Inmate Need Support Too

Inmate Need Support Too

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been incarcerated once or three times, jail can be a scary and nerve-wracking place. Just to give you a glimpse into the life of those incarcerated, they lose 99% of their contact with the outside world, they’re told what to do and when to do it, and they are forced to share a small cell with a complete stranger.

This is not a pleasant thought, but it is the reality that more than 2 million inmates face every day. That’s why it’s up to you, the loved ones of those incarcerated, to show support and help make their days a little brighter. We understand this can be hard to do, so we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you get started.

Send Money – We know that budgets can be tight and money may not be readily available to send, but a little monetary contribution to their fund every now and then can a have a big impact on a loved one’s experience in jail. Without funds, they cannot make simple purchases such as a phone card, paper, or stamps. By having funds in their account they will also be able to purchase snacks, which is a great alternative to the food served in prison. It’s a simple process and can be completed over the phone simply by knowing their full name and booking number.
Visit Often – There are a million ways to spend your Saturday and visiting a loved one in jail probably isn’t at the top of your list, but it should be. It’s understandable that scheduling a visit can’t be done every weekend, but you should try to make it a priority to visit loved ones as often as you can. If you can’t go, find a family friend that is free that day and see if they can stop by. You would never believe what a simple visit from a familiar face can do for an inmate’s mental health.
Write Letters – This is probably the easiest suggestion on the list because it’s one that you can do in your own time and is super cheap to do. If you can, write them a letter once a week and tell them about what is going on in your life, about different things that are happening within the family, and catch them up on local news. In fact, you can include small pictures of loved ones.
Don’t Ignore Their Calls – The ability to make a phone call is a big deal to an inmate because in order to make a call they may have to wait in a long time for an open phone line and use valuable or limited funds. We understand that sometimes you’re busy and unable to answer their call, but just by answering, saying hello, and scheduling a time to have a later conversation you can make their day a little brighter.
Show An Interest In Their Life – If time and money are a problem, this suggestion is for you. When you do get the chance to talk to a loved one, whether it be on the phone or in a letter, ask them how they are doing. They might not have a lot happening, but chances are they will be eager to tell you about recreation, the latest gossip, or provide you with an update on their court case.

These may only be five simple suggestions to help provide support for a loved one in jail, but they are five suggestions that anyone can do. While these are great things to keep in mind for yourself, pass the ideas along to extended family members, friends, or your local congregation so they can reach out and show their support too.

If you or a family member need financial support to post a bail bond as a means to avoid unnecessary jail time, call us at 559-784-8660 to find out how we can help.

How to Be Safe Near Rails

How to Be Safe Near Rails

Trains are fairly prominent in most people’s lives, even if you rarely ever ride one. There are around 5,000 miles of rail road here in the state of California which makes it very likely that a person will come across some tracks. While the train tracks may not consistently have trains running on them, that does not mean that they are inactive.

Freight trains are very inconsistent, unlike passenger trains who run on tight schedules. This lulls people into a false sense of security sometimes when near train tracks, which is what causes accidents. Railroads can be very dangerous, and it is important for anyone walking near them to keep their ears open. The tracks will begin to hum as a train approaches, and when that happens, get away from the rails.

Unlike cars, trains cannot swerve to avoid a person or vehicle. They are stuck to the rails, and they will never be able to stop in time to avoid hitting someone. This is simple physics: an object in motion stays in motion. The momentum of the several pound train will not allow it to stop in less than a mile. By the time an engineer sees that there is something on the tracks, it is already too late to stop.

If you ever get stuck on train tracks, or see someone else stuck, dial 911. Alert them to the problem, and they will alert the railroad company in charge of that stretch of track. The company will attempt to shut down all train operations on the line until the problem has been dealt with.

Lastly, beware of the illusion that trains are further away than they think. Their size, the way the rails converge, and the right viewing angle can all combine to make the train look like it is moving slower than it actually is. This can cause people to think it is safe to cross tracks when it really isn’t.

When it comes to train tracks, always stay alert. A freight train can come along at any moment, and you do not want to be caught off guard.

Road Trip 101

Road Trip 101

Summer is for lazy pool days, family vacations, and road trips! If you’re like the 80% of Americans who ventured out on a road trip in 2017 then you know that road trips can be a lot of fun. However, they can also be a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never taken one before. That’s why we’re here to give you a few “rules of the road” for your summer trips. Read below for a list of our top 5 tips for road trips.

