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  #1  
Old 06-28-2018, 01:28 PM
Mini_Alz Mini_Alz is offline
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Default First Time Visiting (from Europe) - Prison on Lockdown

Hi everyone,

I traveled from Europe to meet my penpal for the first time on the weekend at Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.
I was already nervous and anxious enough about the visit but now the prison is on lockdown because a staffer was assaulted yesterday.

I called the prison this morning and they seem to be saying that visits won't happen over the weekend (unless the lockdown is lifted but the guy seemed to say it wouldn't be).
I was going to come visit two weekends in a row so I sill have next weekend but I am devastated. And I can't even be sure the lockdown will be over by then.

I don't really have specific questions but maybe you could share your experience:
Has anyone ever been in this situation?
Also (and I know these things vary enormously depending on the prison/circumstances) would anyone have a rough idea of how long the lockdown will be? I wanted to post the link to the news article but it won't let me. You can find different ones if you google "Oak Park Heights Lockdown".
and I am assuming there is absolutely no way they would let me visit him if I explain I traveled from that far just for the visit?

It's a max security prison and they are really unhelpful on the phone, so I'm always reluctant to call and ask too many questions.

Thank you for reading! I hope you're all doing well

Alice
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:35 PM
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I'm so sorry. It's happened to me, as well. I wasn't traveling between countries, but states apart so still with the flight and car rental and hotel expenses gone. It's such a feeling of disappointment it's hard to explain unless it's happened to you.

I'm not familiar with the area, but hopefully you can find some interesting things to do during your time there. Turn it into an adventure.

Here's hoping they're up by next weekend.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by miamac View Post
I'm so sorry. It's happened to me, as well. I wasn't traveling between countries, but states apart so still with the flight and car rental and hotel expenses gone. It's such a feeling of disappointment it's hard to explain unless it's happened to you.

I'm not familiar with the area, but hopefully you can find some interesting things to do during your time there. Turn it into an adventure.

Here's hoping they're up by next weekend.
Thank you so much.
I wish it hadn't happened to you but knowing other people know what it feels like makes me feel a bit less lonely and sad.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:12 PM
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Many lockdowns are over after a few days, so I hope yours is lifted in time for you to visit next weekend. Be sure to check in case visitation is reopened this weekend too.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:30 PM
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My husband is in usp lee it is a max facility as well. If a staff member was assaulted be prepared to go more than a week on lockdown status. My husband just got off lockdown today because a CO was just pushed and they were on lockdown for two weeks. They came out today and was out for a couple hours and then now they are back onlockdown. Its frustrating to say the least.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:49 PM
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A special visit may be possible but the inmate may need to request it himself. OPH is no-nonsense... I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting the lockdown to clear.

Good luck.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Marseille View Post
A special visit may be possible but the inmate may need to request it himself. OPH is no-nonsense... I wouldnít hold my breath expecting the lockdown to clear.

Good luck.
Thank you for your reply.
I'm sure he will if he can. But if he does, would they notify me?

And if you were me, would you show up on Saturday morning at the time visiting usually takes place and explain my situation or is that going to piss them off?

Thanks for your support
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allfruitsripe16 View Post
My husband is in usp lee it is a max facility as well. If a staff member was assaulted be prepared to go more than a week on lockdown status. My husband just got off lockdown today because a CO was just pushed and they were on lockdown for two weeks. They came out today and was out for a couple hours and then now they are back onlockdown. Its frustrating to say the least.
I'm so sorry about your husband. It's nerve-wrecking.
How do you deal with not getting to talk to him for so long?

I'm honestly devastated. My friend and I were both looking forward to the visit so much...
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
Many lockdowns are over after a few days, so I hope yours is lifted in time for you to visit next weekend. Be sure to check in case visitation is reopened this weekend too.
Thank you for the reply.
Yeah, I've booked an Airbnb close to the facility so I'll be there anyway.
I'll call for sure on Saturday morning but would you show up and explain my situation or is it pointless to even try?
I know this is stupid but I am so sad and frustrated.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini_Alz View Post
Thank you for your reply.
I'm sure he will if he can. But if he does, would they notify me?

