Visiting an inmate in Federal Prison – What you need to know

visiting an inmate in prison
Written By Rdap Dan

What to keep in mind when planning to visit an inmate

For most individuals, the process of planning to visit an inmate for the first time can be frustrating, nerve wrecking and confusing. First time visitors are not usually aware of what to expect and many questions enter their minds. They are not usually certain of what to wear, what to bring, whether to come with their kids or the type of identification they should present to the guards. Don’t worry, RDAP Dan’s guide will give you the answers to most of your questions.

The types of visitation

There are several types of visitation for inmates. Video visitation is now more common and at times, you can easily do it in the comfort of your office or home. It works just like Skype. Another type of visitation – telephone or non-contact visitation requires you to remain outside of a glass partition. Both the inmate and you will have a phone that you can use to communicate – the glass will separate you.

You will be able to sit with the inmate for a short duration. Even though contact might occur during the visitation, the touching is limited. Brief hello and goodbye hugs are permitted but holding hands is restricted. The guards might yell at you if you decide to cross the line.

Before the visitation

Before your visit, you should contact the inmate. Almost every inmate has something known as the visitors list. In some institutions, an inmate has to make a list of less than 10 people who will be allowed to visit. The inmate has to know the individual’s full name, phone number, address and some other information.

If you already know that your inmate does not have all that information, you should send them a letter or provide them with the details the next time they call. Some institutions might also require the potential visitor to complete a visiting application. Some institutions will only make the form available after the inmate has requested a copy.

What to bring to federal prison visitation

This highly differs from one corrections facility to another. In some facilities, you can rent a locker for about 15 minutes for storing all of your belongings, but others do not have any lockers. Generally, you should only bring your single car key, ID, eyeglasses and small bills to buy the inmate some snacks. If you have a baby or small child, you might need a diaper or single bottle during the visitation. Never bring cigarettes, medications or illegal substances as that can lead to revocation of your visitation privileges or even result in criminal charges.

The dress code when visiting federal inmates

When planning for visitation, you should keep in mind that every institution has a different dress code and you might not be able to visit an inmate if you violate the dress code. Avoid wearing clothing that resembles that of the inmates or the prison staffs’ clothing. If the prisoners wear white or khaki, do not wear these colors. Do not wear any kind of uniform as that presents a higher security risk.

During visitation, shoes and shirts are mandatory. You should not wear any clothing that exposes your back, chest, midsection or thighs. In addition, see through fabric and sleeveless shirts are not allowed.


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