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Old 05-22-2018, 09:10 PM
LittleBean13 LittleBean13 is offline
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Default Boyfriend Self Surrended to Atwater Camp Last Week, Still No Phone Call

Hi Everyone,

I'm new here, but I first want to thank everyone for the information provided. It's helped me a lot so far! My boyfriend self surrendered last week (Tuesday) at USP Atwater. He was sentenced to 10 months and was going to the satellite camp there. His "crime" is nonviolent, not drug related, minor hence his very short sentence. I still haven't heard from him, no call, no letter, nothing and it's been a whole week

I sent him money through western union last week and again today, but no idea if he has received it or if he knows it's there. I've called Atwater a couple times and on Sunday spoke to a counselor who seemed nice, and I asked why he hasn't been able to call. She said it take 3-5 days but it's been an entire week now and his family and I are getting worried.

I've learned a lot from this site since he went away, things I wish we had both known before he left so that we would have been better prepared. He has never been incarcerated and I'm just worried about how he is doing. How long does it take to get phone numbers approved to call? I also sent a letter and sent my visitation application in, does anyone know how long that takes to get approved?

If anyone knows the process for getting set up there, like what would he be dealing with right now? Would he have a bed yet, his work assignment, does he know he has money for the commissary?

I'm having a hard time with him gone, we haven't gone a day without talking since we met over 2 years ago. I'm mostly just worried about how he is feeling cut off from his family and I. He is a very sweet and sensitive person, he cried when we said goodbye. His sentence is thankfully very short, and I know the beginning is the hardest. I just want to be able to talk to him! Any help or information is appreciated, thank you!
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:08 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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3 to 5 days is normal, but many abnormal things can happen to delay it. I was on a bop bus that stopped at the camp in Morgantown, WV where 10 inmates got off. 2 of them went straight to their housing unit, but the other 8 went to the SHU to await an open bed. The same thing happened to me twice, and I couldn't use the phones or mail a letter either time until I was moved to a GP bed. Another fairly common glitch is when the counselor is either on vacation or is ill. No counselor, no phones.

I hope he can call you soon.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:47 AM
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3 to 5 days is normal, but many abnormal things can happen to delay it. I was on a bop bus that stopped at the camp in Morgantown, WV where 10 inmates got off. 2 of them went straight to their housing unit, but the other 8 went to the SHU to await an open bed. The same thing happened to me twice, and I couldn't use the phones or mail a letter either time until I was moved to a GP bed. Another fairly common glitch is when the counselor is either on vacation or is ill. No counselor, no phones.

I hope he can call you soon.
Thank you for your reply. His das drove him straight to the camp, and I thought things would be easier since it's a camp and they seem to have more privileges. His counselor told me on Sunday they would try to get his phone stuff set up by Monday (two days ago) but that obviously didn't happen. At the end of the call she asked my name and then told me she would let him know I called to check on him, which I thought was nice since I read they won't give messages to inmates. I didn't ask her to either, I was surprised she said that, I hope she really does let him know! I'm sending another letter today, ordered some books for him yesterday, I just hope he gets it! I can't imagine what he is dealing with and the frustration of not being able to communicate with his family.
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:39 AM
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Two things that are out of the counselor's control are that he has to wait for his 9 digit phone pin # to arrive at mail call, and possibly also get past the "voice recognition" part of the inmate phone system (which has been added since I left, so I really don't know much about it). One week was more likely than 3 to 5 days for me.
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Old 05-23-2018, 02:49 PM
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Two things that are out of the counselor's control are that he has to wait for his 9 digit phone pin # to arrive at mail call, and possibly also get past the "voice recognition" part of the inmate phone system (which has been added since I left, so I really don't know much about it). One week was more likely than 3 to 5 days for me.
Thank you for the info! Like I said, there is so much I wish we would have known before he went in. I feel bad for him and what he is dealing with. It's been a little over a week, so I'm hoping I'll hear from him in the next two days. I mailed out another letter today with my phone number, address and email just in case he lost the list. Also just to let him know I'm here and to be patient and strong through the process. This is all so new to me, I really appreciate the help!
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:39 PM
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Things will get easier as you are able to figure out some of the roadblocks the bop erects in front of just about everything. Try to remain patient as that process occurs.
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:16 PM
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Things will get easier as you are able to figure out some of the roadblocks the bop erects in front of just about everything. Try to remain patient as that process occurs.
I just don't understand how they don't let people contact the outside world. I'm not sure if he can even send anything or if he knows he has money for things. I just have so many questions. I might call again today to see what's going on.
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:58 PM
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Once he is activated on the ITS phone system, he can check his commissary account balance and the balance in his prepaid phone minutes account using the phone & his pin number. Most prisons also have a terminal (often on the outside of the commissary building) where he can check some details about the account. That includes deposits, who made them, plus any withdrawals for things like phone minute and commissary purchases.

