Son went to jail yesterday


Active Member
I had posted a couple of weeks ago about my situation with my 27-year-old son who has been at our place on house arrest since April. He's actually been at our place since November, but everything fell apart even more when he got fired from his job and then arrested for heroin possession right afterward. His wife had just moved to our place with their two young children about 6 weeks ago. I got some stellar advice from some of you about how to set some boundaries and come up with rules, etc. I had discussed this with my husband and we had yet to have a formal meeting with them, but had figured out what we wanted to say.

In the meantime, son and daughter-in-law stepped up to the plate on their own and have been buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, and being generally pleasant people. There have been no more fights, and even the other difficult child (17-year-old son) has been getting along with everyone.

So the elder difficult child had another court appearance yesterday. His case has been continued three times since the beginning of April, and each time the judge told him to show up with an attorney next time. He told her he had no income and needed a public defender, but she kept continuing the case. His bond amount was $50,000 and we told him we weren't posting bond. He said he didn't expect us to, and was holding out for the public defender, which wouldn't happen if anyone posted that much bond money.

The night before he went to court yesterday, he told us he thought there was a chance the judge would put him in jail since he'd seen her do that to a couple of people previously. He said she assigned them public defenders and then took them off house arrest and into jail. He and daughter in law talked to their kids about the possibility that daddy might have to stay away for a few weeks, and that he still loved them, etc. It was heartbreaking to hear my 3-year-old granddaughter say, "But I don't want my daddy to go to jail!"

He went to court at 9 a.m. yesterday and didn't return as planned, so we figured he had been detained. We checked the online jail records and it showed he had been re-booked and the bond had been reduced to $10,000.

daughter in law is now trying to come up with the $1000 to post bond. She asked her dad, who said "No." I told her we're not posting anything as can't afford it (kind-of true) and we helped out the last time he was in jail. She wanted to know if she should call our oldest son, difficult children brother, who is the only one of the kids with a good job and any money. Then she asked if I would call him, and I said "No, but I'll give you his phone number." She agreed it would be awkward since they never speak to this brother. He's a military officer and doesn't mind letting difficult child know how stupid he is to do the things he does, etc., so they don't like to talk to him despite the fact that the older brother and his wife let difficult child live with them for a month when he was kicked out of the Marine Corps, gave him money for moving, etc.

I did finally tell daughter in law that we'd contribute $100 toward his bond, but that was all I could do. She was wondering aloud what to do about babysitting now that difficult child isn't available. I had a fleeting thought to offer to change my work schedule or take a day off next week to help out, but decided against it and said, "It's going to be tricky for you to figure everything out." She's got her stepmother and some other family members lined up for various days.

He has court again next week, so we'll see what that brings. In a way, I wish daughter in law wouldn't bail him out and would move herself and kids back into her dad's house, where she has a better chance of somebody helping her with the kids. Her job is seasonal and ends in 2 weeks though, so I think she might be planning to be at our place and collect unemployment until difficult child can come back.

So that's where things stand so far. I was sad when I heard he was back in jail, but keep telling myself that it's his own fault for doing the drugs in the first place. It does seem harsh that he's having to go through all this imprisonment (both house arrest and jail) and that he's been unable to look for a new job, etc. through this time. He hasn't even been arraigned yet. Is this typical?


one day at a time
Origami, glad to get an update from you. I'm glad things have been more pleasant around your house---that is good for you.

We don't post bond on my son anymore, so he just stays in jail and then gets a public defender appointed for him. Not sure why the judge didn't do that earlier in your case. If he hasn't been arraigned they will have to do that within a certain number of days, very few usually, so that should happen soon. Then it might be another month or so before his court date comes up.

Yes, he has made this bed, and he will have to walk through the next weeks until the case is decided. Then, he will have to deal with the outcome. The good thing about this is that he is having to face the consequences of his own actions. That is key for all of us in becoming adults. People intervening and saving us is never good. Never.

I understand daughter in law's dilemma. Now she's stuck with all of it. Maybe---and I really hope this---if you can stay on your side of the street, and focus on your own life, they will move out. She will go elsewhere to get the help she needs, until that stops.

People make their own choices in life, and then, it's up to them to live with those choices and all they bring with them.

It is sad and it's so hard for us, who love them, and their kids (I can imagine that layer of pain having grandkids in all of this mess puts on you).

