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What to Do When Your Loved One's in Jail


Wes Denham (View Bio)
Paperback: Chicago Review Press, 2010.


When family members or loved ones are arrested, things can quickly go from bad to worse.  Inmates want bail bonds and private attorneys, food from the commissary, healthcare, and prescription drugs. They want someone to prove, somehow, that witnesses were lying or that police reports were incorrect. Lawyers and bail bondsmen appear with hands held out for money, and are followed by jail fees, arrest fees, jail phone charges, commissary fees, probation fees, class fees, drug test fees, and on and on.

This book is the only guide to what to do when family members or friends face criminal charges. It explains how to make decisions that are in the best interests of all concerned—not just the defendant—and provides checklists of what things to do and in what order. The book includes very helpful form letters called “jail mail” to help readers quickly send important information to inmates.

Whether a defendant is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct or first-degree murder, Arrested is an indispensable book.

"Denham turns years of experience as an investigator for a criminal defense law firm into no-nonsense advice for those with a loved one in jail. His book amounts to a valuable extended checklist for those coping with the incarceration of a family member or significant friend, from the time the phone rings with news of the arrest onward. Denham shares the jargon, procedures, tricks, and traps in his coverage of jail visits, bail, public defenders, jail medical care, and legal and jail costs, and he outlines a decision-making process that considers the well-being of the entire family. The text includes an assessment tool that helps readers determine whether their incarcerated loved one is capable of staying out of trouble and a template for a family management plan designed to help the defendant prove his or her worthiness for leniency at sentencing. VERDICT: Hard-hitting, blunt, and practical, this book is packed with inside knowledge of the jail experience. It's a necessary purchase for criminal justice collections in public libraries." — Library Journal (starred review)