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Thread: Visiting a mate in prison.

  1. #1
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    Default Visiting a mate in prison.

    Never done it before, looking for advice. Can I bring him a tabacco pipe? What might he really appreciate that I can get for him? He's a UK prisoner, I have a date of Jan the 6th. I'm a bit apprehensive, don't know what to expect. I'm guessing he'll be pretty wired.

    He was an idiot, but actually an understandable one. He also was the best dinghy crew I ever had; he got me out of many scrapes that I got him into in the first place.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    No tobacco into Australian prisons ..... but seeing a mate will be good.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    I don't think that you will be able to take anything in to him. Empty your pockets before you go onto the premises.
    There is advice available online if you Google.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    If you're at all confused by what you google up, call the prison and ask. They will be happy to tell you. In general for security reasons it's often don't bring anything, but much depends on the prison and the status of the prisoner.

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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Theres info online Martin, its a good idea to read it as it will prepare YOU, for whats in store. Im not up on current rules, but Rizla papers always went down well. There is a lot of stuff that cant be bought in, but that allow money so the same stuff can be bought by the detained in the "shop". Try not to walk funny, nothing worse than to be asked to bend over.......

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Thanks guys. I've googled it quite a bit; I guess I'm unsure of how to 'be' with him...where he might be mentally, emotionally. It makes me try to imagine how it must feel to have ones entire life taken away, family, friends, prospects, money...everything. That's a hell of a long drop to stare down. I have no idea.
    Trying to think of what I can do for him to ease his time, apart from just an hours visit. Maybe nothing, but just be as we were; crack jokes, shoot the breeze.

    I really don't know how to do this.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Thanks guys. I've googled it quite a bit; I guess I'm unsure of how to 'be' with him...where he might be mentally, emotionally. It makes me try to imagine how it must feel to have ones entire life taken away, family, friends, prospects, money...everything. That's a hell of a long drop to stare down. I have no idea.
    Trying to think of what I can do for him to ease his time, apart from just an hours visit. Maybe nothing, but just be as we were; crack jokes, shoot the breeze.

    I really don't know how to do this.
    I suspect this is why a lot of people simply don't visit. I hope you follow through, you sound right for the job.

    Certainly, any approach you take will be better than avoidance.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Thanks guys. I've googled it quite a bit; I guess I'm unsure of how to 'be' with him...where he might be mentally, emotionally. It makes me try to imagine how it must feel to have ones entire life taken away, family, friends, prospects, money...everything. That's a hell of a long drop to stare down. I have no idea.
    Trying to think of what I can do for him to ease his time, apart from just an hours visit. Maybe nothing, but just be as we were; crack jokes, shoot the breeze.

    I really don't know how to do this.
    These people may be able to help if you call them. http://www.offendersfamilieshelpline...ex.php/visits/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Is he in county, state or federal ? ( or the equivalent where you are )

    Don't bring anything it will be confiscated, jails in America have been smoke free for years don't know about europe. It's best to just put a couple of bucks on his books ( commissary ) before you go and tell him when you see him. Let him talk, get messages he wants to let others know but remember everything he and you say is being recorded and monitored.

    As others said just be yourself, crack a couple of jokes, shoot the breeze. Normal is all he's looking to experience, even for an instant.
    What time is he looking at ?
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    It seems as though you have never experienced this before. Nor have I, However I was a brig chaser for a while and had the classes!

    Your best gift is...literature...of all kinds. Ideas, skills, things that cultivate passions! wood work, bow making, timber framing, boat making.....but don't forget blacksmithing, coopering and all other things an intelligent mind may lock on to.

    Pass on to him or her that....Ain't none of us getting out alive.....learn how to enjoy life.
    PaulF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Been there. Don't worry about your friend's state of mind; most likely he'll be glad to see you.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    The only thing you need to take is yourself.

    The single most important thing for a prisoner is a visit. It proves that he is not forgotten.

    On behalf of your mate, can I say thank you?

