Life After Prison: How it affected my parents and me


A picture of the author (Miranda Ceja) and her parents. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Schrader

By Miranda Ceja

Thirty, twenty, ten years or less in prison can really change a person, it can change your life just not theirs. I know that it changed mine, My life got disturbed. For my parents and I it is still a harsh adjustment to this day.

For me, I had to watch my parents have a really hard time with adjusting to life. They had to come back to a grown up child and a collection of things in life, and family they were not prepared for.

Adjusting to life after prison is a time for new beginnings. When the inmate finally gets to come back to his or her family it is a real sentimental moment for everyone in the family. I knew that when my parents got out of prison that things would be different and I would have a hard time adjusting with it, because they were just going to be jumping back into my normal routine again.

“When we would be with each other or at practice and you would look sad and upset I would try and tell you to cheer up and that your mom was fine and she put all this work in for your quince and that It’ll be okay but you were upset and hurt,” Junior Brayan de la concha explained.

A quinceanera is a celebration when you turn fifteen years old.

  My parents and I had a lot of things to catch up on, what was going on with me and my life. I liked having my parents attention and love back, but to make me comfortable they slowly would set in more and more back into the parenting stage. We all needed to be busy with something or busy with each other because at some points it would get uncomfortable and slightly weird.

Birthdays were the hardest thing for me. I went without both of my parents for most of my birthdays, my favorite one was my fifteenth birthday when I finally had all my family together. And having my parents around each other made me really happy too. But birthdays before that I would be crying or upset because I missed them and I wanted to be with them.

“You knew you couldn’t always rely on your parents for the answers you were looking for, so you went out and put yourself out there and found them yourself,” Freshman Nielly Martinez explained.

When my parents went to prison I was pretty young, My dad was already gone and I ended up getting removed from my mom when I was eleven. I went straight into foster care,  luckily I had a family who wanted me and would take me.

As soon as I was living with my grandma I grew hate and sadness for what my parents both had put me through and what I was truly going through. I remember the night I was removed from my home vividly. It was just my aunt and I, and I was sick. We had a knock on the door with CPS and police officers waiting to remove me. The difficult thing is that my mom wasn’t even there when they had me removed from our home.

“I felt bad for what had happened and I made sure to take your mind off of it and lighten up the mood, I never like to see you sad,” De La Concha said.

I know the hardest part for my parents was finding a job and jumping back into society. Because they would have to have background checks and a lot of other things to see what they have done and what they are doing now in life. And another,  thing they actually had to work for there money they couldn’t just do the thing that they were both doing before.

“It was hard for me because there were days where I wanted you to be happy or I wanted to fix what was wrong but there wasn’t much I could do to help you,” Martinez said.

When my dad got out it was the happiest day of my life. He was close to me, well closer than he was before. And we both had a chance to connect with each other. When my mom got out it was a crying fest and it is, and still will always be, my favorite memory of being with my mom. So finally both of my parents are back in my life.

It was really hard to get along with both of my parents because they didn’t know me, they only knew me as a little kid not an almost a grown women. We would argue to the point where we thought I was pushing them back to drugs.

For my parents and I it is still hard because we are still getting used to one another and we are trying to make things work and help one another.

But the whole happiness, and being a family didn’t last. My dad went back to jail in January and my mom ended up going back to jail two weeks before my quinceanera in August. They broke everything we had made and my trust again I was so hurt and mad I didn’t talk to either of them when they called or sent letters. But as of now they are out and they are both in rehab and we are trying to make things work again and be happy and comfortable with each other again.

As I got older I understood that I had to help my parents not go back to old friends or to old habits. From seeing my parents leave me and ruin their lives it made me understand that I don’t wanna be anything like that. When I have children I wanna give them a better life than what I had. I want to thrive in life not flounder.