Prison and Jail Visiting – Preparation and Follow Up: CD Description

Length: one hour Type: workshop Trainer: Ann Adalist-Estrin, NRCCFI at FCN Director Date: 4/13/04 Cost: $75 Workshop Topics 1. Visiting in the context of relationships Benefits to children Benefits to caregivers Benefits to prisoner Benefits to correctional staff 2. How developmental needs of children affect visiting 3. Obstacles to visiting prisons and jails 4. Program, practice and policy solutions Prison Visiting can be stressful for visitors, staff and prisoners, as the following story illustrates. Names have been changed to protect privacy. Viola’s Story: “We travel a long distance and pay a lot for transportation to visit him. It is really an effort to get there, and then we are told to wait, often outside no matter what the weather. When we get in, sometimes we don’t even get to visit. I didn’t know at first that I couldn’t wear sleeveless dresses and that I needed picture ID. Henry was supposed to tell me the rules, but in the beginning I couldn’t afford his collect calls.  Now that I know, I get it right. “It is hard in the visiting room. Jimmy can’t sit still and the officers don’t understand that he is a very active 6-year-old boy! Anyway, we run out of things to say to each other, Henry and I. We are ok with each other but I am afraid to tell him things that will make him sad about the outside, and he is afraid that Jimmy and I will be bored or worried if he talks about his life.  I also don’t want to bring up problems or argue. Eventually everybody is on edge but we came so far, we miss him so much and want this visit to be perfect. “Sometimes Henry tries to play with Jimmy, but Jimmy gets pigheaded and wants to win so Henry gets angry and Jimmy gets more difficult and Henry gets mad at me. He goes to a parenting class and wants me to try to do things the way his teacher says. But it‘s not the way I was raised, so I end up feeling like he is criticizing me…”  *