Have a “check-up” completed – It sounds unnecessary but we can’t express how important it is to take your car to a trusted mechanic and have them complete a total body inspection of your car. They will inspect all the hoses, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and top off your fluids. The initial price of the inspection is only about $50 but can fluctuate depending on if the shop finds any problems. It’s a hassle and just adds to the never-ending list of things you need to do before you embark on your journey, but the peace of mind as you drive is well worth it.

Submit travel plans to your bank – Can you imagine stopping to grab a bite to eat after a long day of driving and having your debit or credit card declined? Before you leave your home state, be sure to log onto your mobile banking app and submit your travel plans. This alerts your bank that any abnormal purchases in strange states are actually you and not a random credit card thief taking a joyride.

Keep snacks at a minimum – If you’re like the rest of us then you get excited at the thought of all the snacks you can consume on your trip. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the $50 you just spent on snacks at Walmart wasn’t really worth it. Now, it is a good idea to get a few healthy options, maybe some pretzels or peanuts to munch on when you get tired, but don’t go crazy – it might just leave you feeling bloated and sluggish from the lack of activity and influx of snacks.

Pack a case of water – We suggest taking the extra money you allotted for snacks and putting it toward a case of water. We know that some people prefer a reusable water bottle, but you never know if the truck stop is going to have a water fountain to fill up your reusable water bottle. So rather than spending $4 for 2 bottles of water at each pit stop, pack a case of water from the start and you don’t have to worry about it.

Create a music playlist on your phone – In the age of Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora do people really create playlists anymore? Maybe not, but when you are in the middle of the desert, no matter what carrier your phone has, you’re going to lose reception and there aren’t going to be any radio stations. You’re going to be thankful you were prepared and have something to listen to.

Road trips are a great way to see the country, and they are a great bonding activity for your family. We are by no means experts in the field, but based on our experience we think these five tips and tricks will help make your trips much more enjoyable!

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

If you’ve been living in California for any amount of time then it should come as no surprise that it was ranked as the third most expensive place to live in the United States, this according to a 2017 article published by CNBC. While California may be known as the Golden State, that doesn’t mean you have to strike it rich to live here.

With your paycheck being split between housing, food, and gas, we want to help stretch your family’s budget for the things you want to do – things that don’t include sending money to the government. In an effort to help you cut costs and make room in your summer budget, we bring you the top five ways to cut your summer utility bills.

We’ve taken tips from all over the web, including Forbes and US News to bring you top tips. Read below to save some serious summer cash.

Place heavy or thick drapes over the windows – By hanging heavy drapery over windows and doors you will help keep your home or apartment cool by not letting the sun’s rays through the glass. We know that blackout curtains aren’t cheap. Click here to shop Amazon’s selection of blackout curtains. If there still isn’t room in your budget to cover every window with curtains, buy coverings for only the large windows or doors that face direct sunlight.
Don’t turn off your A.C. – This might sound strange, however, when you turn off your A.C. completely the temperature in your home rises. In turn, when you return home and turn the unit back on the system will have to work twice as hard to cool down your home. Ultimately, using more electricity and causing your energy bill to rise.
Utilize ceiling fans – The great thing about ceiling fans is that they do not use as much electricity as your air conditioning unit, but they help circulate air throughout your home to help keep it cool.
Turn your lights off – This simple and effective step can save big on your electric bill by cutting energy usage during the day and keeping your home cool.
Limit appliance usage – This suggestion is multi-faceted, meaning that it’s not specific to a particular room in your household. By limiting the use of your dryer, dishwasher, and oven you will see your electric bill take a nosedive. Utilize the summer warmth to dry laundry outside, have your kids help wash dirty dishes, and make simple dishes that don’t require the use of your oven or stove.

These are just a few tips and tricks to help you beat the heat and save some cash this summer, but we know that there are thousands of other ideas out there. Drop us a comment below and tell us some of your own tips and tricks to help lower your family’s utility consumption during the summer months.

