Teresa Giudice Formed 'Strong Bonds' with Fellow Inmates in Prison – but Is Banned from Contacting Them for 2 Years
Giudice's lawyer says the reality star can't have contact with felons per the terms of her probation
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, who was released on Wednesday after serving a nearly year-long sentence for fraud, will not be able to keep in touch with the women she met at Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, her lawyer James J. Leonard Jr. tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“She is precluded from doing so because she can’t have contact with felons while she is on supervised release for two years,” he explains.
While the 43-year-old is beyond happy to be reunited with her family, leaving behind the “strong bonds” she created while inside has been hard, Leonard says.
“She shed lots of tears in Danbury the night before she left,” Leonard says. “The women there made her things – it was very clear to me that she had established strong bonds with the women in Danbury.”
Leonard says Giudice was sent off with a variety of gifts from her fellow prisoners, and that she told him she would “cherish these things forever.”
“I read some of the messages in the cards they gave her,” he shares. “They were tearjerkers.”
The lawyer says that if there was any way for the star to return to Danbury and speak with the inmates, “she would go back tomorrow.” He adds, “These women are mothers, daughters, and wives and sisters just like she is.”
In addition to a slew of mementos from her new friends, Giudice also left the facility with three “huge” boxes of fan mail she received during her incarceration, according to Leonard.
“Everything she left behind she gave to other inmates for their use and benefit,” he says.
Giudice will now spend Christmas with her husband Joe and four daughters – Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana.
Leonard said the Giudices will spend a “nice, quiet, low-key” holiday with their extended families.
A source previously told PEOPLE that the family will spend Christmas Eve at sister-in-law Melissa Gorga‘s home.