I’ve been visiting a close friend in New York State prisons since 2002. Over the last nine years, I’ve visited him at Rikers, Coxsackie, Eastern and Green Haven. (I never made the eight-hour trip to Clinton in the far western reaches of the state very close to the Canadian border.) Visiting has been very meaningful to me, allowing an old and important friendship to continue to grow.
But it’s not always easy.
The distances can be great, as can the expense of time and money, to say nothing of the difficulty of seeing a loved one behind bars.
And then there are the little things, like getting lost along the way and losing precious visiting hours, or having package items rejected. In the scheme of things, those may not seem like much, but visiting can be hard, and little things add up.
And that’s where the power of the community can come in. It can never hurt to call ahead or read regulations online, but there’s no substitute for first-hand experience. My hope is that we can pool our collective knowledge to help others avoid mistakes we’ve made ourselves, or take advantage of the lesser-known amenities that are available.
Some of the areas that I’d like to gather tips on include transportation, packages, attire and positive things to take advantage of at specific prisons. I’m starting with New York state but plan to expand it to other states at some point. Please take a moment to fill out the form below: