There are many ways to keep in touch between visits, like writing a letter or sending in artwork or photos. Post is sometimes photocopied before it is handed out, but sometimes prisons recommend a website you can purchase photos through, like FreePrints, which means they don’t have to be photocopied. Other ways to keep in touch include Email a Prisoner (www.emailaprisoner.com) or you can sign up to Prison Voicemail (www.prisonvoicemail.com). You can ask an adult if you can download the Prison Video App to have video calls together. Although you can’t call the person in prison yourself, they can call you as long as they have credit to make the call.
That’s a good question! The person you want to come and see has to put your name and information on their contact list. But you get to choose if you want to go and see them – if you don’t want to, that’s fine too! If you’re unsure, speak to an adult you trust about how you’re feeling. Lots of people are worried about visiting a prison, which is understandable as the internet can make them seem like a scary place. There are people who work at Visitors Centres that you could talk to about any worries you might have. If you really don’t want to visit, perhaps you could keep in contact in different ways, like a phone call or a video call.
Most prisons have a dress code, and anything that isn’t allowed is usually because it is a security risk or might be offensive. For example, ripped jeans aren’t allowed because some people might hide things in the rips to take into the prison. Hoodies aren’t allowed either because they mean you might disguise yourself on the visit. It’s best to find out the rules before you visit so you can wear the right things, and some Visitors Centres have spare clothes to help you change if you need to.
Your dad will be asked by prison officers if there is any job he would like to do in the prison, like cleaning, gardening or packing. Your dad will also be asked if he wants to learn anything new, or study something like English or Maths. The prison staff will encourage your dad to do these things to keep busy.
Each week your dad will have a menu sheet to fill in to choose his lunch and dinner. There are usually a few choices each week. If your dad is vegetarian or only eats Halal meat, they have those meals available too. For lunch, it might be something like sandwiches, quiche or jacket potatoes. Dinner might be something like mince beef or pasta bake. Breakfast is usually cereal and milk.
Yeah, usually there is a dog in the search area as you go into your visit. But don't worry. They're really well trained and so don't bark at you. I was a bit nervous about this at first but actually when I got there, the dog looked just like my dog Lola! It was really friendly and the lady with the dog was nice and told me his name.
It depends on what prison you're visiting. Some prison visits are an hour and some visits are two hours. You can usually find out online if you go to this link
I didn't at first because I was scared what they would say. But then I started working with Claire from Breaking Barriers and she really helped me understand more about how I was feeling. I spoke to my mum and we decided it would be good to tell my teacher and then we decided I would tell my best friend. I'm glad I did because actually he was really cool about it. He had loads of questions and it was nice to have someone to talk to.
Sometimes. Depends on the prison. Some prisons have a play area in the visits hall and some just have some toys in the corner that you can take to your table. Get your mum to ask the people at the Visitors Centre about anything extra like Children's Visits or Family Days cos they are SOOO much better! There are lots of games and toys on those visits and they're actually pretty fun!
Each prison has different visiting times so unfortunately you can't visit whenever you like. An adult will always have to book the visit in advance, and the adult must be on the visit with you. But hopefully you'll have a few options, and prisons try to offer weekend visits so you don't have to miss school. Most prisons have their visiting times online on their prison page on the Justice website: Prisons in England and Wales - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
.If you're visiting a prison in the East of England then you could look on the Ormiston Families website: Prisoners’ Family Services - Ormiston Families
This happened to me when I went to the toilet during a visit. My mum says it's because although we're doing everything right and just want to see Dad, some people try to bring things they shouldn't for the person they are visiting. So going to the toilet is when they might move things around their clothing. Even though the prison staff have to search us, you should always have your adult with you when you go to the toilet and when they search you again. I try to use the toilets in the Visitors Centre before the visit - it also means I'm spending more time with Dad rather than going to the toilet!
Good question. We hope you have enjoyed the Family Days that you have been to. Both Ormiston Families and each individual prison aim to make Family Days and other special events for families as welcoming and friendly as possible. We make as many allowances as we can during those days to try to make it feel that you are not in a prison. However, the dress code is something that is set by the prison and has to remain in place for security reasons to keep everyone safe.