The New California Law No One Saw Coming

The New California Law No One Saw Coming

Perhaps one of the more disheartening aspects of law-making is how some laws come into effect. With very little recognition, a new law was recently signed into effect that can, and likely will, change the effectiveness of law enforcement. Assembly Bill 1810 was recently signed into law as a part of California’s new budget. However, this law has very little to do with budgeting.

AB 1810 is supposed to be a health bill, but has more prominence in the law enforcement sector. Under this new law, just about anyone accused a crime, regardless of how serious, could claim a mental health issue and ask to be placed on a two year diversion plan. In other words, a person could say they only committed a crime because they have a problem and then the judge would put him or her into a two year course to correct whatever problem the person claims to have. Upon completion of the course, the person’s record would be sealed, making it as if the crime never happened.

The wording of the bill is very vague, and allows for just about anyone to claim some mental health issue. It is easy to see how this can very easily be used and manipulated to get people out of being punished for a crime. What’s worse, is how little attention this big change in law got. It spent less a week going through Sacramento before being approved by both houses and sent to the Governor for final signature. That is not a lot of time to truly evaluate something this substantial.

Of course, there are some people out there who need a program like this. Something like this can get them the help that they desperately need. Unfortunately, the way the bill is worded, it is very easy for someone to take advantage of this change in procedures, and use it to avoid any real punishment altogether.

Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

If you have been paying attention to politics this year in the state of California, you know that we voters have some pretty big decisions to make come November. One of the biggest measures on the ballot this year is whether we want to begin looking at dividing California into three separate states.

This is a very big deal for every Californian, and as such, it is receiving a lot of attention. In fact, a group of people is now trying to block the measure from being added to the November ballot. An environmentalist group, The Planning and Conservation League, sponsored the filing at the California Supreme Court.

The argument against Prop 9 is that it is too big of a decision to give to the people of California. Prop 9 claims that it will only amend the state Constitution, however its critics say that the measure will completely revise the state Constitution. This is something that the California Supreme Court has regularly sided against.

Splitting up the state of California is a very big deal, and this isn’t the first time someone has tried to do this. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Prop 9’s sponsor tried to split up the state. Tim Draper tried to split California into 6 states back in 2014, but the measure ultimately failed.

California is a pretty big state, and the thought of splitting it up is terrifying for many people. However, splitting up the state is not as simple as voting to do so. Even if Californians approve the measure, it would still need to be approved by the state senate and House of Representatives. From there, it would then go to Congress in Washington DC for final approval, which would be unlikely. A state hasn’t been split since West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1863.

Smoking Marijuana While Driving

Smoking Marijuana While Driving

While the rest of the country may be debating what to do about cannabis, Californians have already decided. California recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. We followed several other states like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. While we weren’t the first ones to legalize weed recreationally, we are still one of the eight states that allows it recreationally. However, like with alcohol and cigarettes, there are laws that have to be followed.

Arguably the most important place to follow the law is behind the wheel. When a person steps behind the wheel of a vehicle they greatly increase the chances of causing harm to someone. Vehicle related deaths are some of the highest in the nation.

Before California allowed the sale of recreational marijuana, they passed several laws in anticipation. In particular they passed a law in regards to driving while smoking. According to this law, written by Sen. Jerry Hill, if a person is caught smoking marijuana while operating a vehicle, or while riding in a vehicle, they can be subjected to a violation. The violation will include a fine of $70.

This really isn’t a new law for us. It’s already illegal to drive while intoxicated. Obtaining a DUI isn’t because you were drunk, it just means you were under the influence of some kind of substance. Along with not being intoxicated while driving, you cannot have an open container of cannabis in your vehicle. This is similar to you not being allowed to have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Since we are one of the few states that have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally, we have to be the role model for other states in the future. As time continues, more studies will be released in regards to the use of marijuana, which will broaden our understanding of the subject as a whole. Until then, exercise caution, and just follow the law.

Don’t Be Carefree This Summer

Don’t Be Carefree This Summer

It is summertime in California, which means singing along to your favorite tunes and hanging out with friends. All year long you’ve been waiting to let go, go on vacation, and bring out your favorite summer playlist. You’ve got your swimsuit on, and the car packed for the beach. You’re all set, right? Wrong. You’ve forgotten to think about your safety, and the safety of those around you.

