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Lysbeth 07-07-2003 12:44 AM

Prison Visitation - Things NOT to Do Inside the Walls
Terminated visitation indefinitely. Visits suspended for (X amount of) months. Warnings, warnings, and more warnings...

Since I became a member of PTO, these are stories I and others here have heard over and over and OVER again. This "Sticky" is being added as a permanent part of the Visitation Forum to give PTO Members a place to post comments and stories of things NOT to do inside of the prison walls.

Many things that we may do and think them innocent, or not harmful, at the time may come back to "bite" you or your loved one in prison. Many times these actions will result in visits being terminated and/or cancelled for long periods of time.

Now, it’s true that some of our Members have lost their visits due to circumstances beyond their control, such as being erroneously targeted by a drug dog, being incorrectly tagged as someone bringing contraband items into a prison, or being accused of doing something in the visiting yard that they were not. Those were unfortunate circumstances and, again, beyond anyone’s control.

Yet many MORE of the stories we hear on PTO are from people who have had, or who know of those who have had, their visits terminated indefinitely or suspended due to inappropriate visiting room conduct, taking contraband into the visiting room or yard, and other things that WERE in their control, that were choices THEY made. There have been accidents too, such as a Member who found visits suspended simply due to a loved one’s accidental brushing of a body part with another body part during an embrace… things like that can, and do, happen. And things like losing visits due to actions knowingly made that are against the prison rules definitely do happen.

Here’s the bottom line on visitation and the rules that surround it. When you break the rules in the visitation yard or room, you are not only risking your own visits and taking a chance on making things harder for you when it comes to visiting, but you are also potentially making things harder on everyone else who goes to visit at that prison.

Case in point – there’s been some recent discussion about inmates making holes in their pockets before going into the visitation area. Thanks to someone at the prison where I visit doing the same thing, and getting caught, I now have to wait an extra minute or two for my loved one to come out to see me at visitation, because now they check ALL the inmates’ pockets before they go out to the visiting yard. Yeah, it may be just an extra minute or two – but that’s still an extra minute or two that I don’t get to spend with my loved one. I resent that I lose that extra minute or two with my loved one simply because someone else chose to break the rules.

We all are expected to abide by the same set of rules at whatever prison we visit. Those that break the rules and get caught wind up making it harder for everyone who visits that prison. The bottom line is it doesn’t really matter which prison you visit – just because you may not visit the same prison I do, if you’re violating the rules where you go, then you’re making it harder for someone who visits there... and that someone may be yourself, as well as others.

Those that break the rules may get away with it for a while, maybe even indefinitely. And then again there may come a day when some CO who always looked the other way in the past might just decide to make an example of you… and BAM! Your visits are gone, and you may be spending what used to be your visitation days here on PTO, wishing you could get your visits back. It could happen… and we have many PTO members who can share their stories to prove that it DOES happen.

And that’s the reason for this message thread. We here at PTO would love to NEVER hear another story of someone losing their visits again, because we’ve heard it over and over and over and OVER again. The simple fact is that we HAVE heard those stories time and time again, and it DOES happen. We’re not out to shove opinions down anyone’s throat; we simply want to help our Members understand what can, and often does, happen. Our hope is for everyone at PTO to be able to have happy, trouble-free visiting for however long their loved ones are incarcerated!!

Many stories have been posted on PTO in the past that tell of bad situations stemming from behavior in the visiting rooms/yards or taking contraband in, and probably more regarding visitation that aren’t occurring to me at the moment. Other stories may not have been told to date. This is going to be the place to post those cautionary tales.

What this is NOT going to be is a thread for debate or argument over the issues – any such post will be removed from the thread. We simply want those stories – “visitation gone wrong”, if you will – posted here to remain for all new and existing PTO members to be able to read and learn from now and in the future.

If you or someone you know has had visits suspended, or terminated indefinitely, due to things like this, or even just gotten a little too close with a warning or two, PLEASE post your story here. Even if you’ve posted your story on PTO in the past, please post it again here in this thread.

Let's help new and existing PTO Members understand the outcome of certain actions. Let's create a thread here of all the things NOT to do when it comes to visitation, and share our experiences and knowledge.