As of now, the only thing you can send him from outside are books. Minimum and low security prisons allow you to send him paperback books directly through the US Post Office. All hardback books must arrive in the mail (no fedex or UPS) from a bookstore or publisher. In Medium security, on up, even paperback books have to arrive the same way.

Another common issue with the bop is not being able to get any information over the phone, plus the inmates often are retaliated against by the staff because of calls from family members. Not right for sure, but it is what it is.

Ask your policy questions here, and any specific issues will have to come from your boyfriend.
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:28 PM
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Once he is activated on the ITS phone system, he can check his commissary account balance and the balance in his prepaid phone minutes account using the phone & his pin number. Most prisons also have a terminal (often on the outside of the commissary building) where he can check some details about the account. That includes deposits, who made them, plus any withdrawals for things like phone minute and commissary purchases.

As of now, the only thing you can send him from outside are books. Minimum and low security prisons allow you to send him paperback books directly through the US Post Office. All hardback books must arrive in the mail (no fedex or UPS) from a bookstore or publisher. In Medium security, on up, even paperback books have to arrive the same way.

Another common issue with the bop is not being able to get any information over the phone, plus the inmates often are retaliated against by the staff because of calls from family members. Not right for sure, but it is what it is.

Ask your policy questions here, and any specific issues will have to come from your boyfriend.
Yea, I've been reading a lot on these forums and trying to learn all of the little things. I've sent letters, and ordered paperback books from amazon that were supposed to be delivered today. I was worried about him being retaliated against for me calling I actually tried again today and the phones at Atwater aren't working. Doesn't ring at all, his sister tried as well and the same thing. I sent an email (not mentioning him) just asking about the phones and they emailed back saying they were down and didn't have a day or time when they'd be working, but "in the near future". Whatever that means.

Just hard because I know he is going through it, and I'm honestly getting worried something bad happened. He is 6'5, bodybuilder, looks like Thor, so he stands out and might come off as intimidating. But completely not a violent person, super chill. I just worried about him being targeted, even though I've read the camp is low key. Still waiting to hear from him, it's been 10 days now.
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:51 AM
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My husband is in a camp and to address a few of the comments in the posts --

Voice recognition -- according to my husband, it is a pain in the ass. Sometimes it takes him 12 tries to get the call to go through. He has to say everything exactly right each time. He said the worst is when it goes through and then I don't answer, or if I forget my phone is on mute or something like that and he has to call back. The other day, I answered and for some reason I could hear him, but he couldn't hear me. It counted as a call for him, which then meant he couldn't make another call for 30 minutes! Ugh. So he had to wait until later.

BOP Inmate locator - check online and confirm he is indeed at this location, just to be sure he isn't being moved around for some reason

Money on his Account - I think you said he has $ on his account, but there may be a possibility, he spent it all on commissary items. Before my husband went in we went through the commissary list and what he needed to buy, but also wanted to make sure he didn't use it all so he would have $ for phone and email.

Email - you should receive an email from Corrlinks requesting permission to activate an account so that he can then email you.

I didn't get a call from my husband for 2 days, and email was maybe 3 days after he went in. We email a lot more than we call since phone calls are limited. If the prison is overcrowded, they may be keeping him separate from everyone else, or if there is anyone he can't be around, they might be keeping him in the SHU temporarily.

Also, in order to do email and make phone calls, he needs to have the list of email addresses, street addresses and phone numbers and enter them in. Same with mailing letters.

10 days is a long time to not have gotten a letter, but the snail mail is like 10 snails, it is really slow and there is no mail on weekends.

My husband has been in a camp since December, it is safe, no fear of being attacked or anything like that. He said the only thing that happens there is a couple guys have gotten beat up because they owe money to other inmates for gambling or something like that, but otherwise, everyone leaves each other alone.