And if you were me, would you show up on Saturday morning at the time visiting usually takes place and explain my situation or is that going to piss them off?

Thanks for your support
I donít think it will piss anyone off, but it isnít likely to work. Your best bet is to send your friend a message and tell him to request a special visit. I believe they want at least 24 hours notice so it might not be on the weekend... it might not be a contact visit, and it might not happen at all. They wonít notify you, they will tell him so hopefully youíve got a way to communicate.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini_Alz View Post
I'm so sorry about your husband. It's nerve-wrecking.
How do you deal with not getting to talk to him for so long?

I'm honestly devastated. My friend and I were both looking forward to the visit so much...
He has been at usp lee for 3 months and it has been the worst experience ever! He was in Pennsylvania before this and they were hardly on lockdowns. In lee they are lockdown 2-3 weeks out of the month and I'm not kidding. They are also on lockdown every single holiday. They have a new warden and he is a stickler. We write each other every day to keep in contact but it's hard on me and the kids. He suffers and so do we. I know it's hard hun but I would not show up as these facilities don't care. Just keep calling every day and ask when the lockdown will end. Also write him and ask because even though they are lockdown my husband always seems to know when it will end. He asks the CO every day so he has an idea. Good luck hun. Let me know if you need anything we are all in this together
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  #12  
Old 06-28-2018, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by allfruitsripe16 View Post
He has been at usp lee for 3 months and it has been the worst experience ever! He was in Pennsylvania before this and they were hardly on lockdowns. In lee they are lockdown 2-3 weeks out of the month and I'm not kidding. They are also on lockdown every single holiday. They have a new warden and he is a stickler. We write each other every day to keep in contact but it's hard on me and the kids. He suffers and so do we. I know it's hard hun but I would not show up as these facilities don't care. Just keep calling every day and ask when the lockdown will end. Also write him and ask because even though they are lockdown my husband always seems to know when it will end. He asks the CO every day so he has an idea. Good luck hun. Let me know if you need anything we are all in this together
Iím so, so sorry to hear this. I can only imagine how hard it must be. Iím sending you and your family all my love.
I have no way of being in contact with my friend. He canít use the phone or emails when theyíre on lockdown.
I will call again tomorrow and Saturday and maybe go directly to the place.
I donít see what else I can do.
Itís hearrbreaking because my friend is in a bad headspace and heís been telling me for months that the only thing that keeps him going is the prospect of my visit (heís got no one else).
I will keep you updated. I appreciate your support more than I can tell.
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  #13  
Old 06-28-2018, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Marseille View Post
I donít think it will piss anyone off, but it isnít likely to work. Your best bet is to send your friend a message and tell him to request a special visit. I believe they want at least 24 hours notice so it might not be on the weekend... it might not be a contact visit, and it might not happen at all. They wonít notify you, they will tell him so hopefully youíve got a way to communicate.
I have no way whatsoever to be in touch with him.
They canít call or use the JPay kiosk when theyíre on lockdown.
Iím going to call again tomorrow and on Saturday, and might go there to see if thereís anything they can tell me.
I just posted a letter to him. It shouldnít take too long to arrive as Iím in the same state. Hopefully thatíll help lift up his spirit and maybe he can inquire about a special visit.
Iíll keep you updated.
Thanks a lot for the support.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini_Alz View Post
Hi everyone,

I traveled from Europe to meet my penpal for the first time on the weekend at Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.
I was already nervous and anxious enough about the visit but now the prison is on lockdown because a staffer was assaulted yesterday.

I called the prison this morning and they seem to be saying that visits won't happen over the weekend (unless the lockdown is lifted but the guy seemed to say it wouldn't be).
I was going to come visit two weekends in a row so I sill have next weekend but I am devastated. And I can't even be sure the lockdown will be over by then.

I don't really have specific questions but maybe you could share your experience:
Has anyone ever been in this situation?
Also (and I know these things vary enormously depending on the prison/circumstances) would anyone have a rough idea of how long the lockdown will be? I wanted to post the link to the news article but it won't let me. You can find different ones if you google "Oak Park Heights Lockdown".
and I am assuming there is absolutely no way they would let me visit him if I explain I traveled from that far just for the visit?

