• October 20, 2018, 06:17:06 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Welcome to ILLINOIS PRISON TALK, www.illinoisprisontalk.org - A Family Support Forum and Information Center for those interacting with the Illinois Department of Corrections. IPT members are comprised of family/friends of inmates, prison reform activists, ex-offenders, prisoner rights advocates and others interested in the well-being of Illinois prisoners. We encourage open discussion but please be tolerant of other's opinions. This website is protected by Copyright © 2006-2018. All rights reserved. There are some private forums that require registration, please register.

Author Topic: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???  (Read 4466 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
My son is currently in jail (and will be for the next few months at least).  He would like to see his 7 y/o son.  I have read a lot about allowing kids to visit their parents in jail.  It seems as though some say that its a good thing for them to visit to know their Dad is okay and its also sometimes helpful for the Dad.

Others say that children shouldn't visit as it can be traumatic for them.

The jail where my son is located is very rural with probably 20-25 inmates total. Its a very small building and the visiting room is stark but its not noisy.

However, my grandson would have to visit sitting on my lap looking at his Dad thru a window talking on the phone. 

We have a very good relationship with our grandson and his Mother and we would prepare our grandson prior to the visit.  ''

What are your thoughts?  Have you allowed your kids to visit their parents in jail/prison?  Did it go smoothly or was it more upsetting for the kids/inmates? 

Everytime we go visit, there are kids all over the place.

Offline emb10285

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 136
  • Karma: 2
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 12:31:50 PM »
I hope someone can offer some good suggestions as I am currently going this right now. My son is 7 and my daughter is 3 they do not know Daddy is in prison they just know they haven't seen him in 6 months, they know he loves them and that he is somewhere working on getting better so he can come home soon and be a better daddy to them. They think he is sick, which isn't a lie he is working through his addictions right now. He wants to see them and I want him to see them they want to see him but I haven't even gone to see him yet. We decided I would go first and see how things are and decide then if we think it would be okay for the kids to come. My mom doesn't seem to think I should take them but they are my kids so it's not up to her. I'm still very torn on what to do, it's been rough on the kids these past 6 months and as it stands right now we still have another year before he gets out hopefully less(he is starting school soon and of course we are hoping he will get good time as well). I don't want my kids to not be able to see him for 18 months and I don't want him to not be able to see them for 18 months but instill not sure I'm ready for them to know where he is. I did take my son when was 2.5 to see him but he was in huber then so it was not as intense. My son was fine after that but was young and I don't think he remembers that.

Offline Steadfast

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 202
  • Karma: 40
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 12:56:51 PM »
While my L/O was in prison I would often see small children visiting their fathers.  It seemed like everyone was very happy to see each other.  As long as you prepare the child (age appropriately), I think it is good for both parties.  Children need to see their fathers and/or mothers, and I know that the inmates long to see their children.  Some prisons, such as Dixon, even have toy equipped playrooms for the children and inmates to play together.  I cannot see a downside to this.  I realize your visit would be behind glass, but if your child is prepared, they should still have some form of contact with the incarcerated parent.  This is just my opinion and you can make your own decision, but I think it is important for parents and children to keep their bonds intact through contact via phone, mail or visits.  Anything that severs the parent/child bond, be it incarceration, divorce, hospitalization, rehab, etc., could be detrimental to the child's well being.

Offline LMD

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Karma: 14
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 02:05:17 PM »
I am a big supporter of taking children to visit.  I brought our two children to visit my husband/their dad as soon as he was transferred out out of R&C.  They needed to see him and hug him and he needed the same.  With our littlest, we tell her that Daddy is at work.  Our oldest is at an age that he is able to understand and process this situation, which helps the explanation process.  From the first visit, when we were al there together things seemed normal for a few hours.
Now, the relationship between my children and their Dad is as strong as ever, due in part to their ability to see him on a regular basis.  He was not in county for long so we never visited there, but have been visiting him in IDOC facilities from the beginning of his incarceration.  Sometimes while protecting our kids we end up sheltering them from what they need most, their parent.

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 03:07:41 PM »
THanks so much for those opinions.  My grandson is incredibly angry with his Dad so am just not sure.  He is in counseling so will defer to them for now.  My son wants to his son but for now we need to make sure that my grandson is prepared and agreeable.

Offline BrandiWatson

  • You never know what you have til its gone
  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
  • Karma: 2
  • Missing my man
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2013, 03:16:51 PM »
i take my kids to see their daddy but it is completely up to you



It's always darker just before the dawn.

Offline Forevermah

  • Technical Goddess
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 18532
  • Karma: 529
    • Illinois Prison Talk
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 03:38:08 PM »
If you are taking children, especially little girls, dress them in something comfortable, pants/sweats and nothing revealing, never take them in little dresses/skirts/short tops etc.  

