Visiting an inmate at a prison facility can be challenging and frustrating, especially if you are doing it for the first time. The experience of visiting prison can be daunting for a variety of reasons. Prisons are not like any other place. If you are visiting an inmate who is a family member or friend, it can all add up to the overwhelming feeling of fear and sadness one would get by walking into that place. Planning ahead on what you should expect when visiting a prison facility can help make that experience a little less daunting or scary. Here are some of the things that you should familiarize yourself with ahead of your visit to any prison.
Locate the Facility in Advance
Prison facilities are, most often, located away from cities and busy towns. That makes them hard to find sometimes, especially if you are going to be making your first visit to the facility. One of the main things you should be familiar with in advance is the location of the prison facility. In the US, for instance, they have made it extremely convenient by providing useful information about the prisons in every state. If you are not sure of the facility’s name, you can do a quick search for inmates online in US prisons before your visit by typing in some of their information to find out where the inmate you are planning to visit is located. This would make your life much easier on the day of visitation as you could prepare a road map to the facility and know exactly where you are going without getting lost and ending up arriving late.
Apply for Visitation
Most prisons require their visitors to apply for visitation with some time in advance. That is due to prisons only allowing a set number of people to visit per day or week, and this also depends on the sentence put on the inmate you are planning to visit. Even if you know there is a visitation date ahead, you should still call or get in touch with the prison facility before your visitation date to make sure you are still okay to go visit the inmate and that no circumstances have changed.
Gather All the Necessary Information
When the time comes for you to visit a prison facility, you should expect to be asked a ton of questions every step of the way as well as needing to provide certain documentation. Make sure that you gather all the necessary information and documents that you might need on the day of visiting a prison. Give yourself plenty of time in advance so that you can see if there are any missing documents that you might need to prepare or file for. Personal identification documents would be a must on your visits to any prison facility and sometimes you might be asked to prove your relationship with the inmate if any.
Prisons are official facilities where you would need to dress appropriately even if you are only visiting an inmate for a limited time. Every facility or institution has its own regulations when it comes to how visitors should be dressed, but the general rules are that visitors should be appropriately dressed in an attire that does not in any way resemble that of the inmates or the guards. Visitors should also make sure that their outfits are not inappropriately revealing or offensive to any group of people. It is also preferred if the visitors refrain from wearing any accessories to avoid any hassles when entering the facility.
Expect to Be Searched
All prisons are highly guarded, some more than others. That is why when you are going to visit an inmate at any prison facility, you should expect to be searched thoroughly. To make that process a little easier on yourself, make sure you wear practical clothing and that you hold a minimum number of items when entering the facilities. In some prisons, you may be asked to leave your belongings or at least any electronic devices behind before entering.
Know What to Bring
When you are visiting an inmate at a prison facility, you might be tempted to bring them certain items with you on your visit. There are some cases where you can bring in some items for the inmate with you, however, not everything would be allowed into the facility and even if they are, there is a great chance you would have to leave those items with the guards or prison security to check them before they get to the inmate. Usually, every prison facility would have a list of permitted and prohibited items that could enter the facility, so make sure you check that list before you visit.
Upon your arrival at any prison facility, you should be mindful of all your actions and show respect to all the officers in charge to ensure you have a smooth experience visiting the inmate you want to see. At the end of the day, prison officers are the authoritative figures of the facility and you should show them the respect you would any other authoritative figure. Make sure you address those in charge calmly and respectfully and be sure to respect the time you are required to arrive at the facility as arriving late would not only be disrespectful but could also result in your visitation being canceled altogether.
Supervise Any Minors
If you absolutely have to visit a prison facility with children, make sure you supervise them at all times to ensure none of them are causing any trouble. It is advisable that you do not take any minors with you on your visits to the prison, however, if the inmate is a first-degree relative that they have a right to see regularly, just make sure they know how to behave in the facility.
Prisons can be overwhelming to visit, especially if you are entering the facility for the first time. To make your visiting experience a little less daunting and a little smoother, make sure you do some research in advance about the prison and all the rules it has in place. Remember to dress appropriately and show respect to everyone in charge so that you can make the most of your visit to any inmate.