It's a max security prison and they are really unhelpful on the phone, so I'm always reluctant to call and ask too many questions.

Thank you for reading! I hope you're all doing well

Alice
Sorry to say but this visit might be a waste my fiancťe is in prison in Florida and the same thing Happened at his prison and theyíve been lockdowned for a month now and I havenít spoken to him or anything Iím not familiar with the prison your pen pal is at but just saying if a CO was assaulted it can be a really long time that theyíre on lockdown sorry
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:27 PM
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Sorry to say but this visit might be a waste my fiancťe is in prison in Florida and the same thing Happened at his prison and theyíve been lockdowned for a month now and I havenít spoken to him or anything Iím not familiar with the prison your pen pal is at but just saying if a CO was assaulted it can be a really long time that theyíre on lockdown sorry
I'm so sorry you haven't been able to speak to him for so long... stay strong.
Yeah, it seems pretty bleak. I'm trying to stay hopeful and keep busy.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:47 AM
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Unfortunately, frequent lockdowns can often be the norm at maximum-security facilities.

Traveling from abroad to visit a Max is a very risky prospect, often a waste of time and money.

Have you considered just waiting until he gets reclassified so he can get moved down to a lower-security facility? Or is he not able to keep himself out of trouble, or his crime too severe, that he's stuck in Max?
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:06 AM
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I hope you were able to get your visits, or at least one. It can be such a risk travelling as lock downs can happen at any moment. I always make sure all my flights hotels and cars are able to be cancelled at short notice. However that is no help when lock downs happen at a minutes notice.
I have had similar happen to me and its horrible. Its so disappointing not being able to see your loved one. All you can do is find some things to do so you aren't sitting alone and you will have a nice experience in the USA.
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:02 PM
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Unfortunately, frequent lockdowns can often be the norm at maximum-security facilities.

Traveling from abroad to visit a Max is a very risky prospect, often a waste of time and money.

Have you considered just waiting until he gets reclassified so he can get moved down to a lower-security facility? Or is he not able to keep himself out of trouble, or his crime too severe, that he's stuck in Max?
I realise all of this now.
He did try to warn me but I thought I'd use the opportunity of being in the US anyway.
We had our visit today though. And another one tomorrow.

He isn't supposed to be in Max. His crime isn't severe, he's only got two more years to go.
He did get into a fight in his last prison but is doing a good job of staying out of trouble now (given the circumstances).
He's desperate for a transfer. He's asked for it but hasn't heard anything yet...
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:07 PM
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I hope you were able to get your visits, or at least one. It can be such a risk travelling as lock downs can happen at any moment. I always make sure all my flights hotels and cars are able to be cancelled at short notice. However that is no help when lock downs happen at a minutes notice.
I have had similar happen to me and its horrible. Its so disappointing not being able to see your loved one. All you can do is find some things to do so you aren't sitting alone and you will have a nice experience in the USA.
I did get a visit today, and will get another one tomorrow !
It was so good to see him and talk to him face to face.
I'm glad I stayed and waited.

But next time I will do as you said, make sure tickets and hotels are can cancellable.
It wouldn't have helped this particular time but it'll be safer for the future.

Thank you so much for the support !
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:55 PM
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Just wanted to let everyone know that we ended up getting our two visits over the week-end!

I was really, really nervous on the first day and also pretty unprepared emotionally (they only decided to open visiting the day before) but it was great, and the second day (yesterday) was incredible.
It was much better than anything I had expected.

We were still frustrated that we didn't get our two week-ends but we really made the most out of the time we had.

Thank you all for your support.
It honestly helped a lot when I got the news and needed to talk to people who could understand the frustration and disappointment.

Lots of love to you all xxx

Alice
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:17 PM
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I am so glad to hear you actually got to spend some time together at visit! When I initially read your post I thought Oh noooo that's terrible. I have had it happen to me, but it was only State to State and I cannot even imagine the disappointment of having traveled so far and spent so much money. Happy to hear things worked out for the most part!
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:27 AM
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So glad to hear you got some visits. Good to hear you had a great time together
Hopefully you get the chance to do so again in the future.
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