    You will never know how important this is to him


    When I was doing time I did not get a visit for over three years, lonely and alone does not even come close.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Be what he needs. Be what you need. Your visit acknowledges his humanity, his worth. Good on you, mate.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Thanks for all the ideas.. books would be a good one. I know he's learning Russian while inside, not sure what else. He got 5 years, 4 to go.. attempted armed robbery to pay a drug debt.. he fought as a poor boy conscript in the South African army, fighting dirty invisible wars in Namibia mostly over diamond rights. Most of the things he told me about that time of his life made my hair stand on end, and God knows what else happened that he didn't tell me. They all started to take the medical morphine that they were given to shut out the horror. When I met him he was a mess; homeless, sleeping rough out on the cliffs. Took him sailing a lot which he loved, and was great crew.. a 16 stone commando that had nothing to lose! This was North coast of Cornwall, all year round, spinnaker / trapeze boat, often in 30 foot rollers, up to F7. Mental, and the best sailing I've ever had.

    He was doing really well, with a few lapses now and then. Met a lovely girl, got married, had a child, a job. Funniest bloke I've ever met. Then for some reason went down the drug hole again, eventually getting himself arrested on purpose to end the charade. I'm in no way excusing him nor his actions, or judging him, just telling the back story.

    I've written to him when I can. I still love him, even though he's thrown his life down the toilet. His time in the army will help him get through this I hope.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    getting himself arrested on purpose to end the charade.
    This is the most important thing in that post of yours.
    Talk to him about the fun you had sailing and what you are trying to do with Kate. That is common ground for a kicking off point, then just be the person he knows.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    My sweetie does prison ministry as part of her church. She had two pieces of advice.

    1. Make it clear and explicit from the outset why you care and that you care.

    2. Don't go in with an agenda or expectations. Just be present, and open to following his lead. Some folks want to talk about the incident or behavior that led to their incarceration. Others would prefer to use precious visitor time for a morsel of normalcy. Just be prepared to follow his lead.
    David G
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Thank David, good advice..

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Bobby - Jail is not prison.

    Edit; Good on you sir for going, just be his friend.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Sounds to me from your limited information that this is the kind of guy who should be in a mental health hospital, rather than a prison, but most have been shut down in the UK, and way too many people are jailed who are not getting treatment of any kind for a mental issue. He may have been in the army, and that does put tools in your box to deal with scenarios, but as has been seen, sometimes the army life has had an effect on mental welfare, PTSD etc. Im in no position to judge your mate, and it sounds like he has been through the grinder, that in itself takes many down the alcohol and drugs path, but its a short term fix,a coping mechanism, sometimes there is no cure. Military dont set you up for "normal" life,and there is no training to cope with all the horror witnessed or undertaken, just to execute it.
    Just being there and being an ear to what he might want to say is as much as anyone could ask.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Good on your for going.

    Just on a practical level, beside the friendship and contact that your will bring...it's clear he enjoyed sailing and was naturally happy on the water. If I thought there was a risk of him re-offending/ falling back into the same...I might seek to seed him with information that would enable him to get secure employment after he comes out. Down in Cornwall...I think if I could, I'd take him all the RYA books so he can at least get himself upto 'Offshore', then if he does some practical after, he might get work in the sailing industry down there. 4 years undistracted is enough time to master the theory of anything. Maybe make a joke...and give him Bethwaite's High Performance Sailing 2nd edition for trapeze dinghies (its about the sailing of them rather than theory which is in the 1st edition if I remember) and see if he takes to reading it at the next visit.

    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 12-18-2017 at 06:31 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Thank you all for your input... Food for thought, and will ring a few organisations for more info and tips, particularly on how to top up his book / magazine allowance etc.

    Cheers,
    M

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    If there was a convenient way (PayPal?) I would contribute to that fund.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Didn't see mention of this - & as you probably unconsciously always have one - leave the pocket knife home.. Why yes, I did lose a knife by forgetting to do this..

    as for excuse him.. as a one time member of a far less insane military years ago, I excuse pretty much all the seeming bizarreness I see in vets of near any sort.. civilians have _no_ understanding of (and no way _of_ understanding) what people like him have lived (not 'seen'.. Lived).. while throwing out the trite & meaningless 'thank you for your service'. Bah! Real thanks (by society) would be helping him, not further hurting.

    and good on you to help him by visiting.. and maybe planning further wild sailing. The dreams alone will carry him!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Martin,

    I can't add much to all the excellent advice given above (I would have said take books and let him lead the conversation) but I can confirm (as a former soldier) that he should have the low-level survival tools for his sentence; how to live in close quarters with other people, experience of a life of routine under discipline, good personal admin skills, etc, etc. I've worked with ex-SA army people who transferred to us and some of them certainly experienced some pretty dreadful c**p. Ths organisation https://www.combatstress.org.uk/ might have some useful info or even worth alerting to his existence (not sure if their mandate covers non-UK veterans, though).

