Preparing for you first visit is daunting whoever you are. To start with you probably have no idea where you’re going! Leave extra early for a first visit to allow time to find the prison and nearby parking (though most prisoners have a vistitors parking area). Most visitors centres have a area where you can buy a cup of tea or snacks for children, with toys and toilet facilities. You are surrounded by unfamiliar people in unfamiliar surroundings and it can be a strange and sometimes scary experience. It doesn’t have to be, this is one of the things we at PCUK want to help you with. If you are visiting a prison for the first time, one of our staff of administrators or moderators may have been there before, they are only too happy to be approached with questions or concerns that you might have, this is what we are here for! You can post a message enquiring or send a private message to any of our staff who will be pleased to reply straight away. You are not alone!
After the first visit you seem to become accustomed to visits and they are a lot less stressful. You will find that you settle in to a routine consisting of when your loved one can phone you and what days you can visit them.
Your emotions are still likely to be going up and down on that roller coaster throughout your experience with the prison system, you have the trial ahead of you and coping with life outside, without your loved one.
This is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, in some ways your experience is one of grieving, but it is important at this time to remember to keep yourself busy, try not to worry about things you cannot change and accept the current situation with as much dignity as you can.
We at PCUK are here to help you through the stages that many friends or colleagues will not understand. We do not judge what they have done or why you support them, we only want to support you and through our experience help to ease your suffering through friendship and understanding.