Now turning the table over to you, PTO, collectively – go for it, we’re all ears…

withoutedward 07-13-2003 04:55 AM

At Centinela State Prison in Imperial, CA, I was told that an inmate had his visit terminated because during a photo taken with his picture ducket, he and his girl were kissing in the photo. This was a big no-no since you are allowed a kiss and embrace at the beginning and end of each visit.

CET 07-13-2003 02:35 PM

I don't have a story about visitation denied. My only visit was as the foster parent of his siblings, i'm middle aged and wasn't wearing any sexy clothing! I made a mistake asking him about what food he wanted, and he followed me towards the vending machines and had the CO yell at me. This was before he sat down. The second day I was more relaxed and felt I had a better idea of what the rules were.
I just want to say, in general, that the attitude of trying to get around rules, and what you can get away with, is an attitude in general that gets people in trouble. When a man gets out of prison, he has a better chance of staying out if he does everything BY THE BOOK! I sure don't want to see my kids' brothers back in prison. This is what I tell them, dont' take chances.

flygirlaa2 07-13-2003 02:48 PM

I had a visit terminated before I even got into the building by testing positive on the ionic scanner.

I take many daily prescriptions due to my health. One day I flew into Cali, rented a car, drove 2 hrs to get to the prison. When I got there, they were doing a random test of visitor with the ionic scanner. It is a little divice tht picks up minute particles off of your person and tests for drugs.

I tested positive and they would not allow me to visit that day and I was suspended for 3 days which blew the whole weekend. I had to get back in my rental car, drive back to the airport and go back home.

Before I could visit again, I had to test again and test clean. I wrote many many people on this issue and never really got anywhere.

I now take my daily meds prior to showering. I make sure not to handle any prescription drugs or any money prior to my visit. I put my coins in a clear plastic pouch prior to showering also. And I do not handle them until I get into the visiting room. Once I arrive for the visit, first thing I do is go to the restroom and wash my hands again.

I have not had any problems since then, but if I ever test positive again, I will be banned for life. It is very scarry, but with a few precautionary habits, I should stay clean.

JaimeeLynn 07-15-2003 04:26 PM

As we all know, finding something to wear to visit is a feat in itself because clothes mostly aren't made the way they want them! I'm not sure about other states, but, in most of the prisons here in CA, you can not wear an underwire bra (goes without saying as to "why"). I once was accused of NOT wearing a bra at all! I am young and rather "busty", so let's face it, everyone would KNOW if I wasn't wearing a bra! I was wearing one of those sports bras by Nike, Addida, etc...because I didn't want to hassle with destroying my regular bras to get the wires out. One female CO said to me as I got up to the counter to check in "show me your bra strap", I showed her the tank-like strap and she on the spot said "you're visit is terminated for today because you are not wearing a bra, you're just wearing a tank top!"! Long story short, it was a battle with the CO & the sergeant and then an offer on my part to prove them otherwise behind a closed door. Nevertheless, my visit was terminated due to something petty and I have since resorted to a drab wardrobe when I go in there so that I never get stopped again! THAT is how mean and petty some of these CO's can be and how much they really don't want us to visit our loved ones! They will put the inmates' families through shear torture just to get in the door. Sorry such a long post, but, I had to share my experience!

mrsdragoness 07-15-2003 04:34 PM

Recently a couple got "caught" with his hand thru the hole in her pocket. I heard yesterday from a friend of theirs that he went to the parole board about that time, but since he has gotten a major sexual misconduct ticket, he got a 2 year flop. I wonder how he feels about his little "adventure" now???

