For family and friends who have the opportunity to, visiting a loved one in prison can make a world of difference to both the inmate and the visitors.
Maintaining face-to-face interaction is beneficial because it helps loved ones know how their inmate is doing and the inmate can stay updated on the lives of those they love.
Being involved in this way helps ease the transition for released inmates and their loved ones into home life and society.
Visiting rights can be taken away when a prisoner is out-of-line, unruly, or disruptive.
If an inmate has the incentive of receiving a visit from loved ones, they may try to keep their record clean. Plus, encouragement and support from those they love outside of prison can help put things in perspective, as prison can be a bubble.
As is the case with all forms of staying in contact with an inmate, visitation hours and scheduling are subject to change based on a variety of factors.
For the most part, a prison timetable is clear, but there are things to take into consideration when planning to visit an inmate.
Prison Visiting Hours
Visitation hours vary from facility to facility. Inmates will have a specific visit time that you should know about ahead of time. Visitation hours usually range from two to eight hours, oftentimes on weeknights or weekends. If a facility is large enough or co-ed, visitation may differ by gender, security levels, unit, etc.
Make sure to arrive fifteen-thirty minutes ahead of time to check in through security.
Sometimes facilities change the prison timetable or visiting hours and do not update their website. Family and friends should not just show up to the prison for a visit.
They should make all efforts to confirm visitation hours and that visitation has not been canceled. Some facilities maintain websites or social media pages that they regularly update with visitation cancellations or changes.
Length and Frequency of Visitation
Visits are timed and usually last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. Facilities have varying regulations on how often an inmate can receive visitors.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons, just one entity, allows each inmate four hours of visitation in a month. More time can be requested, although it is not guaranteed to be granted.
Some facilities do not have any limits. Be sure to check with the facility where your inmate is housed.
Inmate Visiting List
Before visiting an inmate, many facilities require that visitors complete applications and be on an inmate’s visiting list. When an inmate is booked into a facility, they sometimes will have to create a visitor list with the names of those they wish to see.
Much like with a phone call list (INSERT LINK), this list will be approved by facility staff. In addition, many facilities require that all visitors (including minors) fill out applications before visiting. These can take as long as a month or more to be processed, so try to complete the application as soon as possible.
Minors (under the age of 18) must always be accompanied by an adult.
Inmates in solitary confinement, who are ill, or who are on death row may not be able to receive visitors. Remember that visitation rights can be revoked based on an inmate’s behavior.