Mine also is a white collar with a short sentence and the only real issue he has dealt with is jealousy over that, as well as some pettiness of other inmates when I visit. I don't visit every week (I'm too far), but even if I got twice in one month, he gets some jealous comments about it. He doesn't brag at all, but he can just sense some of the animosity. So instead of people being happy he has a visitor, or happy that someone might be getting released, they're petty and jealous. Very high schoolish. Your b/f when you do finally talk to him, should be aware of that, and keep his mouth shut about having such a short sentence and not complain about it. He will quickly learn how fortunate he is that he is only there for 10 months, because many guys are not. My husband will serve just over 13 months and is genuinely happy when someone is about to get released, and like I said, can't believe how some others act.

Feel free to message me any questions you may have.
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Old 05-26-2018, 11:43 AM
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My husband is in a camp and to address a few of the comments in the posts --

Voice recognition -- according to my husband, it is a pain in the ass. Sometimes it takes him 12 tries to get the call to go through. He has to say everything exactly right each time. He said the worst is when it goes through and then I don't answer, or if I forget my phone is on mute or something like that and he has to call back. The other day, I answered and for some reason I could hear him, but he couldn't hear me. It counted as a call for him, which then meant he couldn't make another call for 30 minutes! Ugh. So he had to wait until later.

BOP Inmate locator - check online and confirm he is indeed at this location, just to be sure he isn't being moved around for some reason

Money on his Account - I think you said he has $ on his account, but there may be a possibility, he spent it all on commissary items. Before my husband went in we went through the commissary list and what he needed to buy, but also wanted to make sure he didn't use it all so he would have $ for phone and email.

Email - you should receive an email from Corrlinks requesting permission to activate an account so that he can then email you.

I didn't get a call from my husband for 2 days, and email was maybe 3 days after he went in. We email a lot more than we call since phone calls are limited. If the prison is overcrowded, they may be keeping him separate from everyone else, or if there is anyone he can't be around, they might be keeping him in the SHU temporarily.

Also, in order to do email and make phone calls, he needs to have the list of email addresses, street addresses and phone numbers and enter them in. Same with mailing letters.

10 days is a long time to not have gotten a letter, but the snail mail is like 10 snails, it is really slow and there is no mail on weekends.

My husband has been in a camp since December, it is safe, no fear of being attacked or anything like that. He said the only thing that happens there is a couple guys have gotten beat up because they owe money to other inmates for gambling or something like that, but otherwise, everyone leaves each other alone.

Mine also is a white collar with a short sentence and the only real issue he has dealt with is jealousy over that, as well as some pettiness of other inmates when I visit. I don't visit every week (I'm too far), but even if I got twice in one month, he gets some jealous comments about it. He doesn't brag at all, but he can just sense some of the animosity. So instead of people being happy he has a visitor, or happy that someone might be getting released, they're petty and jealous. Very high schoolish. Your b/f when you do finally talk to him, should be aware of that, and keep his mouth shut about having such a short sentence and not complain about it. He will quickly learn how fortunate he is that he is only there for 10 months, because many guys are not. My husband will serve just over 13 months and is genuinely happy when someone is about to get released, and like I said, can't believe how some others act.

Feel free to message me any questions you may have.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful message! I did finally receive a call from him yesterday. He is in the SHU and is going to be transferred to another facility because a person he testified against is at his current facility. Such a bummer because we don't know when or where he will be moved. He said it was the only call he would get for 30 days and wanted me to call his counselor, but the phones there have been down for most of this week so I haven't been able to get through. He got the books I sent, but not my letters yet. He got the money as well, but said he never got his commissary items and think they lost his slip or something so has to wait. A guard gave him a stamp and he wrote a letter to his family about the situation of him being moved, they got it yesterday just before he called me.

I knew something was up because it was taking so long to hear from him. I did speak to a counselor last week but she couldn't tell me anything. She did let him know I called though, he confirmed yesterday that she did actually tell him which made me happy. He is in good spirits, said he was totally fine and not to worry at all. That everyone was nice, a guard even let him borrow a book before mine arrived. Shame he can't stay at Atwater, I've heard it's a good facility and it was the closest to his family and I to visit. Praying he gets to go to another camp in state!

