July,

It was your story that gave me hope and kept me going all the time my son was in prison. I’m sorry your son can’t get rid of this demon addiction  from his life.  He probably stays away as he knows he is hurting you. I’m so sorry for the pain. 
it is so hard with the “secret”.  I still don’t tell anyone though I am tempted to sometimes when I know others are struggling and need support with family going through challenges . They just turn around and tell me I don’t understand and I can’t tell them why I do as I am not allowed and don’t want to tell. The mental health issues are acceptable to talk about but the word prison brings instant judgement of him and me . 
I still have fears I battle with. I still know this double face too.    He starts his new job but he hasn’t told them his criminal background in drugs. They didn’t ask anout the 2 years gap he didn’t say, as he wanted to be accepted for who he is now and prove himself.  I realise I am quite anxious underneath the joy he has a better job.. anxious what happens if they find out… It’s back in what he studied for and it’s an amazing chance to get back to the work he loved. This place , unlike the other where stress started his downward spiral , seem to be a wonderful supportive team and have been great to deal with so far setting him up and giving him some training to get up to f dadoeed.  They know he hasn’t worked in the area for a while but didn’t ask why. My sons problems were during covid  lockdowns so it  has been a blessing in not having to explain. .. you just say “covid” and people nod their head.

I still think of you and your son. 
I think you are amazing not giving up on him. The calls are important even if he doesn’t come.  My hope for you is he will meet the right people that will change this direction he has taken. Don’t give up on him. 
On the flip side,  keep looking after yourself. It isn’t your fault and only he 

Can make the change. I know he can from what you said about him and I hope it comes soon so you can rebuild that relationship with him and give you some relief . 

Community Member

Hi Nameless1


Since the last post things haven't been that great. There's a remote chance that this message could be seen by a friend or family member so i can't comment publicly on the situation with my family at home. Regardless, son has stopped calling me, perhaps only twice this year. I am still topping his account regularly. I also visited him once in person.  


I am taking it a day at a time. I want to move on with my life but accept there is still post release support required for a period of time and hopefully fingers crossed he has reformed, has learnt a valuable lesson but pending parole of course. The longer he stays in might cause more harm than good so here's hoping. I'll try and post further updates as and when i can. Best wishes to all. 

Community Member

Hi JoeDee

Don’t give up!!

Prison cured my son of going back there to only waste his  life again ! He got a part time job after parole finished then when he had to out in his resume as part of centrelink he was approached to work back in what he was trained for and is happily employed and he is still doing well at that job. He has kept away from past friends still and doesn’t go to places he used to but had other interests and hobbies   All Family and his partner are still very supportive through all and he hasn’t looked back. 
I probably mentioned in an old post somewhere he didn’t make much contact and making any calls were difficult for him .. no privacy etc. maybe hard to hear our voices as that upset him perhaps  . Though from the cottages it was more private and then he  rang a lot. 
Hopefully he will hear about parole and get moved to the cottages and will ring you. Maybe he doesn’t  know what to say. He will get good support on parole and co done courses which were really helpful. 
keep in touch. Sorry I haven’t looked for a while but last time there were no posts so thought this conversation had stopped . 

nameless 1 

Wow I know this is an old post and discussion but I came across it this morning needing support by son age 18 is in so much trouble but this post reassured me, I just hope he gets the help he needs. 

Incredible advice thank you 


This post July started helped me so much too.  I hope you are getting all the help you need. It is difficult when are children are struggling this much!! I hope that you are also coping with what is happening and have people around to support you, though  it is often hard to tell friends things and it is easy to withdraw. 
nameless 1

Dear Anne and July,

  I am also a parent of incarcerated son there is no feeling to express what it does to you and only parents who have felt it no what I mean. 
My son is currently in prison this is his second time drug related it’s the hopelessness of what next? He gets himself together inside he currently has a girlfriend but things are not good at the moment that breaks my heart too. I have tried counselling on his first round his dad has depression issues and finally joined a men’s group. I told him he needs to show our son that he is strong so he can help him. I feel so alone at times and overwhelmed what went wrong. Our other son who had issues and still is distant from us. My rock my mum has been gone for 6 years now she was our boys world.

 Know it is not about my husband and me but I feel as a mum useless.

Thanks for listening this is helping me as it is a subject that I can’t have chats with family or friends as it is hard to feel listened. July I hope our son who has a heart of gold finds his peacefulness like your son. 
Once again words can’t express how grateful that I can type this down without judgement 🙂

Hi there

Your feelings are what everyone feels and there isn’t much support for parents of kids in jail …. Only my ministers at church and a friend who has been through this too. Even my closest friends I still haven’t told and will never tell even though  he has been home now for 2 years. As it was during covid I got away with saying he was  struggling with mental health issues snd PTSD so it explained him not being around. Things happen out of our control as parents. I feel sorry too for our kids who have often without intention gone down the wrong path. For my son it started with skin issues and social anxiety and self medicating. Then a break up with his girlfriend snd stress from his study. Finally PTSD from seeing a workplace accident and no support from work pushed him over the edge. I don’t judge him either though I  used to resent him putting my husband and I  through this. We still struggle now when things trigger off a memory… driving past the police station or law courts, or even tv shows about prison and drugs. Fortunately,  such was the experience, that he didn’t want to go back to prison and worked hard during  parole with courses and kept away from his past and made good with a great job.  His partner has been supportive even though he only contacted her a few times while in prison and received only a few letters. He was too ashamed but pushed away someone who also didn’t judge but was hurt by his lack of context. 

The dads really struggle .. my husband did .. he felt guilty he didn’t prevent it. 
Mu son kept busy with prison work and that gave him self esteem learning a skill and he felt he was at least maki g use of his time. Being kept from everything g that led to the downfall helps. I hope this time when he comes out he can keep himself together .

Happy to chat more 

nameless 1