My husband and I traveled across the country to visit my son in Florida last weekend. We paid for airfare, a hotel and a rental car. When we arrived, we were denied visiting because the facility was in lock-down. We had traveled many hours Friday on the plane and then the next morning got up early to drive an hour to the facility. How disappointing for my son as well as for us.
We were told to call the next day, Sunday, to see if it had been lifted and it had not. There wasn’t much hope, as the entire administration goes home for the weekend and there apparently is no one to make a decision. On Monday, we called again to be told absolutely there would be no visiting. (We would have changed our plane reservations if there was) When we got to our transfer in Dallas, my son called to say the lock-down had been lifted. Another disappointment!
I have sent a letter to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Mark Inch, to ask that these rules be changed. It is not fair for a family to take the time and money to travel to visit, only to find they can’t. If it is a matter of security, they could escort the few inmates who have family from out of town visiting to the visiting room. How could this cause any concern or trouble? It is imperative that inmates be allowed to have contact and visits with their families. In this case, lock-down was due to a fist-fight. Why did they have to lock-down the entire facility over this? It’s just beyond my comprehension. Why should all the inmates and their families suffer over what a few do?
Most importantly, how can I plan a visit and spend all the time and money to go across the country and not be sure I will even be able to visit? This is not an incentive to encourage visiting. Even If I had known the night before, the tickets are already purchased and it would be prohibitive to purchase refundable tickets, never mind cancel hotel and rental car. There has to be a better way.
If you have had this experience, please write to Mr. Inch at:
Federal Bureau of Prison
320 First Street NW
Washington DC 20534
Only by voicing our problems can we get the BOP to make changes to their policies!