Thank you again for your message, much appreciated!
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:58 PM
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful message! I did finally receive a call from him yesterday. He is in the SHU and is going to be transferred to another facility because a person he testified against is at his current facility. Such a bummer because we don't know when or where he will be moved. He said it was the only call he would get for 30 days and wanted me to call his counselor, but the phones there have been down for most of this week so I haven't been able to get through. He got the books I sent, but not my letters yet. He got the money as well, but said he never got his commissary items and think they lost his slip or something so has to wait. A guard gave him a stamp and he wrote a letter to his family about the situation of him being moved, they got it yesterday just before he called me.

I knew something was up because it was taking so long to hear from him. I did speak to a counselor last week but she couldn't tell me anything. She did let him know I called though, he confirmed yesterday that she did actually tell him which made me happy. He is in good spirits, said he was totally fine and not to worry at all. That everyone was nice, a guard even let him borrow a book before mine arrived. Shame he can't stay at Atwater, I've heard it's a good facility and it was the closest to his family and I to visit. Praying he gets to go to another camp in state!

Thank you again for your message, much appreciated!
Ironically, something similar happened to one of my husband's "friends" at the camp he's at. Found out just before he SS that someone he was a co-defendant with (or something like that) was going to be at the same camp, so instead of delaying his SS, they made him show up and then immediately transferred him to a higher level security and kept him in the SHU. When his wife visited him, they had to visit through glass. Transporting him to where he finally got to be (where he is now), took him I think to 3 different prisons, including the horrible MCC in Chicago, which is the last place you want to be. This poor guy is in his mid-60's and white collar. No one should be surprised they don't have their shit together, yet it doesn't seem like it would be that complicated to have a data base that would cross reference who they can and can't be together with. Although, my husband has told me of gangs in his prison that are together and even roommates together, and he is blown away that they allow these guys to be together. So , just one more thing the system is messed up over. Hang in there. Also, once he gets settled wherev he is, try to find a wife, or another g/f or family member that you can connect with and have email contact with so that when/if there's a lockdown or some other issue, their family member can check on your LO and vice versa. My husband has someone like that and it is reassuring that I can reach out to other people to compare notes when I haven't heard from him.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:25 PM
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Ironically, something similar happened to one of my husband's "friends" at the camp he's at. Found out just before he SS that someone he was a co-defendant with (or something like that) was going to be at the same camp, so instead of delaying his SS, they made him show up and then immediately transferred him to a higher level security and kept him in the SHU. When his wife visited him, they had to visit through glass. Transporting him to where he finally got to be (where he is now), took him I think to 3 different prisons, including the horrible MCC in Chicago, which is the last place you want to be. This poor guy is in his mid-60's and white collar. No one should be surprised they don't have their shit together, yet it doesn't seem like it would be that complicated to have a data base that would cross reference who they can and can't be together with. Although, my husband has told me of gangs in his prison that are together and even roommates together, and he is blown away that they allow these guys to be together. So , just one more thing the system is messed up over. Hang in there. Also, once he gets settled wherev he is, try to find a wife, or another g/f or family member that you can connect with and have email contact with so that when/if there's a lockdown or some other issue, their family member can check on your LO and vice versa. My husband has someone like that and it is reassuring that I can reach out to other people to compare notes when I haven't heard from him.
I ended up driving down today. I didn't get to see him, which I expected, but it wasn't a waste of a trip. Everyone was very helpful, cleared up some things and answered all of my questions. They all knew exactly who my sweetie was, and they felt really bad for his situation. Funnily enough, the guard (sorry if that's not the appropriate term) who works his unit was on his way in when I was there. He stopped and talked to me for a bit and said they were trying to take good care of my bf, make sure he was okay and yea what he is going through sucks. He looked genuinely distressed and was very heartfelt in his assurance.

They said they don't really see this type of thing happen there often, and they were surprised. Also said they've seen some people wait several months for a transfers. Like cool, his whole sentence is going to be spent like that, just horrible. One phone call a month and letters, but at least he can get visitations. I have to send my visitation application again and address it to his counselor, so that's getting sent out tomorrow. The person I spoke to before told me to adress it to my guy, obviously wrong and why they haven't received or processed it yet.

