Way OT, but I need some suggestions...

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Howdy, folks.

A buddy of mine is in the Federal Pen(political prisoner; but then again, aren't they all?). I will be allowed to visit him, should I care to disclose all sorts of personal information to the Feds(this makes me queasy. I have nothing to hide, but as the saying goes, "anything you say can and will be held against you...").

I'd like to take him some goodies. Fresh fruit, veggies, cookies, that sort of thing. I'd also like to get books and reading material to him.

His wife says, "no dice." She has tried to take this sort of thing to him, but the Feds won't allow it. She is also only allowed to see him 30 minutes a week, and while they are visiting, they must get up and swap sides of the table they sit at when the guards tell them to. They are instructed to do this about every 7 minutes or so(I don't even begin to understand this one). I understand this will also be the case with me, should I go to visit him.

I used to work for TDCJ, and their structure was not nearly as strict as this. This guy is for all intents and purposes "Marionized"(locked down), for no good reason(he was not even accused of or convicted for a violent offense, and in fact innocent of what he was accused of doing. He's busy fighting a legal battle from the inside as I write and you read this).

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get fresh foods and reading materials to my friend if I go to visit him? Legal methods only, please; I don't want to make his position with the Feds any worse(or my own, for that matter).

Thanks, y'all!



-- Shimoda (enlighten@me.com), February 09, 2000


Mail any reading materials to him.

Foods? Probably not!

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), February 09, 2000.

"I'd like to take him some goodies. Fresh fruit, veggies, cookies, that sort of thing. I'd also like to get books and reading material to him. "

When I worked in a city jail a couple years ago, you could have books mailed in DIRECTLY FROM the publisher ONLY. You could "donate" books to the library to be offered to all the inmates, but your friend would have to request the book and only get it if someone else had not snagged it already. They were allow to keep library books, and even take them home upon release.

As for the goodies, visitors could give a MONEY ORDER ONLY to the jail for the inmates "canteen", which is their personal account and used to purchase medical care, toiletries, junk food, and at the pen they can buy large appliances like tv's. But they have to buy the overpriced canteen item; you cannot bring it in from the outside; that would be a serious security violation.

Some pens require visitors to be finger or palm printed, and give them smart cards with their biodata encoded on it, to let them access the facility/visitor's room.

-- Hokie (Hokie_@hotmail.com), February 09, 2000.

a far cry from federal prison, but in county jail (I spent a year there for prescription forgery), NOTHING could be brought in by visitors. The best you could do would be to put some money on your friend's account (they call it commissary). Even books, have to come directly from the publisher or they are considered contraband. Good luck!

-- painpill addict (finallyoutof@jail.com), February 09, 2000.

The "expensive" commissary, known in the ole days as "The Company Store".

-- Postal Money (orders@only.please), February 09, 2000.

Don, Your best bet is to call the prison and ask them about their rules for visitors. Here are a few specific questions you might ask:

Is there anything I am not allowed to wear on a visit? (In some prisons, hooded sweatshirts or overgarments like vests, jackets, some sweaters, scarves, hats are forbidden. Also, when dressing for your visit, remember that you will have to pass through a metal detector. Think about things like unneeded zippers, such as on some shirt cuffs, snaps, rivets.)

Are there vending machines in the visiting room, and if so, how much money may I take in? Are there change machines or will I need coins?

May I take photographs in with me?

May I bring gifts of any kind for the inmate?

What gifts may I send through the mail?

May I leave money for the inmate at the prison?

Can I send him a check or money order?

The staff should be able to quickly and easily answer your questions. They would much rather you came prepared than have to disappoint or embarrass you when you check in for your visit.

You may also want to coordinate your visit with his wife's visit. The prison is likely to have a limit to the number of people who can see an inmate at the same time. Also, they may not let you join a visit already in progress, so you and his wife may have to arrive together or agree on who will visit him when. Limitations usually exist on the number of visits an inmate may have per day or week or month. Be sure that your friend has visiting privileges available for the time you plan to go.

Ask about the best time of day to visit, too. If you are checked in just before an inmate "count", you could find yourself sitting in a waiting room for a good chunk of time before it clears.

Seeing you will mean more to your friend than any gift you can bring. You find out pretty quickly who your real friends are when they have to walk through those formidable gates to see you.

-- Faith Weaver (suzsolutions@yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.

Loompanics has some pretty good books related to this subject. The URL for their list of relevant titles:

http://www.loompanics.com/wkstone/webkeystone.py? UserID=loompanics_shop&shopCart=dHrJK6cSU4hxQWLJ_200894&page=Dealer/Pr ison.htm&Profile=[shopping_cart:opNew.prof]

Anyone who wants to do it, please feel free to make a link.


-- MinnnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), February 09, 2000.

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