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Oregon Prison & Jail Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail Topics / Information relating to the Oregon Department of Corrections and local / county Jail visitation, phone calls, mail, inmate care packages, etc.

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Old 10-08-2018, 12:08 PM
celticgirl celticgirl is offline
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Default New to visiting at Oregon State Pen - can I take a taxi?

Hi, I'm in the UK, started writing to a guy in OSP, this year, just friends, but we are close. I'm in my 60's and making plans to visit him next spring. He has no visitors. I never intended to do this, but seems I can change my mind! I'm reading as much as I can about the process and will no doubt be asking lots of questions. The post about prison visits was terrifying but very helpful. I won't be driving, so wondered if it was ok to turn up by taxi or even walking?
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:09 AM
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Welcome, CelticGirl, and I'm glad you found us.

The Pen is one of the few prisons where you actually can take a taxi/uber/lyft to just outside the entrance. It's in a city (Salem) and not out in the nowheresville. A taxi (or similar) should be able to drop you off at the main driveway and you'll be able to walk down the driveway. If you haven't heard of/used uber or lyft before, I would check into how that works. I found them to be much easier to use than taxi's in most places, but you'll need a smart phone that works on the US cell phone system. Otherwise, you'll need to set this up in advance with a taxi provider.

Since you have the address, you can look it up using google earth and see how "in the city" it is.

I've moved your post out of the intro thread and into it's own thread as this was a longer answer than would be appropriate as a typical intro post and it's always good to have information out where people can find it. Thanks for asking the question.

Don't worry about asking too many questions, and don't worry if your posts get moved now and then - it's not a slap with a wet noodle, more like filing and making sure everything gets in the right file folder. After a little time, you'll get the hang of where everything goes. I do suggest you poke around both in Oregon and the rest of PTO to see what there is to see.

Ask as many questions as you want, we'll try to get you answers. As for terrifying you about visiting, if you remember why you're there, it's not all that scary, just ... old and dilapidated. Make sure you know the clothing rules, that's the biggest hurdle most folks run into.

Again, welcome to PTO!
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:55 AM
celticgirl celticgirl is offline
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Thanks Ginger, I appreciate your help.
I'm used to old and dilapidated, being the age I am, lol.

I think part of the terrifying part is about doing things wrong, walking in the wrong area of the prison, getting there late, throwing up with anxiety...

I'm sorting my clothing already, are boots ok?
What is the weather like in the Spring?
What exactly is meant by conservative clothing? I know it's no jeans or tight/see through clothing, underwired bras.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:43 AM
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Hi I am from the UK and I have visited friends and my partner in the US prison system.It can be a little daunting but it is a worthwhile experience and i do not regret any of my trips.

Here is there visiting info https://www.oregon.gov/doc/OPS/PRISO..._visiting.aspx
US prison can be intimating places lots of wire and gun towers we are not used to that in the UK.
Make sure you dont arrive too early or late try and arrive at the correct time for a morning or afternoon visit.They dont normally allow you to wait on the grounds.
Clothing should be conservative no low necklines or short dresses. It looks like blue denim is not allowed.
I normally wear a long patterned skirt and a t shirt or black casual trousers and a t shirt.
At most places you can wear a jumper or cardigan but you wont be able to remove them in the visiting room if it warms up.
As a general rule no see thru fabrics or lace and no leggings or tight clothing.
Always take another outfit just in case. I keep it in my car but it looks like they have lockers available to rent. If you are going to wear boots take some flats as well just in case.

Jewellry isnt normally allowed apart from a religious pendant and a wedding ring.
Pierced ears can set of the detectors so look at what earrings you are wearing.

It sounds very complicated but it isn't its all about making sure you get into the visiting room with no problems.

I hope you have a wonderful visit.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
I think part of the terrifying part is about doing things wrong, walking in the wrong area of the prison, getting there late, throwing up with anxiety...

I'm sorting my clothing already, are boots ok?
What is the weather like in the Spring?
What exactly is meant by conservative clothing? I know it's no jeans or tight/see through clothing, underwired bras.
Maytayah answered some general questions. Here's the specifics for the Pen:

1. doing things wrong, walking in the wrong area of the prison - you literally cannot do this at the Pen. There are plenty of other prisons where this is possible, but not at the Pen. From the waiting room where you sign in (which is just inside the big double doors by the grand staircase entrance), you will be escorted entirely by a guard. It's quite literally not possible (unless you want a guard chasing you down a hallway) to go into the wrong area.

Make sure you walk in the big doors at the top of the double staircase and you'll be fine from there. Unless your friend is on death row, in which case, visitation is completely different.

getting there late - if you get there a little late, that's okay. It means you'll have less time to visit, but they'll still let you in. However, if you get there a LOT late, they'll stop letting visitors in. If you want the most time possible, they'll let you sign in 30 minutes before the start of visitation, so you can go early.

