Welcome to the Prison Talk Online Community! Take a Minute and Sign Up Today!






Go Back   Prison Talk > FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS > Adult Children and Siblings of Inmates
Register Entertainment FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Adult Children and Siblings of Inmates For Adult Children, brothers and sisters of prisoners

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-18-2017, 09:13 AM
anonymooose anonymooose is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: south Australia
Posts: 36
Thanks: 39
Thanked 31 Times in 12 Posts
Default First time visting my dad in jail

I am visiting my dad this Saturday and I'm so nervous and scared for so many reasons. I have anxiety and paranoia so just being at a prison with someone that could've murdered someone is scaring me. I know I shouldn't judge someone for a crime they committed but my paranoia kicks in. Also all of the procedures you have to go through before you're allowed to see them? Like the swab, eye scan and finger prints. I'm scared that I'm going to lose it and start crying like a baby when I see my dad In there, in jail clothing.. and my dad doesn't really act well to crying. What do I even talk about with him? What if inmates look at me weirdly... What do I wear so I don't attract attention? It's summer here. Are the guards nice there? I've heard from people online that when they visited their dad they felt I credibly uncomfortable because the males would perv on them.. and if my dad saw that he wouldn't react very well. How do I stop myself from losing my shit and be the strong one ? How do I act? If another inmate says hello, do I respond? Or will I get told off.. can I take anything with me? Like photos, any of his belongings?

I know nothing about prisons, other than what I've seen on TV and I'm hoping it's not like that.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-18-2017, 09:51 AM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
Site Moderator

PTO Site Moderator Staff Superstar Winner 

Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 26,436
Thanks: 39,358
Thanked 19,313 Times in 11,356 Posts
Default

I don't know how Australian prisons are, but my experiences in US federal prisons were nothing at all like the sensationalized TV shows presented them. The TV producers seem to look for the most bizarre folks to follow, along with the bloodiest incidents. Ratings driven TV, called "reality" LOL.
__________________
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to fbopnomore For This Useful Post:
GingerM (12-19-2017)
  #3  
Old 12-19-2017, 07:43 AM
GingerM's Avatar
GingerM GingerM is offline
Site Moderator

PTO Site Moderator Staff Superstar Award 

Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 4,672
Thanks: 5,317
Thanked 6,131 Times in 2,506 Posts
Default

Quote:
just being at a prison with someone that could've murdered someone is scaring me. I know I shouldn't judge someone for a crime they committed but my paranoia kicks in. Also all of the procedures you have to go through before you're allowed to see them? Like the swab, eye scan and finger prints. I'm scared that I'm going to lose it and start crying like a baby when I see my dad In there, in jail clothing.. and my dad doesn't really act well to crying. What do I even talk about with him? What if inmates look at me weirdly... What do I wear so I don't attract attention? It's summer here. Are the guards nice there? I've heard from people online that when they visited their dad they felt I credibly uncomfortable because the males would perv on them.. and if my dad saw that he wouldn't react very well. How do I stop myself from losing my shit and be the strong one ? How do I act? If another inmate says hello, do I respond? Or will I get told off.. can I take anything with me? Like photos, any of his belongings?
Some things I found out when I visited for the first time that I was not expecting:

1. All other inmates who are visiting people are very focused on their visitor, not on anyone else (unless they make a scene). Visits are so rare, and inmates get to see their loved ones so infrequently that they are completely absorbed in their own visit and don't give one hoot about you or who you're there to see. In other words, other inmates won't bother you one jot.

All the procedures that you'll have to go through to see him? The guards process so many visitors, that to them it's just an assembly line. You'll end up feeling less like you were violated and more like a cabbage being run down the line. It's very impersonal and at worst, they'll ignore you in a "you're done, go over there, NEXT!" kind of way.

Crying? Yes, you might. If your dad doesn't react well to sad or angry crying, tell him you're just so very happy to see him. Tell him that before he sees the tears if you can. Because you probably will be happy to see that he's safe and not harmed.

I don't know what kind of uniforms they wear where he's at. But if you visit him more than once, you'll get used to seeing it. It may be a shock at first, but as soon as you start talking, you won't notice his clothing anymore - especially since half of the people at visiting will be wearing the same clothing. In Oregon, inmates wear blue jeans and blue tee shirts or sweatshirts. It's not as big of an adjustment when they look like the same clothes we see outside the fence. If the prison he's at makes them wear something more like what you see on TV (orange or tan jumpsuits), then it will be more of a shock initially, but I bet by the end of the visit, you'll be watching his face and his clothing will have become just part of the background. People are hard wired to pay attention to faces, and his face will not have changed.

As for what to talk about, I would start by telling him you genuinely want to know how he's faring. Then let him talk. And let him ask questions - he's going to have a lot of them. Remember that he has no significant communication with the outside world now - visits are a large source of news to him, especially about the family and friends that he has left behind. My Dad's questions were always about family and friends and who did I think he could contact without a rebuff. And he still wanted to know how they were doing, even if they didn't want to talk to him. Then you can ask him questions - I wanted to get a picture in my mind of how everything worked and how he lived because he'd talk about things but I had no context to put them in (like how was the dorm arranged that he was first in, then later, when he moved to a cell, how was the cell arranged - I just needed the mental image to put things in context). How did clothing work, how did linens work, that kind of thing. And the obvious: how was he holding up, had he made any friends (he WILL make friends), was he getting the medical attention he needed, etc.

