7 Tips on What to Talk About When Visiting Someone In Jail

It can be complicated to know just what to talk about when visiting someone in jail, even if they’re a loved one that you’re very close to. However, fostering that connection with your incarcerated loved one can be very beneficial to them long-term.  Studies have shown that incarcerated men and women who maintain contact with supportive family members are more likely to succeed after their release. Before taking the trip to their facility, read our tips on what to talk about when visiting someone in jail to help you prepare. 

1. Share your joys

Sharing the positive events in your life, no matter how small, is a great place to start. Your incarcerated loved one wants to feel connected with you and with what is going on in your life. Talking about things like good grades in school, promotions at work, who is dating who, engagements, marriages, babies, etc. will help your inmate catch up with what is going on in your life. Even the small joys that might seem insignificant to you will be important to them, and make them feel as if they are still included in the outside world. 

2.  Let them know they are loved

One of the most important ways to show your inmate that they are loved is simply showing up. As most facilities are a long drive away, it means the world to them that you take the time to travel to visit. Your incarcerated loved one may feel lots of guilt and emotional baggage, and assuring them that they are worth the trouble of visiting can make them feel loved and important. 

 3. Lend a listening ear

Sharing the joys and triumphs in your life is meaningful, but listening can be equally important. The person in jail may not have an outlet for sharing personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and lending a comforting listening ear can make all the difference. 

4.  Be wary of future planning 

Discussing future plans can be a very touchy subject. Release dates can be very uncertain, and talking about the future may be difficult for the inmate to think about. For the most part focusing on past memories, fun moments, and joyful times together are better to discuss than plans for the future.

5.  Don’t be scared of emotions

Talking about and working through emotions is a very necessary part of visiting a loved one in jail. It can be a very difficult journey for them, with a lot of pain and sadness. Discussing how they are feeling, and maybe crying together, are good to go through in the beginning of your visit so you can end your time with the joyful things. 

6. What to avoid

The topics you should be wary about bringing up vary from person to person. Certain tough subjects like death in the family, struggles the person is facing on the outside, and other issues that the incarcerated person cannot be of any help with are best to avoid. The inmate may already be feeling helpless and disconnected from their loved ones, and do not need the additional pressure of the person on the outside’s struggles. 

7. Continue to stay in touch 

Visiting an incarcerated loved one is very valuable, but staying in touch in between visits is essential as well. Staying connected can be very beneficial to the inmate and remind them that they are loved and valued. Sending photos to your incarcerated loved ones using Pelipost can help foster your relationship with one another and stay in touch. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

26 Replies to “7 Tips on What to Talk About When Visiting Someone In Jail”

  1. I read the info on tips to talk about while visiting a loved one and found it very informative. Also I enjoyed using Pelipost for sending family pics and adding notes to them! I pray that Pelipost can stay up and running during this pandemic and beyond cause it is so important that or family and friends who happen to be incarcerated can see the beauty and love in photos. God Bless and Thank you Pelipost! Convenient and easy to use too!

  2. My young inmate friend absolutely loves the photos I send him. He is artistic and the inspire him. He really looks forward to them. Thank you for making this available.

  3. The suggestions are really true. I try very hard not to talk about negative issues regarding family. I know it hurts for inmate to hear this. I just want to have them be happy through any type of visit.n

  4. Thanks You for the input and out look on how to be a success in your inmates life situationa to be a positive source from the outside to the inside motivating and showing support

  5. My boyfriend is currently in prison and has between 13-18 months left before he’s due to be released. He was sentenced to 5 yrs in 2018. It’s been a bit complicated between us lately as I feel the closer it gets to his time being served….the more distant he’s become towards me. He tells me I’m overreacting and whenever I express my feelings to him….he writes back and says he wishes I could just “Go with The Flow” instead of worrying that something bad is going to happen between us when he gets out. I just wish he’d be a little more empathetic towards how I’m feeling vs. always making me feel like I’m just a whiney baby. I’ve been by his side this whole time and have helped him more times than I can count. I even gave him $2,900 to pay his restitution so any other money that his FAMILY and/or FRIENDS would give him so he could purchase things like commissary, music/movies for his tablet, etc. wouldn’t have to have 60% taken from it right off the top. He SAYS he appreciates everything I DO and HAVE DONE for him….but yet he has a pretty Neanderthal way of SHOWING ME that he does. I just want to be sure that I’m not just WASTING MY LIFE AWAY for a guy who SAYS he LOVES ME….yet it would be a MIRACLE if he were to ever actually show any REAL AFFECTION. Sometimes I wonder if he’s still just too emotionally immature for me as I’m 11 yrs older than him. The other thing is that we weren’t an actual couple before he landed himself in prison….we were more like friends who slept together every now and then. It wasn’t until he was in jail that he decided I was worth his TIME & EFFORT….but then again….what else do you really have to do when you’re behind bars!?!?! So it would probably be SOMEWHAT EASY for them to ACT as though they REALLY LOVE YOU….especially when they know YOU are their so called “MEAL TICKET”. I’m SLOWLY but SURELY picking up on a specific pattern with MY boyfriend as it seems the only messages I get from him that are super nice and where he’ll say he loves me like 3 times in one small message are the ones he’ll send me either RIGHT BEFORE he’s about to ask me for something OR….after he’s already asked me and I said YES and then let him know his so called “item(s)” are on their way. So yeah, it appears to always be whenever I’ve done something for him and it’s actually really hurtful at times for me to even THINK that he COULD actually be manipulating me INTENTIONALLY because he knows I’m usually just a big pushover.

    1. @ardeg76,
      I think you already have the answers to the questions and uncertainties you are feeling.. Sadly, It sounds to me as if you are being used and manipulated and you seem to be a wonderful person that any man would be lucky to have but are wasting the effort on someone who sounds like he is just interested in a “meal ticket” and will do or say anything to ensure he has just that. Im sure he’s out by now and you’ve already seen his true colors but in the off chance that you haven’t yet, be weary and always be alert to those red flags you’ve already begun to notice. You are noticing them for a reason and have already had gut instincts telling you to watch out so always trust your instincts and try to read between the lines, pay attention to how he acts in between those times that your giving him something he’s wanting and right before he asks. Best of luck to you, I hope you end up happy whichever way that turns out to be.

  6. I would love to do this, if you’ve done a minor crime I see nothing wrong with writing g an inmate …they need friends out of jail just to bs about this lucid world 🙂

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