If you are grandparents/friends taking someone else's children, you will need to have guardians FULL permission written out and birth certificates.

Explaining things to children before going, that daddy/mommy did something that wasn't right and they have to stay at this place for awhile to pay for what they have done helps.  Also, know your child/children, if they are already experiencing difficulties and this would be something that would further traumatise them, better leave them home.
Do not value the "things" you have in your life - value "who" you have in your life....



“Instead of thinking about what you're missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.”

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2013, 09:00:42 PM »
Not considering this at the moment but I know my grandson wants to see his. dad.

Offline Steadfast

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 202
  • Karma: 40
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 08:57:52 AM »
Trauma4, it is good news that your grandson is under the care of a therapist.  You stated that he does want to see his father, but is still very angry.  This is a perfect situation where the therapist can work with your grandson on his anger and prepare him for an eventual visit.  Good luck and I hope your grandson and his father do reunite, even if it is in the visiting room of a prison. 

Offline cem31

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 7
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »
I take my stepson to see his dad in prison at least once a month, he had not seen him since he was 1 1/2 and not in prison, his first visit was at age 5 (his dad had been incarcerated for almost 2 yrs at this point). Before we went I explained to him that his dad is in "ADULT TIME OUT" because he did not follow the rules. He understood right away, and during the ride and upon arrival at the prison he was very excited & anxious to see his dad. Since that time he calls me on a regular basis asking when I will take him to see his dad again, and each time we leave after a visit he says "can we go see my dad again tomorrow?!" I have found that the visits have been beneficial to both of them emotionally, but I do feel it is a personal choice and in my opinion depends on the facility and the condition of the visit. Our visits are contact visits so our son can play with his dad, hug him, eat with him, and they have a play area for the kids. It may be very different for your grandson to not be able to have direct contact with his dad, but it may be worthwhile to try it once and see how he reacts. Therapy is great but in my opinion the best way to gauge it is hands on, by experience. My stepdaughter's mom is fully against contact with my husband, she won't even let our daughter write her dad. While I do respect her decision, I feel that in the end it may cause more harm than good for this young girl. His daughter has not seen him since age 1, she is now 5. She has had very little contact with him, before his incarceration and after, but not for his lack of trying. When he is released she will be 11 and will not know him at all, which is going to make it a very long and difficult road with visitation. The damage will already be done and in my opinion may cause our daughter lasting emotional damage. In the end the decision may be a hard one for all involved but what's in the best interest of the child, and what the child can handle emotionally that's important. In our case it had a positive effect, even helped my stepson do better in school, but every child is different.

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2013, 11:41:04 AM »
Thanks so much.  My grandson colored a pic for thanksgiving and printed I luv my dad on it and then wants me to copy it so they both have it and can touch it.

Offline tamron214

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: 7
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2013, 04:11:42 PM »
trauma4us
When I just read your last comment, I couldn't help but to smile! That is so cute. My grandson is 7 and his dad (my son) in incarcerated. He spent 6 months in county and now is in idoc for we hope no longer than 6 months. Hopeful for Good time :) My grandson has been to see his dad, even through glass sitting on my lap (in county). We, as a family have been pretty honest with him. He knows his daddy is sick and knows he is working very hard at getting better. He knows that it involved drugs and alcohol. He has already been through his dad being in treatment. 4 times. We are relentless at getting him help. We made the decision to take him for a visit when he asked to go see his dad and I actually talked to a judge (that runs a drug court) and was told that as long as the child is prepared that they should have the visit. My grandson did and still does well with the visits. He has a good relationship with his dad and speaks often on the phone. It may help in our situation that his mom allows and expects parenting from his dad even if over the phone and at visits. It is good to know your grandson has a therapist. That will help in your decision if and when the visit happens. I for one believe it is a good thing. Good luck and trust your instincts.

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2013, 04:30:16 PM »
Thanks Tamron for the thoughts. 

I really appreciate everyone's insight and experiences.  Thanks again.

Offline HisWife1122

  • Jr. member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 1
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2018, 06:55:39 PM »
Do most prisons allow the inmates to hold their children? I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my husband will be sentenced in the next 3 weeks and off to NRC. We obviously don't know what parent prison he'll be sent to yet but I'm asking in general with all of your experiences. When our son is born and I get his birth certificate, I'll be taking him to see his daddy as often as I can but my husband and I were wondering if he'd be allowed to hold our son during the visit.

Offline ERwife

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 8
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2018, 07:33:35 PM »
Do most prisons allow the inmates to hold their children? I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my husband will be sentenced in the next 3 weeks and off to NRC. We obviously don't know what parent prison he'll be sent to yet but I'm asking in general with all of your experiences. When our son is born and I get his birth certificate, I'll be taking him to see his daddy as often as I can but my husband and I were wondering if he'd be allowed to hold our son during the visit.

