If you have ever been to prison, then you know how important it is to have love and support from the outside.
Not just financially, but emotionally. You are the best type of person to provide emotional support because you’ve gone through it.
You know firsthand, the hell of being behind bars and the desire to find ways to cope.
While phone calls may provide some distraction, the real comfort comes from visiting with the outside world, sitting with someone face to face being able to connect on a humane level that you know comes from compassion and not rules.
However, being a felon, yourself makes it that much harder to provide that support. Aside from the old wounds it might open for you, there is also the battle of stigmas.
You know the type of negativity carrying the title of felon can do… even if you have completely rehabilitated yourself and you have grown to be a better contribution to society.
Today, right here, right now, we will address some of the challenges that come with providing this support as someone that at one point in time, needed it for themselves.
- Visitation Guidelines
- Getting Approved as A Felon to Visit A Felon – The Process
- Are You Emotionally Ready? Can You Get Ready?
- Support Systems for Felons visiting Felons – Why It’s Important
While visitation can vary state to state and some facilities may have their own special rules, the general guidelines are pretty basic and straight-forward.
There will always be specified visiting days and hours. The allowed times may even change during holidays.
There is always a dress code. Of course, you have to mindful of the way that you dress when visiting someone in prison – some places will even measure your clothing!
Probably the most important guideline is your relationship to the inmate – are you a victim of theirs? And your role in society – are you a convicted felon?
For more information on general guidelines on visiting those in prison, visit the government website page for the prison location.
Getting Approved as A Felon to Visit A Felon
The first step to getting approved as a felon to visit a felon is to first, fill out the application. While you should be optimistic, you should also gear up to jump through a few hoops.
The process for getting approved to visit someone in prison can be rigorous, frustrating, long-winded and just plain annoying.
Even with all the patience in the world, things can take a turn for the worst and you can end up feeling defeated since your application can be denied.
Every facility has different rules and guidelines on felons being able to visit felons. Some won’t allow it at all, some will allow if certain amount of time has passed. Some depends on the nature of both your and the inmates charges.
Upon filling out the application you will have to provide details such as your name, address, DOB, where you work, and of course if you have ever been convicted.
It is important to always be honest on these forms – if you question rather or not you should disclose something, then you probably should.
Our site seeks to provide a good resource to seek advice from others facing these types of challenges. But the best thing to do to gage your chances of getting approved is to look up the particular prison you’re trying to visit.
Are You Emotionally Ready? Can You Get Ready?
Experiencing anxiety, worry, overwhelmingness, can all be an indication that you may not be ready to visit someone in the very place that you became free of.
The thought of stepping foot into a place that is essentially a part of your rough past can seem near impossible to do. It might stir up some old feelings that you thought that you had dealt with.
And of course, if this happened, you’d have to deal with the feelings that you thought were resolved. So, the question here is if these feelings come up what do they mean and what should you do about them?
It could mean that you are not ready, it could also mean that you are just uneasy but maybe with time you could try it.
Try imagining yourself going back to visit someone, can you? Does the thought of going back give you anxiety and make you shy away? Try to find reassurance that your presence may make the difference in someone’s day, even their life.
If you find that you are not at all ready, take some time and offer an alternate method of support, like handwritten letters or phone calls. Video visitation is even a thing now!
Support for Felons Supporting Felons – Why It’s Important
If you have a loved one that is a felon that wants to visit a family member or friend that is incarcerated, you play an important role.
It’s important to for the person that is considering visiting an inmate knows that they are not being judges by the ones close to them. They will naturally question this, as they will naturally feel like they are being judged by society.
If you knew them at the time of their incarceration, think about how important it was to them to have you come visit and connect. If you didn’t know them at the time, try to recall a time they talked about their experience and how it made you feel.
As humans, we have this innate nature to take care of the people we love. To be there for them. To protect them. You can do that by talking through their feelings with them to understand their feelings and identify a goal and a plan.
You never know much of a difference you are making by doing this, even if you are just listening you would be surprised at how much it helps.
When all else fails, put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel in this situation? Ask yourself what type of support you would desire and how you would feel if you didn’t get it.
Now that we have run through the why’s and how’s, let’s discuss. Let us know in the comments below how you feel rather you may be the person supporting or the person in need of support. Did this post stir up any old feelings? Or help you resolve any? Good or bad. We want to know.