What Do You Talk About When Visiting Someone in Prison?

By Prison Insight Staff

Updated: June 2, 2020

I don’t consider myself to be a big talker, but my family might disagree. Even with a journalism degree and a podcast, I feel like I do most of my talking through the written word instead of speaking.

When I do have conversations with my friends, I prefer going deep on an interesting subject instead of putting up with boring small talk. It could be because I’m a cannabis user, but I love deep discussions about often-avoided topics like politics and religion. I also love talking about philosophy, sociology, and history. 

When I’m in silly mode, I do enjoy talking about movies, TV, and other pop culture topics. I’m always telling anyone who will listen about the latest awesome TV show I’ve binged. 

Of course, these are all my favorite things to talk about in the free world. But, did I feel the same way when I was in prison for four years? I looked forward to each and every visit with my friends and family when I was in prison, but they weren’t always easy.

This leads me to today’s blog post: What do you talk about when visiting someone in prison?

In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:

  • No topic is off limits during a prison visit
  • Visits are extremely important to prison inmates
  • What do you talk about with kids during a prison visit?
  • What do you talk about with a significant other during a prison visit?

No topic is off limits during a prison visit

When visiting someone in jail or prison, there is really no right or wrong thing to talk about. The conversation topics will largely depend on the kind of relationship you have with the prisoner and the reason for the visit. However, it is important to keep the conversation as calm and pleasant as possible so that everyone can leave the visit feeling good about the experience.

There are so many things a person can talk about at a visit, and anything you’d talk about outside of prison or jail is just fine. Conversation is conversation. Visits keep an inmate close to those they care about and enables them to share their lives, even though they can’t be with you on a daily basis. 

Whether you’re talking about the weather or the meatloaf you made for dinner last night, no subject is taboo. Obviously, your conversations will differ depending on who you are visiting. Where you fit into the person’s life will determine where the conversation goes.

Visits are extremely important to prison inmates

Visits are very important for the well being of both the prisoner, but they are also extremely important for their friends and family. They help keep a sense of normalcy and connection between people who care about each other, and visits keep everyone informed about what’s going on in each other’s lives. 

No subject is taboo, although continuously berating the prisoner for their bad decision is probably not the best use of conversation time. It only serves to hurt the inmate’s self worth, and it doesn’t improve the relationship. However, telling the prisoner how their actions made you feel or affected your life is completely acceptable and should be encouraged, as it can lead to improving the relationship.

What do you talk about with kids during a prison visit?

I don’t have kids, but the inmates who do say that ANYTHING their children want to talk about is perfect. Being an incarcerated parent is especially difficult because they miss so much of their children’s lives, and they are starving for details of their everyday routines. They want their kids to sing them a song, draw them a picture, hug them (a lot) and just be themselves.

What do you talk about with a significant other during a prison visit?

If your significant other is incarcerated, it is important for you to be completely honest about all your feelings, no matter if they are good or bad. It’s also a good idea to share your desires for the future of your relationship. 

If you’re hurting or scared, be open about your feelings and allow your partner to do the same. The time apart when a significant other is incarcerated can be an amazing opportunity for growth in any type of relationship. It can also be a safe time to end unhealthy and abusive relationships.

No matter who you are and who it is you’re choosing to visit in a correctional facility, always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and be as loving and supportive as possible. 

You don’t have to love everything someone has done in order to love the person behind the mistakes. Forgiveness is about you and your healing, and unconditional love has the power to change lives.

Do you have any good prison visit stories? Let us know in the comments below.


My own personal experience

Interview with WERDCC inmates
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