mrs. d

darrenzbaby 07-15-2003 04:57 PM

When my husband was done with classification after he hadnt been able to see his kids or me for 3 months at all he finally got his first visit not behind glass.We had been so excited about this visit for weeks and the kids were so excited and our daughter who was 6 at the time ran up to her Daddy and she had brought in three sugar cookies we had made the night before with frosting in her pocket only she didnt know it was not allowed.She hadnt told me and wanted to surprise her Daddy .She ran up to him when he got in the room and was in tears and hugged and kissed him all over.Then she said"Me and mommy brought cookies !!!!" As soon as she said that the CO came up to us and told us No outside food was allowed and I will need to ask you all to leave.I hadnt even got to feel his arms around me yet and when Darren asked if he could atleast hug his son and Me the CO told him No.My daughter screamed "I made my daddy cookies I made my Daddy cookies" I was floored and really thought they couldnt be serious.I didnt know she had the cookies .It was the worst thing that they couldve done to us was devastating we had talked all week about seeing Daddt for 2 whole hours and all we got was 5 minutes. My husband went off ..he was in tears but cussing the CO like crazy and we were escorted out the door of the room. He got put in the hole for 10 days then shipped to another prison where we didnt get to see him for another 3 weeks pending our clearance . I dont have to tell anyone how I felt Im sure you can imagine and my daughter to this day cannot bake cookies with me without saying how awful and mean those men at daddys old prison were. We see him every weekend now but that was what I call the biggest let down of her little lifetime except for when he was actually picked up by the police and bountyhunters .She developed a hatred that day for any one in uniform that day over something as simple as cookies ,she wrote her daddy letters saying how sorry she was that would break your heart .I hate the system in a way beyond words. They were only sugar cookies and our hearts felt torn out. To this day he has never been in any trouble and he tells me to check our pockets every time we talk before a visit. That is what I call ridiculous.We explained to our daugter that men like that needed more prayers than most people in this world but she still talks about that horrible CO every day.He should be on Americas Most wanted in my opinion!!!

Ken 07-15-2003 05:13 PM

All I want to say here is that I have been asked to do things that I know are against the rules... This was at one time between us a major issue... It is not that I don't think that some of the rules are silly/stupid or that little things that you try and get away with can be harmless in the grand scheme of things... BUT, to me nothing is worth losing visitation rights over... NOTHING! It is all we have! My mind tells me that you may get away with something once, maybe twice, but eventually you will be caught. To me victory is not 'getting away with it' when it is against the rules... you are only working on borrowed time when you are getting away with something. Agree with the rules or not - rules are rules and they are there for a reason. We don't have to agree with rules and laws but we MUST respect them for the good of everyone involved.

I intend to NEVER lose my right to visit and my Partner now respects me for this stand that I have taken...

Lysbeth 07-15-2003 08:51 PM

Well, I had no idea when I started this thread last week that soon I would have a personal story of my own!!

We got a warning last weekend when I went to visit - not a big major one, but still, it was enough to put this topic into even more perspective for me and serve to remind me that they CAN, and WILL if they want to, jerk your visits for ANY reason they feel like.

A little background history... I am one of those people who generally sits cross-legged all the time, Indian style or otherwise, you know. In fact, I am right now in the computer chair as I type this. It's just habit, always been that way - if I'm sitting in a chair and don't have both legs up cross-legged, then I've got one leg tucked under me, or one leg up somehow. If nothing else, I've got my feet crossed or my legs crossed one over the other. The experience of sitting in a chair or on a bench or something with both feet on the floor is about as alien to me as not breathing. Again - it's just habit.

As it turns out, once when we were out on the patio of the visitation yard Saturday, I had one leg up on the bench we were sitting on. (Think Indian-style but only with one leg.) Didn't think anything about it of course - again, it's pure HABIT.

And, to top it off, not only did I have jeans on (so the likelihood of us doing anything out of order would have been rather ridiculous - even tho I was facing him and not facing frontwards, anything and everything about us or what we were doing or not doing could have been seen by anyone)... we were sitting side by side on the bench but not even close to each other and not even touching at ALL at that moment. Generally I will have a hand on his shoulder or arm or we will be holding hands, but at that very moment we were just sitting there, talking, and had probably a foot or more of space between us. That was IT.

But still, because I had one leg up on the bench as I did and wasn't thinking a thing in the world about it, because it's such habit and that's just what I do - we got called out. The CO on the patio motioned for Brian to come over there, and when he came back he said, "I know you think I'm nagging you, baby, but..." (it's not the first time he had to remind me to put my feet down on the floor) - and gently pushed my leg off the bench so we would be "appropriate" again.

SURE it's dumb, SURE it's stupid - especially since we were a ruler's length away from each other at the time and not even touching at all. But it's their rules, their house, not ours, and whatever they deem inappropriate - no matter how stupid it is - you and your loved ones are liable to be paying for it. If that CO had been having a really bad day and just felt like being a butthead about it, he could have EASILY terminated our visit right then and there. Instead we just got a quiet and stern warning.

