Visitors can not come in passed 2:00PM on designated visiting days. Visiting ends at 3:00PM anyway. People generally stop coming before that. Most of the time there is no problem.
Most of the time.
It was a busy day in the visiting room one afternoon. I was escorting visitors to the visiting room. It was 1:50PM when some visitors showed up. The front lobby officer and I processed them in. By the time we were done and the visitors were ready to go in, it was just passed 2:00PM. Just as I was escorting them back to the visiting room, a young girl walked in. She was wearing a low cut tank top. The front lobby officer informed her that we were done with visitors for the day and also, she wouldn’t be allowed to wear that inside. The girl left. I escorted the visitors back to the visiting room.
When I arrived in the visiting room, there were a few visitors that were ready to leave, so I escorted them out. As I walked back to the front lobby, I noticed the front lobby officer was looking rather annoyed. As the visitors left, I noticed some people sitting in the waiting room. Visiting was closed. It was 2:15PM by then. What were those people doing? Then I noticed one of those people was the young girl who came in before, as well as an older woman and a young boy.
I ask the other officer there what was going on. She said that she told these people that visiting was closed but they refused to leave. I decided to try and talk to them. I walked over to them and very politely informed them that visiting was closed at 2:00PM.
The woman says no. She tells me she got there at 1:30 PM and that she has been waiting for 45 minutes and the bitch front lobby girl refused to let her in.
I say no, that is not true. I was here.
She flips out. She starts screaming at us. She calls us racists. The front lobby officer and I are both white and the visitors are black. I tell her that is uncalled for. I ask her to leave. She still will not. She is calling us names. She is shouting that she makes more money than we do. She is just belligerent. I escort her out.
She returns the following morning. We don’t want to let her in. We do not want her to disrupt the visiting room. We tell the lieutenant. He comes out and talks to her and informs her that her previous behavior was unacceptable. That we are going to let her in, but if one rule is broken, her visit will be over. I escort her back. She is apologetic. She had already apologized to the front lobby officer. The lieutenant went out and spoke to the inmate as well. There were no more problems.
I know that people come to visit friends and family, but they should also remember that they are entering a federal prison and there are rules. They are in place for your safety and the security of those inmates we are charged with. We are not trying to punish visitors. We are doing our jobs. We do not punish inmates. The incarceration is their punishment. We keep them safe while they serve their time.
We are not the enemy.
We are correctional officers.
We are the good guys.