Some time ago I was asked to explain Prison Rule 46 (which regards Close Supervision Centres). I’d never lived on one as such (though I have passed through the one here whilst in segregation (which is part of the same unit) so I thought I’d research it properly before posting this response.
Yesterday I started to look at how visits are dealt with in prison. Today I’ll be continuing that look, focusing on how many visits different types of prisoner are entitled to receive, and how these can be arranged.
After writing about the rules surrounding prisoner communications by post and by phone last month, I thought I should follow it up with an explanation of how prison visits work.
Visits are an area of great division for prisoners. Some hate them and refuse to have them. They just can’t stand having to watch their loved ones leave at the end. Other people find that hard but endure them for the sake of their family, who want to be able to see them. Then there are those who don’t particularly like the end of visits, but think it is worth it for the chance to spend some time with the people they care about and miss so much. Only a few people are completed unaffected by a visit after it has finished. These people enjoy them most of all. As for me, I fall into the third group. I find it massively frustrating that I can’t just walk out at the end and go home with my loved ones, but I would rather have that frustration than the feeling of total isolation and loneliness that accompanies a long period without any visits. The only problem arises when they ship you out to a prison hundreds of miles from everyone you know!
Yesterday I took a look at some of the limitations applied to prisoners sending letters with specific attention on how staff are meant to handle correspondence. Today I’ll focus on the limitations around who a prisoner may send letters to and what they may send out.
Problems with prisoner communications, including telephone and letters, form some of the most frequent complaints in most prisons. With that in mind I thought I’d throw the spotlight on what the Prison Service Instruction says about how these issues should be handled, and how that measures up to reality.