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Visitation in Prison or Jail

Prison Visitation Rules & Realities

Most inmates want and look forward to visits from family and friends. It is a brief chance for the inmate to see a loved one and to remember the outside world. If you do not follow the prison rules for visitation, there will be no visit. All correctional facilities require a valid government photo I.D. for identification. In most instances the visitor will have to be listed on the inmate’s visitor’s list. The number of visitors will vary depending on the rules and regulations of the correctional system, prison, or jail. If you want a successful visit, it is important to comply with the visitation rules and regulations of the prison.

The correctional officers are always on the look out for smuggled contraband such as drugs and weapons. If you are caught smuggling, your visit will be cancelled, and you will be charged with a crime. There are minor infractions that can  also result in the termination of your visit or even your visitation privileges. At SMPRU, I observed a mother and daughter turned away from the visitor’s room because both had flip flops. This family had traveled over an hour to see their loved one. All prisons are going to have at least the following rules for visitor dress code:

All visitors, including children, must dress appropriately for visitation. All clothing must cover the individual from the neck to the kneecaps.

Prison Visitation Rules

The following types of clothing are not allowed to be worn:
• tube tops, tank tops, or halter tops
• see-through clothing
• mini-skirts, mini-dresses, shorts, or culottes (at or above the kneecap)
• form-fitting clothes such as leotards, spandex, and leggings
• clothes that expose a person’s midriff, side, or back
• tops or dresses that have revealing necklines and/or excessive splits
• coats, jackets, shawls and scarves will be placed in an appropriate area.

The security level of the prison and the inmate will determine the quality of the visit. Prisons with higher security levels will have more stringent rules regulating visitation. At MCTC, a medium security institution, all of the inmates sit in a row of chairs opposite their visitors. The inmate and the visitor are allowed to kiss and hug only at the beginning and at the end of each visit. The rules prohibit any touching during the visit. Correctional officers are always watching for any infraction of the visitation rules. The officers are looking for drugs, tobacco, and other illegal contraband. All inmates are completely strip searched after a visit. Despite the rule of no touching at MCTC, officers have found weapons and drugs on inmates during the strip searches.

Prisons and jails have specific days and times for visitation. You should check the prison’s web site for the visitation schedule. It is worthwhile to call the prison before you visit to confirm that the visitation schedule has not been changed. Prisons and jails can change the  visitation schedule for many reasons including lock down. It  means that all inmates are confined to their cells and all visits are cancelled. A prison or jail lock down can result from prison violence. Five Illinois prisons have been locked down in the past week because of a spike in inmate violence.

In order to avoid any problems regarding your visit, you need to be prepared.

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11 Responses to Visitation in Prison or Jail

  1. Missy Miles August 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    North Branch Correctional Institution ( MD ) has been on lock down for 4 weeks now, I have been told this is indefinitely. No visits for the foreseeable future.

    • PrisonPath August 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Hi Missey,

      Prison violence has led to the lock down at the North Branch Correctional Institution in MD:
      CUMBERLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s prison system–out of control. Correctional officers call for action after security leaders fail to warn them about a planned inmate attack. It’s just one of a dozen assaults in recent weeks.
      For more details, click this link.
      From PrisonPath: For more information about prison life, click this link.

  2. Shirley August 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    can i fill out a visitor request form CAJ-103 on line?

    • PrisonPath August 23, 2013 at 1:26 am #

      Hi Shirley,

      Are you referring to a California prison?

  3. PrisonPath August 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    David Warren– The iWebVisit remote video visitation system allows video visits to be scheduled by the visitor from home or other location with a high speed internet connection. The family member can visit with the inmate without the expense and travel time required for a regular on-premise visit. iWebVisit is not a replacement for regular visits but an enhancement that can provide inmates families greater access on a much more frequent basis without cost of travel, parking etc…More contact with family members reduces recidivism and iWebVisit is just one more way to increase that contact.

  4. PrisonPath August 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    this is so true also call ahead before making a long trip keep in touch with the chaplain. This advice also valid in any mental hospital and treatment center. As a former inmate and now Prison volunteer visiting prisons and mental facilities. So I am well qualified to understand the situations from both sides of the fence. God bless
    By Phillip

  5. PrisonPath August 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Brian–I have had visits and not. While incarcerated in Minnesota as a youngster I had monthly visits from my parents which I looked so forward to. While in jail in Georgia I had no visits and in prison in Nevada no visits. Although it is hard to explain the time went faster without visits.

  6. dorothy johnson September 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Are you alowed to bring anything in to an inmate , such as cash or pictures?

    • PrisonPath September 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Dorothy,

      For information about what you can bring in at your visit at the Jefferson Correctional Institution in Florida, see the following:
      How much money can I bring in during my visit?

      Up to $50.00, in $1.00, $5.00, $10.00 and $20.00 denominations only or silver change, per visitor, regardless of age, to purchase snacks and beverages from visiting park canteens or vending machines. All snacks and beverages shall be purchased and consumed in the visiting area. A small wallet or pouch may be used for containing the bills and any change received from the canteen or vending purchases.

      What else may I bring into the visiting park?

      You may bring a vehicle key necessary to operate your vehicle. However, keyless entry devices are not permitted unless the duty warden or designee determines that the device is the only means for the visitor to access the vehicle and it does not pose a threat to institutional security.

      What If I need my prescription medication?

      You may bring in medication, but only the dosage necessary. The medication must be in the original prescribed container and must be clearly marked. However, certain restrictions apply and the department reserves the right to prohibit certain prescriptions which may pose a threat to institutional security.

  7. dorothy johnson September 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Can you fill out a visitation request on line for Jefferson correctional institute in florida?

    • PrisonPath September 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Hi Dorothy,

      Please note the following information about visitation at the Jefferson Correctional institution in Florida.

      Visitor applications will not be distributed at the reception centers. Inmates will be given up to fifteen copies once they reach their permanent location. Inmates are responsible for sending visitor applications to those family and friends they wish to be considered for placement on their visiting list. The completed visitor applications are to be sent to the Classification Department at the institution where the inmate is assigned.
      From PrisonPath-For information about prison life, click this link.

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