I dont have any small children but when I visit my LO i always see children sit on their dads laps.  When my LO was at Dixon, there was a mom that would be her 2 small children (about 1 and 4 years old) and the look on the 4 year olds face always made me smile.  He would be so excited.  His dad use to braid his hair at every visit.  One time I was leaving at the same time they were and the 4 year old told me I was cute ...... How adorable!!!! I started talking to the mom and she said that he would tell her to wash his hair before every visit so that his dad could braid it.  It was such a joy seeing the interaction between the father and his children.

I dont know if all facilities are like that but I hope they are as family friendly as possible.  The babies have/will experience enough negativity without IDOC adding to it.  Good luck on your pregnancy and this journey.

Offline HisWife1122

  • Jr. member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 1
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2018, 07:51:05 PM »
Do most prisons allow the inmates to hold their children? I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my husband will be sentenced in the next 3 weeks and off to NRC. We obviously don't know what parent prison he'll be sent to yet but I'm asking in general with all of your experiences. When our son is born and I get his birth certificate, I'll be taking him to see his daddy as often as I can but my husband and I were wondering if he'd be allowed to hold our son during the visit.

I dont have any small children but when I visit my LO i always see children sit on their dads laps.  When my LO was at Dixon, there was a mom that would be her 2 small children (about 1 and 4 years old) and the look on the 4 year olds face always made me smile.  He would be so excited.  His dad use to braid his hair at every visit.  One time I was leaving at the same time they were and the 4 year old told me I was cute ...... How adorable!!!! I started talking to the mom and she said that he would tell her to wash his hair before every visit so that his dad could braid it.  It was such a joy seeing the interaction between the father and his children.

I dont know if all facilities are like that but I hope they are as family friendly as possible.  The babies have/will experience enough negativity without IDOC adding to it.  Good luck on your pregnancy and this journey.

Thank you...I hope so as well...I want our son to know his father. The first few years of life are so crucial for bonding. When my husband calls I put him in speaker and let him talk directly to our son so he knows his daddy's voice. If I don't keep my child from becoming a fatherless statistic, who will?

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 07:52:27 PM »
Do most prisons allow the inmates to hold their children? I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my husband will be sentenced in the next 3 weeks and off to NRC. We obviously don't know what parent prison he'll be sent to yet but I'm asking in general with all of your experiences. When our son is born and I get his birth certificate, I'll be taking him to see his daddy as often as I can but my husband and I were wondering if he'd be allowed to hold our son during the visit.

Be aware that newborns with an immature immune system will be exposed to unknown germs. Personally I would wait till the child is 3-4 months old as it is not a clean environment and you will be in a room with many people who come ill sometimes.


Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 07:53:57 PM »
Do most prisons allow the inmates to hold their children? I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my husband will be sentenced in the next 3 weeks and off to NRC. We obviously don't know what parent prison he'll be sent to yet but I'm asking in general with all of your experiences. When our son is born and I get his birth certificate, I'll be taking him to see his daddy as often as I can but my husband and I were wondering if he'd be allowed to hold our son during the visit.

I dont have any small children but when I visit my LO i always see children sit on their dads laps.  When my LO was at Dixon, there was a mom that would be her 2 small children (about 1 and 4 years old) and the look on the 4 year olds face always made me smile.  He would be so excited.  His dad use to braid his hair at every visit.  One time I was leaving at the same time they were and the 4 year old told me I was cute ...... How adorable!!!! I started talking to the mom and she said that he would tell her to wash his hair before every visit so that his dad could braid it.  It was such a joy seeing the interaction between the father and his children.

I dont know if all facilities are like that but I hope they are as family friendly as possible.  The babies have/will experience enough negativity without IDOC adding to it.  Good luck on your pregnancy and this journey.

Its so funny that I posted this over 4 years ago. Our then 7 y/o grandson visited the county jail and is now visiting very frequently. He still has a good relationship with his father. This is important as our son has a long sentence. Its important to him too to maintain contact.

Offline HisWife1122

  • Jr. member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 1
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2018, 08:50:32 PM »

Be aware that newborns with an immature immune system will be exposed to unknown germs. Personally I would wait till the child is 3-4 months old as it is not a clean environment and you will be in a room with many people who come ill sometimes.
[/quote]

This is true...I think with him being born in July at least flu season will long done...my husband literally cries because he won't be here when he's born. I don't think I'll have the heart to wait until our son is 3-4 months old before he's in his daddy's arms but this is already something on my list to discuss with his doctor after he's born and has his first appointment. If doctor says no then hubby will just have to understand. Thank you for sharing your story about you grandson and his visits. I so happy he's still visiting and isn't negatively affected. I've worried about that with my son and whether he'll have a bond with his dad based solely off of our visits.

