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  #1  
Old 06-06-2018, 02:37 AM
Mini_Alz Mini_Alz is offline
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Default First Time Visiting My Friend (Oak Park Heights)

Hi everyone,

I am very new to all this.
I have been writing to my penpal for over a year now, and I am going to visit him at the end of the month (in a bit over three weeks). He's in a bad headspace and is very lonely, so I want to support him to the best of my abilities.
I live in Europe and even if I'm not just taking the trip to the US for this, I'm still equally excited and nervous about going to the prison and meeting him.
He's at Oak Park Heights, which is a maximum security prison.
Any of you ever visited someone there? I read the guidelines and I think I know everything there is to know about the rules, but I guess what I'm looking for is some personal experience around it.

Also, a more practical question: I don't drive, and I will most likely be staying in Minneapolis. Does anyone know if public transport works on the week-end (visits are only possible on week-ends there) between Minneapolis and Oak Park Heights?

Thank you all !

Alice
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:54 AM
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Hi there I have a good friend in oak park heights and I have been there. The prison is way out in the countryside not on any public transport route. It’s about 1 hour out of Minneapolis by car . You may be better looking at the cost of Uber or taxi or seeing if you can get a car pool .
You could search and see if there are any van services for the prison.
It is max security and they are strict but the visiting process is straight forward. You go into reception and they check your Id against his approved visit list. You then go through a metal detector if you pass you go downstairs. The prison is built underground. . You then sit and wait in the waiting area until they call his name. There are lockers but they are open with no keys. I put my keys in there it was fine.
When they call you you go into a locked area and go through another metal detector. You confirm your name and hand over your Id.
You then go in the visiting room and the officer at the desk will tell you where to sit. The room has no tables and no vending machines. You can not eat or drink.
There are long lines of chairs about five ft apart you sit one side he sits the other. It can be noisy and hard to hear.
There are no restrooms if you need the restroom your visit will end you cannot go back in so make sure you use the rest rooms in the waiting area first.
Pictures are every visit and the inmate buys photo slips.
You hug and kiss at the start and end of the visit but no hand holding during the visit.
I found the staff very pleasant and it was an easy process. The worst bit is no restrooms or food or drink.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:33 AM
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Marseille Marseille is offline
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You can get as close as Stillwater on the Metro. I believe it’s the 294 bus and you’d get on in Saint Paul rather than Minneapolis.

From Stillwater it’s only a couple of miles so an Uber or Lyft should be available.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:10 PM
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I agree with Stillwater. Not familiar with the facility, but live in the twin cities metro so familiar with the area. If you want public transportation from Minneapolis, it does run on the weekends, but with much less fequency.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:39 AM
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I would call the facility ask if there are any transport vans from Minneapolis.
If you are going to use Uber or any taxi service you need a phone with you. The lockers aren’t lockeable and you have to go through initial security to get to them. Ask if you will be allowed to take you cell phone in.
Also make sure you follow the dress code exactly as you won’t be able to take a change of clothing.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:46 AM
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Default Thank you so much!

I thought I would get notified if anyone replied but I didn't, which is why I didn't get back to you guys earlier.
Thank you so so much for all the helpful info.
I actually booked an Airbnb in Stillwater for the two week-ends I'll be there, just to be on the safe side. I'll get a cab from there.

I am very nervous about the whole process.
I read some people bring a change of clothes in their bag just in case.
I think I might do that. I'm going to have to bring my phone anyway so I guess I'll leave everything in my bag, even if the lockers don't lock? I don't know how else I will do.

maytayah, have you been more than once?
When was that? My friend seems to be saying that there are tables (that's a detail though, it doesn't matter if there are).
Thank you for the heads up about the food and drinks. I think I'll be too nervous to want anything anyway, lol.

Thank you again you guys.
I feel less lonely!
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:22 AM
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I went in September 2017 so they may have introduced tables since then. I would ring the facility and ask about taking a cell phone down to the lockers as the lockers are past the first level of security. They will probably be ok but its best to ask. Explain that you will be arriving in a cab.
The lockers dont lock there are no keys, but you should be fine with a change of clothes. I would only bring as much money as you need to pay for a cab.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maytayah View Post
I went in September 2017 so they may have introduced tables since then. I would ring the facility and ask about taking a cell phone down to the lockers as the lockers are past the first level of security. They will probably be ok but its best to ask. Explain that you will be arriving in a cab.
The lockers dont lock there are no keys, but you should be fine with a change of clothes. I would only bring as much money as you need to pay for a cab.
Ok. I will do that. Thanks a lot for your help!
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:52 AM
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I hope you have a good time, make sure your friend gets some photo tickets then you will have a nice souvenir of your visit.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maytayah View Post
I hope you have a good time, make sure your friend gets some photo tickets then you will have a nice souvenir of your visit.
Haha, he actually told me we could take pictures and it stressed me out.
I have quite bad social anxiety and the whole thing seems very intense to me.
But I'll try !

Thank you for your support and your kindness!
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:02 PM
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The pictures are taken in the corner of the room by an inmate photographer. Its all very easy. They show you the pictures on the screen and you can decide if you want them. We had loads done and no one is watching they are all busy with their own visits.
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