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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Promise of a Visit

As well as Hubby being in prison, I write to a couple of other inmates in other parts of the USA as well. One theme unites them all: visits, or the lack of.

When I see Hubby, I usually have some idea of when I might be back there. I don't really like leaving without being able to tell him when he can start to expect me back again - even when in our case it could be as far off as a year's time. I visit regularly, and he always tells me that if a hurricane is headed their way I am not to leave here etc etc.

My pals have varying experiences with visits. Jon in Pennsylvania usually has a visit from his neice (who used to go with Jon's sister until she died earlier this year) once or twice a year, and from a couple of people who write to him and live nearby in between. He knows when his neice will be visiting, but the other friend's visits are unexpected and possibly more enjoyable because of that.

My pal in Oregon rarely gets visits, but is constantly promised them from her family. The letter I received from her this week was written over the course of about a week; she starts by saying her daughter may be bringing the kids to see her and her sister may be visiting next month. Then later, the day of the promised visit arrives and she is waiting to see if she gets the call to the visitation room. And finally, no visit from the daughter, and her sister can't make it next month now either.

Hubby has experienced the promise of visits undelivered too over the years so far. Frequently he will be told that this family member will come and see him or that old friend will be dropping by. Every Father's Day weekend, he hopes to see his sons. Once or twice they have been, but there is nothing regular in their frequency. He says he does not expect them to visit - how could he expect anything from them - but he hopes. And that hope is what my pal in Oregon clings to, but for how much longer she will be able to I do not know.

She says she won't believe her family now until they actually show up. But how can you do that? How can you stop yourself from hoping, wanting something that you see others get, yet is totally out of your control to achieve?

I suppose some would say that it is payback for the times that Hubby didn't turn up when he was supposed to see the kids. There are plenty of people that that would apply to, but not to my pal in Oregon. And then I wonder what exactly is it that stops people from visiting an incarcerated family member. I can think of several things
  • The feeling that the visitor has also done something wrong, even when we haven't
  • The attitudes of some of the correctional staff
  • The indiginity of being pat searched by someone in a more intrusive and less polite way than would happen at an airport
  • The cost of getting to the prison (they are rarely in urban areas or served by public transport)
  • Difficulty in getting time off work on visitation days
But really I think that no one in their right mind would ever want to be inside a prison, even as a visitor, and it is very easy to find a hundred and one other reasons not to go.

I just wish people would be a little more honest, and not make promises so lightly that they break easily. Better to say you wont be there, than to leave someone hanging on waiting.

1 comment:

  1. it sounds like its very hard on the inmates, waiting and then getting disapointed in no show visits, the cost alone must be very difficult to meet


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