But if we step in, we delay the inevitable, which is them facing themselves. We all have to face ourselves in order to grow.

Warm hugs for you. Please keep us posted. I am glad your son is safe somewhere, and away from pot and alcohol. That can be a very good thing and a comfort.


Active Member
Thanks, Childofmine. We still haven't got a call from him, and am not sure if we will. daughter in law is going to the court hearing next week to see what she can find out. Apparently you have to submit an application and wait three days before you can visit anyone.

My husband, bless his heart, thinks we need to post the whole bond so difficult child can continue to take care of the kids. I said no, we don't need to get into more debt for this and we're already providing room and board to daughter in law and the kids. She's resourceful enough to do something, I think, and she does have other resources. In a way, I feel like a stingy mean person to say that, and part of me is wavering. Husband says he'll go with whatever I decide.


Active Member
Sorry you are going thru this - my son (29) is in prison now. Its not fun at all. Agree, no bond. It just doesn't send the right message.


Active Member
Origami, you're doing the right thing, I am not going to lie and say there's not a part of me saying "let his *** stay in there and don't dare post bond!" but I know it must feel awful for your own child to be in there. Look at this way, he is not in there for anything serious, most likely he will get out. Tell everyone to wait a week until his next trial and then make a decision.


Well-Known Member
If you keep bailing him out, what point is there for him to change? He's nearing thirty. He's still living with you. He is unemployed. He's using heroin. My advice, which is just my opinion, is that bail him out if you think it's going to be the best decision. You've probably done it before and he's still getting into trouble and not yet clean.

I'm not as nice as you, although at one time I was Doormat for Everyone. Not anymore. in my opinion (again just my opinion) daughter in law can go live elsewhere. She isn't even married to your son anymore, right? I would probably offer to keep the kids until she could get on her feet, but I wouldn't let her live with me. Yes, at one time I would have, but I've learned that it usually ends up being lose/lose (you lose, they lose). Don't be shocked if some of your things are missing when they check out. Not saying it will happen for sure, but it could.

You are in a tough spot. And it is always hard to make a decision that is different. I wish you luck and peace. Just think hard about what you are going to do...take you and your husband into consideration too. You need money to live on and to retire on. You could easily spend every dime you have and, in the end, your son is not going to support you if you beggar yourself to rescue him...again, all this is just my opinion. Not everyone agrees with me, I'm sure.


Active Member
Thanks for the replies, everyone. It is comforting to hear from people who are in similar, though unfortunate, situations.

To answer some questions, daughter in law and son are still married technically, although they announced plans to divorce back in November. This was never pursued because of lack of money for court, etc. Now daughter in law says they "might" get back together but she's not sure and doesn't really trust difficult child. He's been clean since the house arrest in early April since hasn't had access to money or drugs except for once when he smoked pot with daughter in law on our back porch (which I found out afterward from other son). daughter in law is afraid this might be an artificial "clean" based on lack of access. I told her I think there's no way to know this until we see what happens whenever he's free again. In all conversations with him, he has assured us that he's done with the drugs and court system, never wants to go back to that lifestyle, etc. Of course I want to believe him.

He was able to call daughter in law from jail yesterday and asked her to please try to post bond. He said the judge was mad that he was 10 minutes late to court, and he reminded her that he'd been on time the other three times but the bus was running late. He thinks he will be there until January unless bond is posted because the judge is basing her decision for a court-appointed attorney on his income from last year, which was $50,000+. Yes, he stupidly got fired from a very good job considering he doesn't have a college degree and had worked his way up diligently to a good position. So until the year is up showing little income for this year, he will be detained with no public defender, according to him. We live in Cook County, IL and apparently normal court rules don't apply here.

So daughter in law is considering taking out a payday loan to gather the bail money. I told her I will contribute a small amount. She talked to some attorneys yesterday who all advised that he needs representation to avoid being sent to the state prison. He has two prior felony convictions for theft three years ago that he got probation for, which has since been satisfied. These attorney fees start at $4500, which of course seems unattainable by anyone involved at this point. daughter in law wants him out so he can get a job and continue helping her with the kids. She said he needs the attorney by Wednesday, his next scheduled court appearance. I can't see this happening unless somebody wins the lottery. My oldest son has the means, but I don't know if it's fair to even ask him for help. He disapproves of their lifestyle in general and hasn't been shy about saying so.

