Your incarcerated loved ones should expect something special from you this holiday season. They should look forward to spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year with you. But, not in the usual way. You need to make sure your loved one gets a prison visit this holiday season from you.

It's time to get you and your family prepared for a prison visit this holiday season to let them know you care.

It’s time to get you and your family prepared for a prison visit this holiday season to let them know you care.

This is the holiday gift of all gifts to give anyone who love who happens to be locked up. This is the best way show how much you care during this festive period. You can make this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year occasions to remember for you and your incarcerated loved ones 2017 holidays.

Get Prepared to Give Your Incarcerated Loved One a Prison Visit This Holiday Season

A lot depends on how well you prepare for prison visits during the holidays. The joy of engaging with your friends and family behind prison bars will depend on how well you prepare for the visit.

This is very important because prison facilities have policies that every visitor must follow in order to enjoy holiday contact visits with their loved ones. Here are some ways to prepare for a prison visit this holiday season:

1. Get Approved for Your Prison Visit Ahead of Time


No one just arrives at the gates of a prison facility for a visit without prior approval. You must be approved by prison authorities before you are allowed to visit any inmate. This approval might require:

  • Pre-registration
  • Agreeing to a background check
  • Submission of official ID or driver’s license

Getting Children Approved for Prison Visits

You may also have to sign an authorization form for children that will come with you to visit at the prison. This is a major step to preparing for prison visits. For CDCR (California Department of Corrections) visits, the person bringing the child to the prison must have a consent form completed and notarized by one of the child’s parents giving them permission to bring the child to the specific facility to visit the inmate.

If the inmate is the parent, he/she needs to get the form on the inside. Then, they can complete it and have it notarized within the facility. The form then needs to be mailed back to the person who will be bringing the child to the prison visit. That person must also bring the prison kid’s birth certificate showing who the parent is, which must match the name of the person who signed the form.

Click here for more information on how to prepare for a prison visit this holiday season at CDCR. For other prison systems, visit their official website for details.

2. Make Sure You Make an Appointment for Your Prison Visit

Be certain of visitation hours and arrive early. Most prison facilities schedule visitations for weekends and public holidays. So, be certain of this or any other weekday and time before you hail a PrisonLifts ride or take that long drive to visit a prison.

Most facilities allow prison visitors to schedule appointments ahead of time. This is generally not necessary at many prisons, especially in California. But, visiting on a holiday without an appointment is like going to the doctor without an appointment on an extremely busy day. You will eventually get to see the doctor. However, you will wait for a while, because he will see those with appointments first.

Click here to schedule a prison visitation appointment at a CDCR prison facility.

3. Take Only What Is Allowed on Your Visit to Prison

There are visitation rules that you must comply with, or your visit will be canceled, and your visiting privileges may be suspended or revoked altogether. Part of these rules relate to the type of items you can bring with you while visiting.

Face to face visitations

Image Source: Pew Trusts

What NOT to Bring on a Prison Visit

You are not allowed to bring contraband, such as:

  • Cellphones
  • Tobacco products
  • Medications
  • Electronic devices
  • Illegal substances.

What You May Bring on a Prison Visit

You may be allowed to come with:

  • Government-issued ID or driver’s license
  • ONE car keys
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • A specified maximum amount of money for food and pictures (see your prison’s official website for details)

4. Dress Appropriately, According to Your Prison’s Rules

Plan ahead for a prison visit this holiday season.You will not be allowed into the visitation room if you are dressed provocatively or wearing khaki or some military-type clothing. Each prison system has its own rules. But, in general, you are NOT allowed to wear the same colors the inmates wear, or the same colors the prison COs (correctional officers) wear.

Your clothing must be incapable of hiding anything underneath it. Pockets must be empty. All items should be carried in see-thru purses, bags, diaper bags, backpacks, etc.. If you don’t have anything see-thru, simply use a clear sandwich bag to hold your ID, money, etc…

Also, all of your items will be thoroughly inspected by COs. Also, expect to be patted down before you are allowed inside to see your incarcerated loved one, in some cases.

5. Know Your Prison’s Limits on Physical Contact

[amazon_link asins=’B071RQYMXW’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f0dcca57-c7e1-11e7-a3bd-2fb7bf2f3a40′] You must also be moderate in the manner you show affection to your incarcerated loved ones. Some prisons forbid ongoing hugging and kissing and any other intimate displays of affection. In general, for contact visits, most facilities allow one hug and kiss at the beginning of each visit, and one hug and kiss at the end.

Understand your limits while planning your prison visit this holiday season. You don’t want to flout the rules and barred from visiting again.

That would mean no more visits for you for 2018. You really don’t want that do you?

Charles Omedo

Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network nonprofit blog.