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Old 10-20-2019, 04:50 PM
Girl22472 Girl22472 is offline
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Default Insights after my first visitation at FCI Forrest City

So I know there is not a lot of information about this prison and how things are so I thought after my first visit I could give some insight.

To be fair, many of the people that have been going there for a while said this weekend was rather easy, so I'm thankful for that but it didn't mean it was any less stressful. According to everyone it really depends on who is at the desk as to how smoothly things go and I could totally see that considering I saw many things that were stated as not allowed on the visitation list that made it's way through and by all accounts would not have done so if it was one woman in particular, but there are a few sticklers I guess.

As a first timer there are a few things to be aware. You need to know the inmate's register number and you're vehicle information (make/model and license plate number). The latter isn't as important as the first. Generally I know the number off the top of my head but under pressure I couldn't remember. Someone told me it was no big deal, they would get it, but it can be. There were about 5 of us that were new and didn't know the number on demand. We were the last in because she looked it up for us and let us know that was why. I was told the other woman at the desk won't even take your paper unless it's on there.

They did not use the ION scanner but everyone there says they have seen it used before. But to keep your mind at ease apparently when they use it, they use it on everyone so you don't have to stress wondering if one person gets through and you'll be stopped and scanned. The machine is out in the open so you'll know if they are using it... Then you can stress about it...lol

Make sure to wear PLENTY of clothes!! The visitation room is like 50 degrees.... NO JOKE! One of the guards said that there is no temp regulator that the valve is either open or closed and this time of year it's difficult to judge. It was 80 degrees outside today and still super cold. I am not exaggerating. I love cold areas...even this was too cold. If you have kids keep them especially covered. Sweaters aren't supposed to have pockets and shirts and sweatshirts should be plain. But, as cold as it was in there many of the inmates told their families it was warm compared to what it is for them. Coats aren't coming out for another few weeks and I think I heard one say heat comes on November 1st.

Biggest thing I saw causing issues going in was underwire bras. It happened a few times both yesterday and today. You're only choices at that point is to tear the wire out (they won't let you go without) or drive to Wal-Mart and buy a new one so best bet is just don't wear one. I wore sport bras so those are safe.

If you have any metal plates in your body don't bother unless you have proof and better yet, a card from your doctor. One mother didn't know about the card the first time she came but she had taken her operation papers and that worked. Since then she's had a card but sets it off every time and they still use the wand on her to make sure that it's just her knees.

You cannot be on the grounds before 7:45... there's a line of cars outside the grounds on the road. If you're going in the morning be there before 9. At that point they close visitation until after count. They will open them back up between 11 and 11:30 and you're stuck outside waiting if you come too early.

Make sure your money is in a zip lock bag or a clear plastic case.

If you're on 40S on the way down about 3 miles before you turn off onto AR1 (you turn off to the prison from there), there is a Rest Area with bathrooms. It's a great place to stop to use the bathroom, stretch, change shoes... whatever before you get to the prison.

As far as hotels... I heard some horror stories but between here and what hubby has heard West Memphis was the place to stay. I went to Trivago and go a room for $55 a night and it's a nice room. It's a 45 minute drive to the prison but at least for me that was welcoming. The roads in West Memphis was very confusing to me so I used a lot of GPS. However I do warn against putting in say the hotel name instead of the address. At least in my case it had me in circles until I literally put the address. If you visit you'll understand. They have the main highway and then they basically have a road called "service rd" that goes around and in most areas is one way and of course there is North, South, East and West Service Road. I haven't had much trouble with say Walmart or places to eat with GPS.
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Old 10-20-2019, 05:14 PM
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Thank you so much for posting this!! PTO has "guests" that read these forums as well as registered members (some who have never posted). There is no way to calculate just how many people your post will help

....I'll move it to Federal Visitation for you
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Old 10-20-2019, 05:17 PM
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Thank you for the helpful update about visitation at FCI Forrest City. First visits are always stressful, so knowing some of what to expect is always appreciated.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Girl22472 View Post
So I know there is not a lot of information about this prison and how things are so I thought after my first visit I could give some insight.