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2018, 05:12:48 AM »
You are welcome. It is still hard for our grandson (and will always be) but he is now 11 and prison visits are just part of his life - which makes me incredibly sad to say too.


Offline cem31

  • Full member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 7
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2018, 11:13:15 PM »
I think it really depends on the facility and their specific policies. My husband is in Lincoln and I've seen newborns come to visit, seen dads holds their baby pretty much the whole visit, feed the baby and all, just not changing diapers. Once he goes to his parent facility you can always call and speak with them regarding their policy on your husband holding your son, most facilities will be upfront and let you know.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family, I'm so sorry to see that you have to go thru this IDOC journey at such a joyous time in both of your lives. I applaud you for wanting to make sure your husband is in your son's life, you are very correct when you said if you don't keep your child from becoming a statistic who will, I feel the same way. My husband went to prison when his son was 3 and his daughter was 2, he had not seen either one of them since they were 1 yr old. I made it my business to contact the mother's early in his sentence so that they could see their dad. I have been getting his son on a regular basis for the last 6 yrs...in the beginning driving over 12 hours roundtrip once or twice a month...and making sure they talk by phone on a regular basis just to ensure he knows his dad. My husband cried the first time he heard his son's voice 6 yrs ago, he was 4 at time. I'm still working on his daughter's mom, that one is a bit different situation.

 The visits, calls, letters, and pictures bring the guys so much joy and keeps them mentally on the outside with us, not in there with all that they have to deal with on a daily basis. Your husband having you and your son in his corner thru this journey is exactly what he needs to make his time fly by and be easier for you all. Happy trails to you, you found a great support system here on IPT to help you thru this time!!

Offline trauma4us

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 658
  • Karma: 15
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2018, 05:46:34 AM »
While it is good for the father to have contact with his children, for myself (I'm the Grandmother), it is more important that it be a good experience for the child. My son was in his son's life on a daily basis and they had a pre-incarceration strong relationship.  And...he was 7 when his father committed his crime and was arrested. My grandson visited in the tiny, rural jail for six months on a weekly basis and then when his Dad went to prison, he has continued to visit at least once, sometimes twice/month for the last 4.5 years.

We talk with our grandson a lot about the visits and he is fully aware that he doesn't HAVE to go, only if he WANTS to go. It is not the best environment for children even in the minimum security prison where my son is - there are people swearing, sometimes yelling at each other, sometimes other things going on that I don't want my grandson to think are normal activities in public. He is not allowed to talk with the other children present and must sit still for the visit. Where my son is, the inmates are not allowed to hold their children, even the infants - they used to be a few years ago but no longer.  My grandson is allowed a hug and kiss at beginning and end.

It is a very individual decision and you have to consider the age of the kids as well as whether they WANT to see their father. And...then realize that sometimes they might not want to see their father, because its hard on these older kids to see their father in prison.  We strive to make the visits pleasant but we do keep them to two-four hours and we let our grandson determine the visit time.

Its so individual...best wishes.

Offline HisWife1122

  • Jr. member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 1
Re: Deciding whether children should visit....anyone with suggestions???
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2018, 06:19:47 PM »
I think it really depends on the facility and their specific policies. My husband is in Lincoln and I've seen newborns come to visit, seen dads holds their baby pretty much the whole visit, feed the baby and all, just not changing diapers. Once he goes to his parent facility you can always call and speak with them regarding their policy on your husband holding your son, most facilities will be upfront and let you know.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family, I'm so sorry to see that you have to go thru this IDOC journey at such a joyous time in both of your lives. I applaud you for wanting to make sure your husband is in your son's life, you are very correct when you said if you don't keep your child from becoming a statistic who will, I feel the same way. My husband went to prison when his son was 3 and his daughter was 2, he had not seen either one of them since they were 1 yr old. I made it my business to contact the mother's early in his sentence so that they could see their dad. I have been getting his son on a regular basis for the last 6 yrs...in the beginning driving over 12 hours roundtrip once or twice a month...and making sure they talk by phone on a regular basis just to ensure he knows his dad. My husband cried the first time he heard his son's voice 6 yrs ago, he was 4 at time. I'm still working on his daughter's mom, that one is a bit different situation.

 The visits, calls, letters, and pictures bring the guys so much joy and keeps them mentally on the outside with us, not in there with all that they have to deal with on a daily basis. Your husband having you and your son in his corner thru this journey is exactly what he needs to make his time fly by and be easier for you all. Happy trails to you, you found a great support system here on IPT to help you thru this time!!

Thank you so much...this helps me know for certain that I'm doing the right thing for not only my husband Hut my son as well.