    Anyway, good on you for doing this - and remember he's probably looking forward to it far more than you might be, so that's a good thing already.

    Good luck.

    Nick
    Nick

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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Nick, I just emailed Combatstress.org, Many thanks for that link.

    Regarding his skills inside.. last letter I had from him, he said that the last time he stood in a chow line the food was so much worse..and the service didn't come close to what he has now.

    He's a big guy, as tall as me (6'4") but heavier; he protected me more than once from @ssholes trying to get up behind me to mug or beat us up after the pub. But he's a big softy really and I worry about him, size doesn't matter much if you piss a group off, and people seem to form groups inside, as far as I know.

    Durnik, thanks for that, I'll leave my Opinel in the car! I wish I could give him a steady job or something when he gets out, offer him something solid to grasp hold of until that time. I don't know if he's using inside, but I very much doubt it, he hates that he's an addict, and hates the fact he's let everyone and himself down. I do know for a fact he went for years not using, but did have a few lapses too either end of that. But addicts are liars by default, and I'm not sure I can believe what he says now, and until he drops the needle for good, he's going nowhere.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Nick, I just emailed Combatstress.org, Many thanks for that link.

    Regarding his skills inside.. last letter I had from him, he said that the last time he stood in a chow line the food was so much worse..and the service didn't come close to what he has now.

    He's a big guy, as tall as me (6'4") but heavier; he protected me more than once from @ssholes trying to get up behind me to mug or beat us up after the pub. But he's a big softy really and I worry about him, size doesn't matter much if you piss a group off, and people seem to form groups inside, as far as I know.

    Durnik, thanks for that, I'll leave my Opinel in the car! I wish I could give him a steady job or something when he gets out, offer him something solid to grasp hold of until that time. I don't know if he's using inside, but I very much doubt it, he hates that he's an addict, and hates the fact he's let everyone and himself down. I do know for a fact he went for years not using, but did have a few lapses too either end of that. But addicts are liars by default, and I'm not sure I can believe what he says now, and until he drops the needle for good, he's going nowhere.
    The fact that he now wants to clean up is the most important part of controlling any addiction. It has to be the addicts desire, no one can or should push them.
    I meant what I said when I advised you to empty all of your pockets. Prisons do have lockers for visitors stuff but it is such a faff to use them.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Good on you and good luck. All of the above. Silence is OK too, you don't have to fill all the gaps. Tell him you will be back. I imagine he may be hating himself and may push you away. Just keep coming back. But probably if you are corresponding that won't be such an issue. Still, facing an old mate in person may be hard for him. So recognise that he was a dickhead, but you're still mates.

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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    ONLY true friends can bobbys……..


    (……or their mother………)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Put some money in his commissary account. Collect some hellos from family/ mutual freinds if any, and then just go.

    Kevin.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Thank David, good advice..
    Yes, perfect. Especially for a first visit, the best present that you can leave him with is the assurance that you'll come to visit him again.

    John Welsford.
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbys View Post
    .

    Is it not a true friends job to call names and trll tnem how stupid they are.

    My friends never cut me any slack.
    Its probably an Aussie thing. Might not translate in your part of the world, but I expect the UK is more like us.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Its probably an Aussie thing. Might not translate in your part of the world, but I expect the UK is more like us.
    It's certainly a UK thing ! Also military (pretty universal) custom to give your mates 'a hard time'.
    Nick

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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Got a reply back from Combat Stress; nothing doing as he's not ex UK military. Will try an SA equivalent.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Got a reply back from Combat Stress; nothing doing as he's not ex UK military. Will try an SA equivalent.
    Try these for advice, there is a phone line.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    These people may be able to help if you call them. http://www.offendersfamilieshelpline...ex.php/visits/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Visiting a mate in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Got a reply back from Combat Stress; nothing doing as he's not ex UK military. Will try an SA equivalent.
    I feared that might be the case. Did they give you a pointer to a SA equivalent ?
    Nick

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