I remember as a kid playing the “Monopoly” board game, which infamously has a Jail space where your pawn can either be “In Jail” or “Just Visiting”.
How does “Just Visiting” a jail or prison work in real life? According to American TV ™, “visiting” more or less means that you are going there to see a specific inmate, you are escorted into a controlled meeting area, and there might even be a barrier between you and the inmate.
Is that it? Are all prisons and jails like this? Are there any cases where visitors are allowed to mingle more or less freely with inmates? To make an analogy, many other residential institutional environments permit visitors more or less uncontrolled access to many campus areas. E.g. most public universities don’t seem to mind if you wander around casually or even eat in the dining hall as long as you don’t try to take advantage of student discounts or benefits (i.e. commit fraud) and don’t cause a disturbance. Likewise, I visited a Catholic monastery once and was permitted to wander freely around the grounds and chapel and chat with whatever monks or priests might be interested in chatting with me. The only place I couldn’t go was the residential areas.