What will your first visit to see Mum or Dad in prison be like?
You know how when you go to the movies, there are lots of people waiting to get in? Well, when you arrive at the correctional centre for your visit, there might be a lot of people waiting to go in for a visit, just like you. The people who look after the visits are working as fast as they can to get you in on time.
The men and ladies in blue uniforms are there to make sure that nothing can get into the prison that can do people harm – like drugs. Their job is to protect the person you are visiting, and that’s why they sometimes have to search visitors before they go in to the visit. They are mums and dads, uncles and aunties too, so don’t be worried about them. They are just doing their job.
Sometimes there will be dogs at the gate to the visiting area. They’re friendly, not angry like ‘guard dogs’. These friendly dogs have been trained to smell drugs, which are bad for you. As you know, dogs are really good at smelling for things. So don’t be worried. You’ve seen friendly dogs before and all they want to do is sniff things. That’s why they are used for finding people who get lost in the bush.
The person you are visiting will be wearing their uniform. All people in correctional centres wear uniforms, just like at school, the army or navy or in a factory. There are many different types of uniforms. They might be orange, white or green.
Everyone is there to make sure your visit is a happy one. People are friendly. You will see lots of people happy to be seeing their loved ones. There will be lots of kids just like you. Some places have play equipment. You can even bring some money to buy drinks or food. Remember that you can’t visit without having an adult over 18 years old with you.
You might want to bring things on your visit like photos, drawings or a school project to show. Have the person who is taking you on the visit ring up first to make sure it’s OK to bring things in.
Give mum or dad a big cuddle when you visit them, and when you leave the visit and go home, don’t forget to send them letters and drawings you have made. They’ll be coming home one day, and the letters and drawings you send them will make them feel happy when you are not there.