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The Holiday Season in Prison - Prison Inmate Search

The Holiday Season in Prison

What is prison like

Based on personal experience and observation, the prison holiday experience is bleak and dismal. Despite their tough demeanor, the young inmates are affected the most. When you walk by the telephones, you will hear the longing for home in the voice of a young man covered with violent tattoos. Although some correctional officers will act somewhat nicer, many officers become nastier than usual. The correctional officers serving their shift on the holiday are just as unhappy as the inmates to be in prison on December 25th.

Inmates serving life or long sentences take the holidays in stride. After so many years, for their own sanity, they have become immune to the holidays. They will go about their business as if it is a normal day in their abnormal world.

The visitor’s room will be decorated for the Christmas season. The visitors and inmates sit on rows of chairs facing each other. Despite the decorations, some of the correctional officers will still not allow a young child to sit on his father’s lap for a few minutes. The father gently places the crying little girl back into her mother’s arms. Everyone tries to act as if it is another normal holiday season. After the visit, as usual, you do not discuss your visit with other inmates since many inmates have not had visitors for years. A jealous inmate could decide to attack you or plant fake contraband in your cell.

For inmates, it is a relief to have the holiday season come to a close.

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10 Responses to The Holiday Season in Prison

  1. PrisonPath December 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    During my stints in prison I became amazed at how individuals who have acted selfish, self-centered, self-righteous, and egotistical would suddenly morph into a caring, compassionate, somewhat contrite and remorseful being because of one day out of 365. Myself included up until my awareness expanded and encompassed the difference between a noun and a verb. Anyone can say “I love you” and/or “I care”. Yet to be caring and loving in our deeds speaks volumes about one’s commitment “to do” as oppose “to be”. This is not to say the longing for home is insincere or the bleak and dismal atmosphere of prison life isn’t real. What this says is our culture is far more dysfunctional than we as a society care to admit.
    By Wilbur

  2. Martine Herzog-Evans December 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    I agree Bradley this is the worst time of the year. In France there is this tradition whereby families have an all day visitation and can bring a ‘parcel’ of 5 kgs maximum with goodies and special Christmas food. That sure lifts the spirit of those who have families. For those who do not, charities and churches can also bring parcels;

  3. BARBARA ALTLAND December 22, 2013 at 12:51 am #


    • PrisonPath December 22, 2013 at 2:18 am #

      Hi Barbara,

      Most prisons do not allow visitors to bring any items to a visit. It would be best to call the prison for confirmation.
      For information about prison life, read the 25 Rules.

  4. PrisonPath December 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    In 1999 when I became a Prison Chaplain, I noted that Church groups ended their visits to prisons by the middle of December. Prisoners become even more homesick then and some have suicidal thoughts. Thus began my annual Christmas day celebration at the Prison and the joy this generates, is unequaled. Thank You LORD for the privilege of serving in this area of your vineyard.
    By fay

  5. PrisonPath December 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    “Most individuals that are incarcerated will experience depression, loneliness and inner conflict during the holiday season. Being absent from family during these times makes it difficult for both the incarcerated as well as their family.”
    By Richard

  6. Sandra Johnson December 25, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    What are the visitation days for Christmas

    • PrisonPath December 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Sandra,

      For the schedule of any holiday, we recommend calling the facility directly to confirm the latest holiday schedule.

  7. PrisonPath December 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Christmas was always hard on me being locked up. From 14 to 24 I spent every years somewhere. I wish everyone who has family members locked up a happy holiday season.
    By Brian

  8. Anne December 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    When I first worked as a psychologist in a county jail, Christmas was awful. After meeting with one despondent inmate after another, I’d open the door only to hear Christmas music which was piped throughout the institution. “I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on me.”

    It was cruel. But I think the Sheriff thought it was a nice gesture.

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