In order to visit a prisoner, you have to fill out a form and be approved. This can take “several weeks”, whatever that means.
So I go to the website to get the form and it advises me to review the rules for visitors, which is seven pages long. There is a separate grid that lists the consequences of breaking various rules.
There is the obvious stuff like, I’m not allowed to bring him a birthday cake with a file baked into it. I’m not allowed to bring in drugs, tobacco, weapons or ammo or simulated weapons or escape paraphernalia. I guess that rules out that coil of rope I was going to give him for his birthday, ha ha.
Long list of clothing restrictions, including those related to gangs, like “no hoodies.”
Once I’m in, I am not allowed to threaten or use abusive language … ooh, I can’t use written abuse, either. I’m not allowed to bring anything in, not even my car keys or a Kleenex, so how would I write something abusive anyway?
My favorites: No masturbation, mutual masturbation, oral sex, or sexual intercourse in the visiting area.
There is a whole nother set of rules for child visitors.
This is going to be a whole new world for me, I think, unenthusiastically. I assume many of these rules were written because someone did something that was “disturbing to others” to use their term. I fill out the form and mail it in. At least there’s no charge for this, as there is for writing, calling, and emailing.
PS: I just found out I’ll be going to Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for work over the next couple of months. I want to give the prison-visiting experience the full attention it deserves, so most of the posts for the next month will be Vince’s, until I have time to dedicate to writing.