Once in a while, a beloved family member or friend may find themselves on the wrong side of the law and be thrown into prison after prosecution. Naturally, you may feel the urge to visit them in prison, whether it’s to offer support or to assist with their cases. However, keeping in touch with a prisoner can prove to be cumbersome as different correctional facilities may have different rules.
This article provides insights on the likely bumps in the road and how you can overcome them.
Finding the prisoner
When a person is brought to a jail or a prison, that person is given an inmate booking number which records the prisoner’s information. You can access this booking number by checking booking reports, calling a correctional institution or using online tools such as one at theinmatesearch.org.
This tool is available in both state and federal systems and helps make the process faster and much easier. Provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, this tool enables you to locate your loved one by providing their name, BOP Register Number, DCDC Number, FBI Number or INS Number.
The result usually contains the prison where they are located, the contact information of the prison and prisoner identification.
Communicating with the prisoner
Once you have located the prison, you can use letters to communicate with your loved one since it’s allowed in most prisons. Ensure you provide the prisoner’s details for easier delivery.
Some prisons allow visitation during specific hours of certain days. You can utilize this opportunity to make contact with your loved ones and offer your support.
Some prisons allow their prisoners to make outgoing calls to outsiders. Incoming calls are, however, not allowed. Prison calls usually begin by identifying the prison from which the call is made. You can use this information to verify the caller and converse with your loved one.
Preparing for visitation
Visiting someone in prison requires some planning on your part. After identifying the prison your loved one is staying at, make sure that you have been put on the inmate’s visiting list.
Find the prison’s website if it’s available and go through it. You can find important information on how to schedule a visit and what you can bring. You may also find the visitation ground rules and seek clarification if necessary to ensure smooth visitation.
Make a point of arriving at the jail facility early in case there are long visitation queues to ensure your day is not wasted.
Complete a visitor application accurately and completely if required by the prison lest you get denied entry. You may be sent such applications before you arrive at the prison or at the entrance as you wait to be admitted.
Visiting the prison
Before making the trip to prison, verify that your loved one is available and that the visiting day is valid as sometimes prisons go into lockdown or the inmate put in solitary.
Upon arrival, ensure you have an identification document and the identification number of your loved one to ensure easy inmate search. Also, ensure you dress appropriately and avoid bringing in any prohibited items.
Talk in a quiet manner to maintain order and avoid distractions.