When a loved one has been incarcerated, it can be painful to realize you can no longer simply stop by his or her home to visit or plan to meet somewhere in public. Fortunately, inmates within the Federal Bureau of Prisons system are allowed to have visitors.
Understanding how prisoner visitation works can take some of the stress out of the process of maintaining relationships with incarcerated loved ones. This page provides information designed to help readers understand inmate visitation rules and procedures, including information about who can visit inmates, how frequently visits can occur, and how to plan jail visitation.
How to Get Approved for Inmate Visitation Privileges
Generally, both family members and friends can visit incarcerated people. Immediate family members are automatically approved for jail inmate visitation. This category includes parents (including step- and foster parents), siblings, spouses (including common-law spouses if recognized in that state), and children. Note that children under age 16 must obtain parent or guardian approval before being approved for prisoner visitation. Immediate family members should be listed in the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSR).
While not automatically approved, other relatives and up to ten friends, members of religious or civic groups, clergy, employers, sponsors, parole advisors, and attorneys may also be approved for jail visitation. Visitors who are not part of the inmate’s immediate family must first complete and submit a visitation application form and be approved/added to the inmate’s visitation list. This form asks questions about the proposed visitor’s relationship to the inmate and about the visitor’s criminal history (if any).
How to Schedule Visits with Inmates
Each prison facility has its own visiting days/hours, so check with the inmate you want to visit to determine what day or days you will be able to see them. Generally, prison visits are available on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, although individual facilities may limit visits to just one day/week. Jail inmate visitation days and times are determined by a number of factors, including where the prison is and what type of facility it is, the availability of space to accommodate visitors, and inmates’ visiting needs.
You will be responsible for arranging your own transportation for the visit, as the bureau of prisons does not provide transportation or reimburse visitors for costs incurred in visiting incarcerated loved ones. Prison staff should be able to provide directions to help you find the prison, including public transportation options, if available.
The inmate you plan to visit should be able to give you information about prisoner visitation days/times, but you can also contact the prison facility’s front desk or the inmate’s counselor with more questions about visitation. Note that prisoners are limited in the number of visitors they can see within a month. However, inmates in the federal prison system get at least four hours of jail visitation each month and multiple people in a group (such as family members) can visit an inmate together.
There are dress code expectations for visiting inmates in prison. Visitors are expected to wear appropriate clothing that is not provocative or revealing. In addition, visitors and the inmates they are visiting are expected to behave in an orderly, quiet, and dignified manner during visits. Visitors should also be aware of rules restricting what they can bring with them when visiting someone in prison. Visitors must present a valid photo ID, and may otherwise only bring a wallet, keys, and a clear plastic bag with money to be used in vending machines.
Zoukis Consulting Group Can Help You Prepare for Prison Life
Planning ahead for visits with loved ones can provide much-needed comfort and peace of mind, for inmates and visitors alike. Contact Zoukis Consulting Group today for more information about prison life and about how to prepare for prison.
Published Apr 7, 2016 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Feb 3, 2023 at 11:52 am