Over NOTHING, yes. Over something totally DUMB, yes. But that's how it works.

Believe you me, I will be hyper-aware of where my feet and legs are from now on - not even the smallest chance of something like that happening again is worth risking losing my visits. That's a longtime habit and totally unconscious, but I am going to HAVE to make a point of being conscious and aware of it now. It doesn't matter that I was doing NOTHING wrong in any reasonable and logical world - in that CO's eyes, I was. And I'd have been miserable if I'd gotten sent home early after driving 250 miles to spend that six hours with my guy.

I can't stress it enough - if you even think it might be a little against the rules, DON'T DO IT - 'cos it probably is.

Over and out, and let's hear some more from the rest of you guys - I know there are more stories out there...

danielle 07-15-2003 09:06 PM

The worst thing I've ever seen was a fight between 2 women on the visiting yard. Apparently the prisoner was playing both women and had one listed as his one and only "female friend" or wife (I can't remember which) and the other was listed as a family member.

Visitation is outside, there's picnic tables and a pavillion and my husband and I are sitting on a bench, minding our own business, when we heard the beginning of the end.

The two women showed up for visitation on the same day. Mr. Prisoner wasn't expecting this and from what I gathered, there was a history between the two ladies.

A physical fight broke out after a short argument. The argument itself would have made a sailor blush - and yes, there were kids and grandmothers all around. We were probably 50 yards away and heard every single word of what was happening.

Corrections Officers broke up the fight, and both women were escorted off the property. They were screaming they were going to meet down the road and "finish" what had been started. Supposedly the cops were called, but I never saw them. The two women were both promptly pulled from the visitation list.

Mr. Prisoner tried to hide during all the commotion. He went to a picnic table, with other people, and sat down like he was a part of that particular group. He was even holding a little kid, trying his best to pretend he didn't know what was going on. This is work release, and they wear free world clothes, so spotting him wasn't actually that easy. Everybody on the yard staring at him probably gave it away.

He was escorted off the yard, given a diciplinary for giving false information on his visiting list and put in lock down. According to my husband, he was transferred to another facility the next day.

Looking back, I wonder if it was worth it? He probably messed up any chances for parole, he's now in a higher level camp without the perks of work release, and both women were ticked off. All I could say was, "Thank God that wasn't us."

Jacks_Tracy 07-15-2003 10:21 PM

I gotta tell you, at one point Jack and I lost our visits for FOUR YEARS. It was a no contact visit and I flashed him. The CO had been sleeping (honest to God) a few minutes before, so I figured the coast was clear! Well, not only did I give Jack a show, I inadvertantly gave one to this retirement age CO! Most humiliating day of my life, and a very, very expensive one! We now have contact visits and are extremely careful. Hard lesson to learn, but I learned it well!

Whitney 07-16-2003 06:34 AM

I got my visit's suspended for thirty days because when I was visiting my husband at the end of the visit I hugged one of my husband's boyz my brother-in-law good-bye as he was in the visiting room at the same time. We have always hugged hello & good-bye for the last four years and never been told anything, so it just goes to show you they can and will do whatever they want whenever they want EVEN if you have been "getting away" with it. (althou we didn't know we were getting away with anything) Our visit's were terminated because you are not allowed to touch another inmate than the one you are visiting. Good idea for a thread!!!

GottaLuvJustice 07-17-2003 03:46 PM

Two weeks ago, Justice got called over by a CO while he and I were standing by the microwaves. I had placed my arms around his neck...he's alot taller than me so this was pretty much like an embrace. I didn't see any CO's around. I didn't think anything of it.

Sure enough, he got a 'talking to' and was pretty upset for a little while after. The CO threatened that Justice could indeed lose his visits. One silly little mistake on my part and it affected our visit for like 30 or 40 minutes after the fact. I feel bad that I did it and will think twice about pushing the rules from now on. My time with Justice is so very precious to both of us.

Note: Florida's rules do involve the possibility of "losing all visiting privileges indefinitely. And that's for ALL visitors...not just the visitor with whom they misbehave with....ALL visitors...and INDEFINITELY...Ouch! For more info on Florida's policies, you can check out the following link <--click on the link that says "chapter 33" once you go. It details everything.

