Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 10:46 PM

I am not sure how many of you will go to the Texas prisons.....but I do have information about the French Robertson Unit in Texas.  It is located in Abilene, Texas.  If you live over 300 miles there is a hospitality house that you can make reservations at, but the reservations must be made like Monday or Wednesday before your visit.  You must call the warden to approve a four hour visit.  Most visitations are on Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  It would be wise to call ahead incase they are on lockdown.  The French Robertson Unit's phone number is 915-548-9035.  Right at the moment, I cannot find the Hospitality House number, but the Unit should be able to give you the number.  I know no shorts, no sleeveless shirts or dresses may be worn, even children should wear pants.  Those who arrive early will park in the waiting area on the other side of the guard shack.  When the shack opens, everyone will line up according to when they got there.  Do not be intimidated when others drive pass you, those are the guards driving in to go to work.  Your car will be checked before driving onto the unit grounds.  You will drive to the visiting parking.  Go inside, they will screen you with a metal detector before you go to the window to show your driver's licenses, give inmate name and number also at the guard shack and how many are visiting.  They will tell you if you can have a contact or non-contact visit at the window.  You will go through sliding doors to gate area, through gate, up walk to double doors.  Go to the desk, give them your driver's licenses, and they will give you a piece of paper.  You walk down the hall to sliding door, go inside, wait for door to close, the other door will open to the visiting area.  There is officers sitting at table just inside the door past the garbage can.  Give them your piece of paper, and they will tell you where to sit.  To avoid any delays, it is best to dress in Sunday best, nicely dressed.  Watch your language, some touching, like a hug and kiss at the beginning and end of visit.  You can have pictures made during or right before visit is over.  Watch your children, they are not supposed to be running around unsupervised.  This does irritate some visitors, because they are nosy and interrupt people who are trying to visit.  They do have complimentary cookies and drink for visitors, there is a table for coloring for the kids, and a video room that the children may watch Disney movies during visitation.  Please use good judgment in visitation, treat others as you would like them to treat you and be nice.  Some people cannot afford to go to the units all the time to see their loved ones, and they are trying to catch up with each other.  Children running around, screaming and yelling makes it hard for inmates and loved ones to visit, to hear each other.  Keep them with you, let them visit with their family member who is incarcerated, and keep them under control.  Be courteous to other visitors, you are not the only one visiting.  Everyone wants to have a pleasant visit.  If you get a chance, take advantage of the Marriage Seminars, they are the best for husbands and wives both.  Check with the chaplain for Christmas gifts from loved ones in prison.  The chaplain is over the signing up for the Marriage Seminars also.  I am not sure when the sign up is for the Christmas gifts from the loved ones, but the inmates should check with the chaplain as to when they should sign up children for the Christmas gifts.  That is about all I can think to tell about.

Bridgett A. Fowler