Christmas and Holidays in a Texas Prison

Now that Turkey Day is over, everyone is now busy shopping with the retailers playing Christmas music, decorating their stores, and doing everything possible to get you into the holiday spirit but inside the prisons it is just another endless stretch of sad days for most of the prisoners, missing their family and trying to find a way to prevent boredom until they are released.

To make it even more boring, school and the other classes are usually canceled for an extended period. While some of the offenders do not like school, most will agree that the days without anything to do make the time go by even slower. 

On Christmas day there is usually a meal that is better than the other days, but just slightly better. In some units, a better than average meal will be given for one meal and then a sack lunch with a bologna sandwich for the other meal. 

The hardest part about Christmas for inmates is the time away from the families. We at want to reiterate our annual suggestions for those of you who have family or friends who are locked up during this holiday season:

  1. Visit and write as often as possible. Nothing is more uplifting to a prisoner than seeing their family and getting a letter from someone is a welcome surprise.
  2. If you can afford it, put a few dollars “on their books” so they can visit the commissary. The ability to buy even a couple of “soups” can do a lot for the morale of a prisoner and the purchase of even a single sweet is a big deal.
  3. During the Christmas season consider sending something to them. A gift in prison is hard to select, but books are usually best since most books will make it through the mail inspectors and are allowed to go directly to the prisoners. The books must come directly from a store or a publisher.
  4. Of course, if parole is being considered during the next year or so we suggest sending them a printed copy of our eBook How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet. This not only lets them know you are thinking about them but also gives them something to do by allowing them to work on their parole package from inside the walls. The package at the link above includes both a printed copy that can be mailed to the inmate and also a digital copy for you.
  5. Christmas cards are both inexpensive and welcome. They often provide the only decoration in a drab room or cell. Not only do they brighten up the area but they are also a constant reminder that someone on the outside still cares about them.

Anything you can do to let an inmate know they are still a part of your life is extremely important.  We encourage you to take a few minutes this holiday season to tell them you care.

About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.