Hope everyone's doing well and behaving. :)


ontheroadagain 07-19-2003 09:21 PM

Lysbeth, thanks for starting this thread, you will most likely spare alot of people the lose of visitation. It's an excellent thread. It's amazing what most of us do without thinking ( as it comes natural to us) but that isn't allowed at visit. Thankfully I've never had that experience! Just was given a quick reproach for sitting with my back up against my hubby. The CO though was really cool about it, he pointed it out and told us nicely it wasn't allowed. So it goes to show there are some good ones out there. Please everyone who reads this thread take what is said seriously or else don't complain when you lose!

Lysbeth 07-19-2003 09:41 PM


Originally posted by ontheroadagain
Thankfully I've never had that experience! Just was given a quick reproach for sitting with my back up against my hubby.
Even stories that are only about warnings, we wanna hear about 'em here in this thread! Thanks for participating, everyone!

Keep those stories coming, y'all! :)


Bobby's Baby 07-20-2003 01:39 AM

I have lost my visiting with Bobby for a year. We were sitting at the picnic table in the park having just finished eating lunch when a CO came over and told us to come with him. He said he observed us "having overt relations". Although we both and many others, including other COs, told him he was wrong our visit was terminated and I have lost my visitation. We both asked to be examined and were denied. I have writter letters as has he to no avail. Since that time we have found out that it was actually another couple but there is nothing we can do. We now have 8 1/2 months until we can see each other. He has lost his trusty status and is in lockdown... all because of the actions of others and mistaken identity.

joshiesgirl 07-20-2003 11:36 AM

My first visit with Josh was on a Saturaday and it was the first time that I had the chance to embrace and kiss him in over 3 years, Saturday was wonderful and we went the whole day with no warnings or nothing and the CO on duty was a really nice lady and Josh and I held hands and kissed the whole time and nothing was ever said. I didn't exactly know the rules yet, Josh had sent me a sheet stating the rules and I read it a few times but I was so happy that my mind went blank that there were any rules at all, well anyway we had visitation the next day which was Sunday and there was another nice lady on duty and she allowed us to do the same as the lady the day before, so Josh and I were under the impression that what we were doing was harmless and OK, well we have 6 hour visitation and on Sat and Sun so eventually the shifts had to change and this guy came on duty. At first he was nice and Josh and I sit in a gym at these very small round tables and it was me him and him mom so I was sitting next to him. Well at first we were holding hands and everynow and then he'd want a small kiss and at first the guy didnt say anything and then he told us that we could have NO physical contact. Well we quit holding hands, I was a little upset but I was OK well we were sitting so close that our knees were touching so then the guy comes over and literally drags my chair with me in it to the other side of the table so that I am sitting directly across from him. He said" young lady im gunna put you here before you get in serious trouble" so I sat there for a minute and I was just to far away, and I started crying. But thank god Visitation came to an end and I made it a point to hug him and kiss him for about 5 mins. I was devastated over something that simple. I mean he was on lock down so they put him at table 51 which is right by the guard, like 5 or 6 feet away from them. So anything could have been seen. They make it a point to try and make you not want to came back. Well it doesnt work on me because I will always go back, because I still get them 5 min hugs when I get there and before I leave. Thats my heart and its good just to be able to sit there and be in his presence. Sorry it was so long.

joshiesgirl 07-20-2003 12:00 PM

Oh one more...the next weekend was 4th of july and josh begged me to be there. It was his first contact visit on a Holiday and he was going to have visitation on 3 days instaed of 2 and so he really wanted me to go. Well I rented a car and packed my stuff. I looked so nice because it was a special day because since his mom couldnt go we were gunna be ALONE ( well sort of) and I was so excited because there were some serious issues that me and him agreed that we needed to get out in the open and we also agreed that this was the perfect time to do it. Well I spent so much time on my hair and make up. I got up at 3:30 in the morning to get ready, I had already reserved a hotel room like Josh told me. And it was on my credit card, well I had drive 4 hours and visitation is at like 9 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. And i got there on time. Dropped my stuff off at the hotel, and headed to the prison only to be turned away at the door I was devastated, he was expecting me and he was going to think that I didnt show. I begged and pleaded something serious but they made me leave. Needless to say I lost my Job because I didnt call in that day due to the fact that I was almost traumatized and it slipped my mind. So I had to drive the four hours back with just me and a friend. But it was still long,lonely and depressing

