what do you talk about when visiting someone in prison

What Do You Talk About When Visiting Someone in Prison

Visiting someone in prison can be a unique and complex situation, fraught with emotions and uncertainty. But what exactly should you talk about? Here’s a detailed guide.

Understanding the Prison Environment

The Emotions Involved

Prisons are often charged with a blend of contrasting emotions. Understand that your loved one might feel scared, isolated, or anxious. Knowing this helps frame your conversations in a way that provides comfort.

The Rules of Conversation

Different prisons may have different rules concerning what can and cannot be discussed. Familiarize yourself with these to ensure your conversations don’t get your loved one in trouble.

Initiating the Conversation

Breaking the Ice

This isn’t a typical meeting at a coffee shop, so the usual icebreakers might not work. You could start with something as simple as, “How are you today?” or “Tell me about your week.”

Utilizing Empathy

Empathy goes a long way in such settings. Show understanding and validate their feelings. Remember, empathy isn’t about agreeing; it’s about acknowledging their perspective.

Talking About Everyday Life

Don’t shy away from discussing mundane day-to-day activities. Sometimes, the simple things can provide a sense of normalcy and connection to the outside world.

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Conversing About the Outside World

While discretion is required to avoid triggering emotions, sharing updates about the outside world, such as technological advancements or societal changes, can be enlightening and stimulating.

Maintaining Positivity

Discussing Rehabilitation and Future Prospects

Prison is not just about punishment; it’s about rehabilitation. Engage in positive discussions about future plans, educational opportunities, or self-improvement avenues.

Respecting Boundaries

While openness is vital, respect the boundaries set by your loved one. Some topics might be too painful or sensitive for them to discuss.

Keeping The Conversation Flowing

Engaging in Shared Interests

This could be as simple as talking about a favorite movie, a shared hobby, or even a book both of you enjoy. Shared interests create common ground, making conversations easier and more enjoyable.

Talking About Loved Ones

Your loved one may want to hear updates about their family or friends. Make sure to keep these conversations positive and uplifting.

Understanding The Impact of Your Visit

Your visit matters more than you may realize. It provides a connection to the outside world, offers emotional support, and serves as a reminder that they are not forgotten.


Visiting someone in prison and figuring out what to talk about can be challenging. However, by understanding the environment, maintaining positivity, and engaging in shared interests, you can make these visits more comfortable and meaningful.


  1. What should I avoid talking about when visiting someone in prison? Avoid topics that might stir up negative emotions, like details of their case or negative news about loved ones.
  2. Should I bring up the subject of their release? Yes, if they are comfortable discussing it. Conversations about their future can instill hope.
  3. How can I provide emotional support during my visit? Showing empathy, listening attentively, and offering encouraging words can provide substantial emotional support.
  4. Is it okay to talk about everyday life outside of prison? Yes, talking about everyday life can provide a connection to the outside world and a sense of normalcy.
  5. How can I make my loved one feel less isolated? Regular visits, expressing your care, and engaging in meaningful conversations can help reduce feelings of isolation.
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