Q: I visited my son in prison last week and I have been so worried about him ever since. He is usually so outgoing but this time he was very withdrawn and didn’t want to talk. He even cut the visit short. He said he didn’t feel well but he kept looking around him and seemed very nervous. The more I think about it the more I am sure he is being bullied. I don’t know whether I should say something in case he is too afraid to say anything himself, but I don’t want to make things difficult or worse for him. Can you advise me what I should do?
A: Most prisons these days do have a dedicated anti-bullying and anti-drugs hotline that you can call. You will more than likely find details of how to make contact with them on your Visiting Order. If you can’t see anything there, then have a look next time you visit to see if there is a notice advertising the hotline in the Visitors’ Centre at the prison.
If you are still unable to find any information you can always write to the Governor at the prison where your son is being detained. In your letter you should explain who you are, give your son’s name and prison number and tell the Governor that you suspect your son is being bullied and why. Give the Governor as much detail as you can. It is better to write rather than to telephone because the information is more likely to get to the right person who can deal with the problem. In addition it is good to have an accurate account of your concerns in writing. Finally, it is also very important to keep copies of your letters.