The good news is that everyone was very nice, genuinely warm and the gentleman who was on his way to my baby's unit was going to tell him I came. I trust that they are doing their best, and from all I've heard Atwater is a good facility. It's just such a stupid situation, at least everyone else knows it. Really a shame he can't be there. He would be settled in and at least having some semblance of a life, not spending 23 hours in a cell.

I'm glad I went down, I was a woman on a mission and I feel better knowing all I know. Still upsetting, but there isn't much that can be done. I'm hoping he gets my letters soon and applies for a transfer furlough. And praying he gets assigned to another CA facility ASAP. Thank you again for all your help and advice!
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Old 05-28-2018, 10:07 PM
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I ended up driving down today. I didn't get to see him, which I expected, but it wasn't a waste of a trip. Everyone was very helpful, cleared up some things and answered all of my questions. They all knew exactly who my sweetie was, and they felt really bad for his situation. Funnily enough, the guard (sorry if that's not the appropriate term) who works his unit was on his way in when I was there. He stopped and talked to me for a bit and said they were trying to take good care of my bf, make sure he was okay and yea what he is going through sucks. He looked genuinely distressed and was very heartfelt in his assurance.

They said they don't really see this type of thing happen there often, and they were surprised. Also said they've seen some people wait several months for a transfers. Like cool, his whole sentence is going to be spent like that, just horrible. One phone call a month and letters, but at least he can get visitations. I have to send my visitation application again and address it to his counselor, so that's getting sent out tomorrow. The person I spoke to before told me to adress it to my guy, obviously wrong and why they haven't received or processed it yet.

The good news is that everyone was very nice, genuinely warm and the gentleman who was on his way to my baby's unit was going to tell him I came. I trust that they are doing their best, and from all I've heard Atwater is a good facility. It's just such a stupid situation, at least everyone else knows it. Really a shame he can't be there. He would be settled in and at least having some semblance of a life, not spending 23 hours in a cell.

I'm glad I went down, I was a woman on a mission and I feel better knowing all I know. Still upsetting, but there isn't much that can be done. I'm hoping he gets my letters soon and applies for a transfer furlough. And praying he gets assigned to another CA facility ASAP. Thank you again for all your help and advice!
Oh yes, I didn't think about the fact that you're not married so you wouldn't automatically be approved for visits. Immediately family that are already vetted/verified from the PSR don't have to send in the visitor application form and are automatically approved for I think 60 days, and then the counselor approves them permanently. We never had to fill out the forms, which was nice. I know when he leaves and I pick him up, I have to send one in then, which is stupid and duplicative, but is what it is.

Send the form in asap to the counselor, and then have your b/f follow up with the counselor. Your b/f will get notified when you are approved. Otherwise you don't find out. You can call the counselor I suppose, but you don't want to cause other issues. They say it takes 10days - 2 weeks to be approved.
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Old 05-30-2018, 07:46 PM
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Oh yes, I didn't think about the fact that you're not married so you wouldn't automatically be approved for visits. Immediately family that are already vetted/verified from the PSR don't have to send in the visitor application form and are automatically approved for I think 60 days, and then the counselor approves them permanently. We never had to fill out the forms, which was nice. I know when he leaves and I pick him up, I have to send one in then, which is stupid and duplicative, but is what it is.

Send the form in asap to the counselor, and then have your b/f follow up with the counselor. Your b/f will get notified when you are approved. Otherwise you don't find out. You can call the counselor I suppose, but you don't want to cause other issues. They say it takes 10days - 2 weeks to be approved.

I sent my application along with his family's yesterday, priority mailed to the counselor so they get there ASAP. Hoping my baby got stamps so he can write to me. I've sent 12 letters so far, I hope he has received at least some of them. The phones at Atwater still aren't working, it's just crazy to me. Hoping we get approved soon and/or he gets his transfer assignment soon so he doesn't have to be cooped up in the SHU.
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has anyone got a phone call this week ilovejimmy High Desert State Prison (HDSP) - California 4 06-01-2007 10:39 PM
One phone call per week john'smom Georgia General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat 2 11-11-2005 06:40 PM
anyone know about going to boot camp from Atwater Federal Prison Camp? LIZZLZIR General Prison Talk 0 10-21-2003 08:45 PM
Being transferred to a camp - Atwater Camp California (info!) davsdab Federal General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat 15 09-04-2003 08:37 PM


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