Even though you want to be carefree this summer, you still need to take the necessary steps to be safe. Before heading out anywhere alone, notify a family member, or close friend of your plans. It may seem ridiculous, but if something were to happen to you while you were alone, no one would know. Notifying someone of your plans allows them to know where you are, and to worry about you if they don’t hear back from you at some point. Traveling alone this summer can be a freeing experience, but can turn into a criminal mystery real quick if no one knows you plans.

If you’re traveling with friends this summer, talk about your plans. If you all plan on spending the night before drinking the night away, it’s best to set up an alternative way home, instead of driving yourselves. Knowing ahead of time that you plan on taking a taxi home will help eliminate the drama of last minute changes of plans. It also gives your group of friends the peace of mind of who is the designated driver. Most importantly, it doesn’t allow any drunk driving to occur.

Summer is all about exploring, but don’t surround yourself with strangers. Going to a party alone with strangers is a recipe for disaster. Party settings are usually full of drinking, smoking, and people making bad decisions. Don’t let yourself be in that kind of situation. Bringing a friend that you know to a party will bring you some peace of mind. If things don’t go well at the party, you’ll have a familiar face that you know you can count on.

Summer is the best time to cut loose and be a little crazy. However, you still need to be safe, and accountable for your actions. You can still have a carefree summer, just take a few small steps to remain safe. These small steps could make the difference between life and death. That may seem too serious for the summertime, but situations can turn deadly if no one took the necessary precautionary steps.

How Many Guns Did He Have?

How Many Guns Did He Have?

California has some of the strictest guns laws within the United States. While this is frustrating for some, it is meant to help keep people safe. There are many people out there who should not own a gun or any other sort of weapon. That is why people are now required to pass a background check before purchasing a gun.

Unfortunately, despite all of these laws, guns still fall into the wrong hands. Take for instance a southern California resident who was recently arrested for own too many guns. Manuel Fernandez, a 60-year-old Agua Dulce resident, was recently arrested for having over 500 different guns in his home. That is a ridiculously large number of weapons. The only people who need that many guns are army suppliers and video game characters with comically large backpacks.

Aside from owning far too many weapons, the man was also a convicted felon. In case you weren’t aware, it is illegal in California for a felon to own any firearms. This makes the insane crime even worse. Fernandez was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for illegally possessing an assault rifle.

This is a perfect example of why some people should not be allowed to purchase firearms. This is why many of the California gun laws exist. However, this does bring up the question of how did this man acquire so many weapons? After all, over 500 is an absurd amount of guns for a single person.

3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

It’s a situation no one ever wants to be in, but it’s one that you may face in your lifetime.

Picture this: You’ve just been arrested, you’ve been booked and given a bail amount, and you’ve called someone for assistance. Now, you sit and wait in a holding cell while a loved one contacts a bail agent to help obtain your freedom. However, there’s a problem. The bail agency cannot issue a bond because, after running a credit report, their credit score isn’t high enough.

This is a serious problem because now you’re forced to sit in jail and wait until your court appearance. However, this is an avoidable problem. The answer is simple – keep your credit score up so that you never have to worry about it being too low to be approved. But what exactly is a good credit score? There is no right answer, however, according to ExperianExperian a credit score can range between 300 and 850. See below for an in-depth look at the credit score breakdown, courtesy of Experian.

In order to help ensure you and your loved ones have a good enough credit score to be approved for a bail bond, a home, or anything in between, we’ve compiled a list of three steps you can take starting today.

• Pay your bills on time – According to Credit Karma, one of the most important things lenders care about is the likelihood you are going to pay them back. This is determined through your history of paying your bills on time. By paying all of your bills on time you show lenders that you’re reliable and will uphold your end of the bargain.
• Pay off your debt – In order to grant you a loan, lenders want to ensure that you have enough room in your monthly expenses to be able to afford another bill. Be sure to pay down your current debt as quickly as possible so you have room for unexpected necessities.
• Don’t open too many credit cards at the same time – When you open a new line of credit, it creates a “hard line” on your credit report which stays there for two years. This could create a negative effect on your credit report.

 

If you’re looking to increase your credit score, it’s important to know what your score is. There are a lot of free websites that will allow you to check it for free, utilize them. Keep in mind that improving your credit score takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll want to ensure that you follow these three tips every month and develop good financial habits.