Visiting a loved one in jail can be a difficult and challenging experience, but it can be easier if you are prepared for it. Here are three things that can make the experience easier for you and the person you are visiting.
- There is no privacy: From the beginning of your visit to the end, please understand you are being watched. At the time of arrival, you will be searched for weapons, contraband and any other items that are prohibited at the facility. Your interactions with your loved one will be monitored closely by the staff. A simple gesture like hugging could be deemed as a threat and cause the visit to end abruptly. Most jail/prison facilities have a list of rules posted on their website and at the facility. Take the time to read their policy as it relates to visitation.
- Pack light: Because of the limited privacy outlined above, the safest way to avoid any issues is to pack light. Only bring necessary items with you to the facility including your identification. Any other items should be left at home or locked safely in your vehicle. There is a possibility you won't be able to bring certain items into the jail and will either be turned away or required to return the items to your vehicle. Again, it is important to familiarize yourself with the items allowed at the facility. In most instances, this information can be found on the jail website. If it isn't listed, you can always call first.
- Be prepared to give: Incarceration is difficult. The simple things we often take for granted like eating snacks or having basic toiletries and other items are considered luxuries in jail. Your loved one may ask you to deposit funds on their account/books so they may be able to obtain these items. A staff member at the facility should be able to assist you with this. Additionally, your incarcerated loved one may ask you to reach out to people for them. Of course, you are not required to give, but even a small gesture like making a phone call in your loved ones behalf could mean a lot because the help at their disposal is very limited during this time.