Unfortunately, if you are reading this blog there is an excellent chance that a loved one will be spending this Christmas in the Texas prison system hopefully working toward a Texas parole. I wanted to post a brief entry to give you an idea of how you can help them make it through a difficult season.
First, stay in touch with them. Pictures mean a lot to the people behind bars and not only let them know that you still care about them but the pictures also allow them to share, at least a little, in the holiday festivities. Take pictures of everything you and the family do and send them!
Second, visit them as much as possible. Christmas Day in prison is depressing, with all of the excitement directed toward one of the few really good meals they get in a year (except for those guys at CCA who get an almost tolerable Christmas meal, followed by bologna sandwiches that night). The holidays are so much nicer if you can actually get a chance to visit and let them know you love them. It gives them something to look forward to and makes the season a little brighter.
Third, if you can, put a few dollars "on their books" so they can visit commissary and indulge a little. Any amount is nice, even a candy bar and a couple of "soups" can cheer them up.
Last, send them a gift if you can. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (Texas Department of Corrections) rules on what can be sent in are strict and generally it is only books and magazines direct from the publishers or bookstores but a subscription to Sport Illustrated, Field and Stream, or any other is greatly appreciated. Of course, one of the most useful things you can do is help them with their parole packet, which you can do by purchasing "How to Prepare a Texas Parole Presentation Package" for yourself or have a copy sent to them. By buying both the digital version and the printed copy to be sent to them you can both work on it together.