As for what to wear, I'd go casual conservative. The prison will have clothing guidelines, so make sure you know them before you go visit. If it were hot here, I would wear thin trousers and a shirt that was opaque but breathed well. Or a long skirt that lets air move well. There were a lot of women trying to "dress sexy" for their men, but you and I are visiting our Dads, not our boyfriends or husbands, so that's made easier. Just make sure you find out what you're allowed to wear. They'll probably have rules about colors you can't wear and types of clothing you can't wear (can't wear blue in Oregon prisons for visitations, can't wear skirts that are more than 1inch above the center of the knee, can't wear sheer fabrics, must wear a bra, can't wear a bra with metal in it, no shorts, no hoodies etc etc). Know those rules, then bring an extra set of clothing with you that makes you look frumpy - you're not there to put on a fashion show, you're there to visit your Dad. No one else will be paying attention. I used to wear summer hiking clothing when I visited in hot weather because where my Dad was, they didn't have air conditioning for a long time. Or heat either, really, so I'd dress in layers when it was cold because the visiting room was really small and with that many bodies in it during visitation, it would get incredibly hot.

As for guards, they're like any other profession. You can have some nice ones and some grumpy ones. Do what they tell you, don't talk back, don't argue. Some will be nice, some will be direct, some can be snarly. Be civil, be courteous, smile and nod and say please and thank you (even if they don't deserve it) and all will be fine.

Usually each prison has its own rules about what you can and can't bring inside. You'll need to find that out, either online or by calling the prison, before you go.

I have a hard time believing that other inmates are going to pay a lick of attention to you. They'll be much too focused on their own visitors. Don't draw attention to them and don't stare. Don't point at someone either. If you want/need to point someone out, do it with a telling look or a subtle nod of the head or a 'chin point' - never ever point with your finger. It's unlikely that another inmate will say hello (or anything else) to you. If they do, you can nod or say hi back, then dismiss him from your mind and walk away. If another inmate is approaching you at visitation, it's never because they're just being nice - especially if you're new.

How do you hold your shit together? I can't answer that one. I mentally put myself in a spot where my sole goal was to find out the state of my Dad's existence and I would make myself focus on that. At the time, my biggest fear during my first visit was whether I would even have a Dad at the end of the visit, so your situation and mine are quite different in that regard.

I will warn you to be prepared for the sight of the prison. The fences, wires, guard towers, guards... all of that can be intimidating. I grew up on Army bases during the cold war, so I found the prison's security to be kind of cute, but I'm not most people. Most people say that the sight was intimidating. It's just another building, and honestly, many expensive private homes have higher security than prisons do. So if you think of it as visiting your Dad in his new 'home', it may be easier to frame it that way.

I managed (barely) to keep myself contained and not lose my mind until I walked into the parking lot. Then I promptly had a small nervous breakdown, but they don't like people lingering in parking lots, so I had to drive to the nearest parking lot off prison grounds, then let myself have a monstrous can't-catch-my-breath crying jag. Then I cried all the way home.

BUT! It gets better. Humans are highly adaptable critters. Eventually, I got so used to it that I started thinking of the visiting room as my Dad's living room. I'd go visit and we'd sit in the "living room" and have coffee and play cribbage and chat about the latest in our lives and catch up on things... and it was pretty much like visiting him at home, except his home had moved, and vending machine coffee is awful.

One thing I can tell you - it will not be as bad as your fears are making it out to be. Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear that can prey on a human mind. Once you've done it once (and just follow everyone else there for visiting, it will make you feel safer), it's easier the second time. Also, other visitors are often helpful. If you ask someone something, they'll often go to great lengths to help, because they also remember the first time they visited. Heck, I used to carry extra clothing in my car for other people to use. I had one pair of sweat pants sized huge that got used by more people than I can remember because the guards didn't like what the visitor was wearing so I'd let them put the sweat pants on over their pants so that they could still visit and not lose time having to go buy different clothes or have to abandon their visit entirely.

Hang in there, follow the crowd of visitors, call the prison to get as much information as possible about visitation before you go. Then go in admitting to yourself that you're scared but also reminding yourself that if visitation was truly a threat, the prison simply wouldn't allow it. And people wouldn't go.

I'm not making light of your nervous state either. I was so nervous that I was most concerned that I might vomit in the parking lot before I ever got inside. It was nerve-wracking. But each successive visit gets easier, until it seems 'normal' to visit your Dad there.

All I can say is if you let your fear prevent you from visiting once, you'll never visit him at all, and that would be a shame for both of you. And it's okay to have a complete meltdown inside or outside. If anyone notices, they will feel sympathy for you because they'll remember what it was like for them. And most people won't say anything.

Hang in there. Do what you have to do to get through this first time. I kept telling myself that I only had to survive 3 hours (the length of visitation), and after 3 hours, I could go have a mental breakdown. Just 3 hours. I've spent longer than that waiting to board a plane. I can survive 3 hours. Then I'll have my nervous breakdown. And that's pretty much exactly what I did. I held it together (barely) for my 3 hours, then had a nervous breakdown for the rest of the day. The next time, visitation was much easier because I knew what to expect.

I wish you much luck and offer much support. It gets easier, I promise.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to GingerM For This Useful Post:
fbopnomore (12-19-2017), Sarianna (12-19-2017)
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Visiting a LO in Jail versus Visting Professionally lucky71013 Arizona Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail Discussions 7 03-08-2017 07:51 PM
First time visting FCI La Tuna ssuz Federal Prison Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail 13 07-27-2013 02:28 PM
visting sons father for the first time at Belmont Lmama04 Ohio Prison Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail 15 03-09-2010 08:06 PM
Visting my man for the frist time need some advice LadyKisses GPT Phones, Mail, and Visitation Discussions 1 09-25-2008 08:33 PM
Visting for 1st time in March 2008, any suggestions? Jessiegirl813 California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, Corcoran (SATF) 25 02-13-2008 01:20 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:08 AM.
Copyright © 2001- 2017 Prison Talk Online
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website Design & Custom vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media
Message Board Statistics