I'm going to ask my friend who knows a lot of attorneys for advice. I'm going to contribute a small amount toward the bail. And I think that's as far as I will go with help right now. daughter in law and kids are still at our place, we're helping keep the kids as we're available, and her family is also helping with getting the kids to and from school.


one day at a time
What about the legal aid society in your town? I can't believe they can detain him indefinitely without representation. That is unbelievable. I can't believe that is legal in terms of due process. I don't care what he has done before. That is nuts.

Attorneys always say that people need representation.

Staying clean and being clean after you've abused substances is a day by day thing. If he's clean today, that's great for today. Who knows about tomorrow? If he's an addict, it will be really hard to stay clean without 12-step. Not impossible but really hard. The stats I have heard are that a very low percentage---5%---of people who are in recovery have not gotten there via 12 step. I'm sure there are exceptions everywhere.

I hope and pray he is trying to change. For your sake and those kids' sake, above all else. I hate to be cynical, and I am not a cynical person, but difficult child has taught me well that I know the tip of the iceberg. If he's smoked pot once that I know of, that means he's smoked it 100 times that I don't know of.

You get the picture. I am glad that you are standing firm right now. Stay the course. Let your son and his wife figure it out. It's their responsibility, not yours. He will never grow up unless you let him navigate this.

This week my son texted me and said he hadn't slept in two days and wanted to come here for a nap after work. I said, No, sorry.

That's all I have heard from him in a week. I remind myself daily that any progress he makes will not come via me. I believe that completely. He will have to find his own way without his Mother. That is what a man does, if he is ever to be a man.

Warm hugs. I am praying for you all.


Active Member
Maybe it's time to let him face his consequences. All this bond and lawyer stuff is only buying him a little bit of time from facing the inevitable.


Well-Known Member
Wow I just read your story and I must say I am so sorry you are living this way. I agree with the other posters that you need to learn about boundaries (it took me years and years to learn this myself) and how to put them in place. One way to help you decide whether to help you difficult child, daughter in law and GK's is: do you and your spouse have enough money in retirement for where you are right now? Financially, when you are dealing with dysfunctional children, at some point, you have to realize that when you are older (or disabled as I am) that those same dysfunctional children cannot be counted on to help you out when you will need it. The $500 you are thinking of helping with should be looked at with an overall picture of how that money is best used for you and your husband. Believe me some day you will be ready to escape the madness and it would be best if you have the means to take care of yourselves first.

It is just my opinion but I would say that daughter in law needs to go. You have too much going on with problems with the other difficult child and he is watching and learning how you react with the other difficult child. If you stand up strong and say "if you choose, you lose" to dysfunctional behavior - the peace of mind that comes to you and your husband is well worth it.

The most difficult part of understanding our children with these problems is that we did not create it and we cannot fix it. It takes a tremendous amount of personal pain and grieving to get to the place of understanding this before one can take a stand for their own life. There was a time for me, where I kept excusing my daughters behaviors because of her age i.e. she will outgrow it - well she is now 40 and I still keep seeing the same types of behavior. What I am going through right now - I believe is that she knows the "old persona" isn't going to work anymore so I am being charmed into thinking things are different that what I have seen in the past - no more raging - but in the end - she is what she is.


Active Member
daughter in law posted bond for him last night. I ended up contributing $200, which I am comfortable with, and she used her paycheck for the rest. Son is out getting a haircut now and will pick his kids up from their soccer and dance programs this morning, take them to McDonalds, pick up daughter in law at work, and then back here. He said he'll try to hire an attorney before his arraignment on Wednesday and can use his bond money for payment.

I haven't had a chance to talk to them beyond the few words with difficult child this morning, but I do think it's finally time for us to have the boundaries discussion (ie how long they can stay, etc.). Of course, whatever happens on the Wednesday court appearance will have an effect on that.

Despite many warnings from people of not to get too hopeful, I'm breathing easier this morning with hope that this will be the turning point for difficult child. The haircut alone makes me happy since even before his arrest he'd been looking more and more like a drug addict (which he was, or is?). Maybe he's seeing this as another fresh start? I know, only time will tell. He also said he's getting rid of the battered flannel jackets and shirts he used to wear when he sought out his drugs. All external things, I know, but I'm grasping at anything positive at this point. He remains a kind, helpful person, which makes setting boundaries more difficult for me.