To be fair, many of the people that have been going there for a while said this weekend was rather easy, so I'm thankful for that but it didn't mean it was any less stressful. According to everyone it really depends on who is at the desk as to how smoothly things go and I could totally see that considering I saw many things that were stated as not allowed on the visitation list that made it's way through and by all accounts would not have done so if it was one woman in particular, but there are a few sticklers I guess.

As a first timer there are a few things to be aware. You need to know the inmate's register number and you're vehicle information (make/model and license plate number). The latter isn't as important as the first. Generally I know the number off the top of my head but under pressure I couldn't remember. Someone told me it was no big deal, they would get it, but it can be. There were about 5 of us that were new and didn't know the number on demand. We were the last in because she looked it up for us and let us know that was why. I was told the other woman at the desk won't even take your paper unless it's on there.

They did not use the ION scanner but everyone there says they have seen it used before. But to keep your mind at ease apparently when they use it, they use it on everyone so you don't have to stress wondering if one person gets through and you'll be stopped and scanned. The machine is out in the open so you'll know if they are using it... Then you can stress about it...lol

Make sure to wear PLENTY of clothes!! The visitation room is like 50 degrees.... NO JOKE! One of the guards said that there is no temp regulator that the valve is either open or closed and this time of year it's difficult to judge. It was 80 degrees outside today and still super cold. I am not exaggerating. I love cold areas...even this was too cold. If you have kids keep them especially covered. Sweaters aren't supposed to have pockets and shirts and sweatshirts should be plain. But, as cold as it was in there many of the inmates told their families it was warm compared to what it is for them. Coats aren't coming out for another few weeks and I think I heard one say heat comes on November 1st.

Biggest thing I saw causing issues going in was underwire bras. It happened a few times both yesterday and today. You're only choices at that point is to tear the wire out (they won't let you go without) or drive to Wal-Mart and buy a new one so best bet is just don't wear one. I wore sport bras so those are safe.

If you have any metal plates in your body don't bother unless you have proof and better yet, a card from your doctor. One mother didn't know about the card the first time she came but she had taken her operation papers and that worked. Since then she's had a card but sets it off every time and they still use the wand on her to make sure that it's just her knees.

You cannot be on the grounds before 7:45... there's a line of cars outside the grounds on the road. If you're going in the morning be there before 9. At that point they close visitation until after count. They will open them back up between 11 and 11:30 and you're stuck outside waiting if you come too early.

Make sure your money is in a zip lock bag or a clear plastic case.

If you're on 40S on the way down about 3 miles before you turn off onto AR1 (you turn off to the prison from there), there is a Rest Area with bathrooms. It's a great place to stop to use the bathroom, stretch, change shoes... whatever before you get to the prison.

As far as hotels... I heard some horror stories but between here and what hubby has heard West Memphis was the place to stay. I went to Trivago and go a room for $55 a night and it's a nice room. It's a 45 minute drive to the prison but at least for me that was welcoming. The roads in West Memphis was very confusing to me so I used a lot of GPS. However I do warn against putting in say the hotel name instead of the address. At least in my case it had me in circles until I literally put the address. If you visit you'll understand. They have the main highway and then they basically have a road called "service rd" that goes around and in most areas is one way and of course there is North, South, East and West Service Road. I haven't had much trouble with say Walmart or places to eat with GPS.
When my friend was at Forrest City I stayed at a hotel in Brinkley, AR. Being from NW Arkansas it didn't make sense to drive all the way down to Memphis (only to backtrack). Brinkley is okay...not a lot of restaurant choices but, then again, I was there to see my friend (not vacation lol).
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:35 AM
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I like having distance from the prison. So when I left at night I could Regroup emotionally for the next day.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:15 PM
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Please also note that the information is specific to that facility... every resort has their own sets of norms and while they might be similar, what the staff focuses on might be very different...
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
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Please also note that the information is specific to that facility... every resort has their own sets of norms and while they might be similar, what the staff focuses on might be very different...
Absolutely... that's why this was specifically for Forrest City
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