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.