kimla 07-20-2003 02:57 PM

During one of our first few visits I was crying and he was comforting me (with hugs and little kisses). I had read and fully realized that we were only allowed a brief hug and kiss at the beginning and end of each visit but this surely couldn't mean that my man couldn't comfort me if I was upset! Duh, that's exactly what it means - you can't hug, kiss, etc just because you feel like it. Luckily we were only warned. I was so embarassed.

At his facility, we can be inside the visitation room or on the patio. Since this is in Arizona, it is ALWAYS hot outside so everyone always tries to find any shade they can although there really is none except from the shadow of the building. We were standing under the overhang near the window and got tired of standing. So we thought it must be okay if we just sat on the ground. Nope - they can't see us too good if we sit on the ground especially THERE. Luckily again, we just got a warning.

Arizona is very picky about the dress code for visitation (well at our facility for sure). Although it has been 116 degrees lately, we are not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts and our shirts MUST cover our collarbone (and of course not be see through). Also, no tummy skin can show when you raise your arms. There have been many crying angry visitors walking back to their cars on visitation day to find a store (in the remote part of the Arizona desert) for a new shirt.

Rene 07-20-2003 11:26 PM

I, as well as many of you, live pretty far from my boyfriend. I have to fly out there and get a hotel room.

I have had the opportunity to visit him on 2 occasions so far (we've been together for 1 3/4 years) and will be going again in early September (and I can't wait).

We have not had our visits terminated as of yet, but we have come close to it for many of the same reasons posted on here (too close in contact mainly), but also for some GARBAGE reasons like his pants were not sitting properly on his waist, and his shirt was pulled out too far from his belt etc etc.. just pure nonsense. So, I beleive that many of these guards just LOOK for reasons to terminate a visit., and they don't care HOW FAR you had to travel, or how much MONEY you spent to be able to spend that little amount of time with your loved one. But, that's not all guards, because I have seen very nice ones - but the mean ones.. are just WRONG, and they know it. Makes you WANT to say something back to them.. but I KNOW that giving them attitude or talking back to them will only give them MORE ammunition against you and your loved one and make everything even harder on the both of you, and other visitors for the future.

Great thread! :)

CET 07-20-2003 11:47 PM

darrenzbaby, that story is soooo sad!!! What a terrible day for the entire family.

varsgrrrl 07-21-2003 09:47 PM

I've learned the best day to go. The guard at the front desk is nice and jokes back and forth with visitors. I've seen him interact with inmates that are doing jobs in the area and he treats them with respect too. He's older and seems beyond the BS of trying to prove a point by making people feel bad for coming to see a loved one. And the main guard in the visiting room is laid back and friendly too. We can sit hold hands or I'm one of those people who are always kicking off their shoes and folding up in a chair and there's never a problem. Not even with little extra pecks here or there. But when you catch the wrong CO he's a real a** hole. He's written people up and accused people of doing things that just didn't happen. So rather than deal with him, I go on his days off. I'm sure it won't always work out that way but I'll just be greatful when it does. :)

IrishEyes 07-30-2003 09:59 AM

Wow, ladies have sure given me food for thought. David and I have never been warned about our visitation behavior, but I can see that many of the things we do could terminate our visits.. Thanks for sharing,.. I'm gonna be very, very careful from now on!!

shawnswife 08-04-2003 10:16 PM

I was yanked from my then fiancee's visitors list because of a conversation that we had on the phone. His mom had just died, and he had her belongings sent to me from the funeral home, we were talking about them on the phone and he asked me to wear a certain necklace to the facility. This conversation put him in lock up, he was yanked from medium security and put in maximum, I was off his list for 4 months. I got put back on no contact visits, and we got married in June, finally got our contact visits back and guess when the paperwork was signed????? our wedding day:)

Lysbeth 08-04-2003 10:18 PM

Whoa... that's kinda harsh, sorry you had to go thru all that. Glad to hear the story had a happy ending!!! :)

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