Official Prison Visiting can be rewarding, frustrating or heartbreaking depending on circumstances, but whatever the OPV's personal feelings there can be little doubt that he or she will have made a difference to the prisoner who has been visited.
Many times the OPV may leave the prisoner and feel that he or she has achieved very little, but over time the cumulative effect of regular, friendly and non-judgemental contact with an unpaid, non-uniformed person from "the outside" can, and often does, make a positive difference.
The OPV must always remember that he or she is there for the prisoner, not the other way round! The prisoner is not there to feed the OPV's ego or sense of self worth. Nevertheless many prisoners like to feel "involved" enough with their OPV to listen to everyday "outside" worries as well as talk about their own problems.
Probably the most important attributes an OPV can have are:-
If you have all of the above and are willing to give of your time, you just could become one of the people to join the privileged group who are OPVs.
Do you have "Time to Listen. Time to Share. Time to Care."?
Becoming an Official Prison Visitor can be quite a lengthy process, although it is quite straightforward.
If you so wish, one option is to contact your local prison, or the prison where you wish to visit, by writing a letter of application to the Governor.
Prisons, however, are currently under considerable pressure due to changes which are being implemented, and it may be some time before your letter is acknowledged.
If you send your initial enquiry direct to the NAOPV at :- firstname.lastname@example.org we will not only send you additional information, but we will advise you on accessible prisons which are currently recruiting OPVs. We will then contact the Official OPV Liaison Officer at the prison DIRECTLY on your behalf. In this way we can monitor the progress of your application and investigate any delays or problems. As stated, OPV application and ultimate appointment procedure is a lengthy process and patience is required! If you have concerns, however, re: delays in the procedure of your application or appointment, the NAOPV can investigate and hopefully, resolve the situation - although it must be stressed that all appointments are made by the Governor and the NAOPV cannot influence his or her final decision.