I'm more concerned with how you plan on getting from the Portland airport to Salem. That's not a drive a typical taxi or uber would be willing to make and our train/bus/public transportation system is not at all what you're used to and is terribly inefficient.

are boots ok? - yes, though you'll have to take them off to go through the metal detector (like at an airport), so if they're easy on/off boots, that'd be fine, but if they're the kind with a zillion straps/zippers etc, then putting your clothes back on after you've gone through the metal detector will be a pain.

What is the weather like in the Spring? - in a word: erratic. Temps could be anywhere from 4C to 20C, it could be anything from raining hard and windy to sunny and calm. I suggest packing with the plan to layer. And shoes that will keep your feet dry. It's more likely to be raining/misting/mizzling/drizzling than not. And the ground will be wet from the winter rains.

Conservative clothing:

1. Nothing blue. By blue I mean any color that could vaguely be considered blue (turquoise, cobalt, bluish green). If you only had 8 colors to choose from and you'd call it blue, then don't wear it. Nothing camouflage. Period. (The reason for no blue is that the inmate "uniform" is blue jeans and either a blue tee or blue sweatshirt - they want visitors to not look like inmates so they know who it's okay to start shooting at).

2. No clingy clothing. No yoga pants/leggings/tights worn as trousers etc. No clingy shirts.

3. No low necklines where "low" is typically defined as follows: put a pencil in your armpit, as high up as it can go, pointing out away from your body. If your neckline goes below the pencil, then that's "too low".

4. No underwire bras, and I recommend a bra with no more than 2 hooks. I swear some of those metal detectors can pick up the fillings in your teeth. Many women wear pull-over sports bras. You MUST wear a bra, or they won't let you in.

5. Keep your skirt/dress hemline below your kneecaps and you'll be fine.

My typical visiting gear:
1. A fleece pullover (light or heavy weight, depending on weather) or button up shirt (for hot spells, which we rarely have) in black or white or fuschia or even one in 'melon' that looks more like hunter's orange. Underneath these I wear a light tank top so that if, for some reason, some guard thinks I'm flashing the people I'm visiting, I can point out that I have a neckline that goes to my collarbones.
2. Pair of comfortable trousers - gray, black or tan
3. Pair of comfortable shoes, usually something I can slip on and off quickly. I have worn ankle boots, but never bothered with my riding boots, because the riding boots take too long to put on/take off.

Last weekend I visited 'the guys' and wore: gray trousers, gray lace up walking shoes, black socks, pants (must have underwear - if they can tell you don't have knickers on, they won't let you in), my "visitation" bra (two hooks, no underwire), a yellow lace edged tank top underneath a black fleece pullover (lace at the bottom peeking out for a tiny bit of color in my otherwise black/gray outfit). Some of the ladies try to get as 'sexy' as they can in visiting - they're taking a risk that a guard will not only send them out to change clothes, but if this is not their first infraction, they may lose their visiting privileges entirely.

Just remember why you're there - you're there to see and to visit. You're not part of a fashion show, and many people who visit don't have a lot of money, so it's not like you're walking into the Ritz. If your clothing is higher quality than the Pound Store, you'll be fine.

As for not throwing up, I think you'll be surprised at how calming bureaucracy can be. It's nerves, nerves, nerves until you walk through the doors and someone says "sign in over here, go sit over there, wait till we call your name, stand in this line, take your shoes off, walk over there, wait for someone to come get you..." It's like any other bureaucracy.

The Pen has the added benefit of not scaring you by having the main visitors entrance be faced with fencing, concertina wire and guard towers. It's an old Victorian-ish building where the visitors enter. It's hard to feel too overwrought when you can imagine ladies in bustles walking up the stairs. Some of the other prisons are a little more intimidating.

Keep asking your questions. It will help with the anxiety to know what to expect. Visiting should be fun, not vomit-inducing!

(FYI: clothing terms used here are the British terms, not the American terms. Reference to "pants" and "Pound Store" are the British terminology)
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:52 AM
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To be honest I have always been nervous when I have visited for the first time, but its not a bad thing. Just do as instructed and you will be fine. Remember you are there to visit your friend and nothing else really matters.
I am sure you will have a wonderful trip.
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Old 10-13-2018, 07:40 PM
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Hi Celticgirl,


There is a website called Rome2rio.com which has information on transportation options and costs. Portland would be the nearest city to fly into.

Other visitors or guards will likely help you out if you ask. I found the guards more helpful than I would have expected from watching tv. Everyone is nervous walking into a prison the first time. It will be ok.
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