There are certain rules and regulations that must be followed when one seeks to visit an inmate in a federal prison.
When can you visit an inmate?
Federal prisons have established certain days and times when you may visit an inmate. These day and times are known as visiting hours. Depending upon the facility and the specific needs of a prison’s inmates, visiting hours may vary.
While federal law permits each inmate at least four hours of visiting time per month, the prison may choose to offer more. It is the job of the Warden to decide the length of a visitation and the number of individuals that may visit at a certain time. This will serve to limit overcrowding.
While all facilities have visiting hours on weekends and holidays, it is still wise to contact the institution prior to visiting. The following link will provide you with contact information for the facility you wish to visit: http://www.bop.gov/DataSource/execute/dsFacilityLoc
Who can visit an inmate?
In order to visit an inmate, you must be on the inmate’s visiting list. This list is provided by the inmate and must be approved by staff. Often, background checks are performed on individuals that are not immediate family. Those who may be added to the list after staff approval include:
- Additional immediate family;
- Foster families;
- Common law spouses;
- Extended family;
- Friends and associates;
- Officials from an inmate’s home country.
Can children visit an inmate?
Children under 16 years of age may visit so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Additionally, their parent or guardian must approve of their placement on the inmate’s visiting list.
Can pets visit an inmate?
While pets are not allowed to visit federal inmates, certified service animals may accompany a visitor with a disability.
Do federal prisons allow conjugal visits?
The federal prison system does not allow conjugal visits.
Are there special provisions for visiting sick inmates?
Decisions regarding the visitation of sick inmates are made on a case by case basis. It is advisable to contact the individual institution for more instructions on visiting a sick inmate.
What are the procedures during inmate visitation?
When you arrive at the prison, you will be required to show a photo ID and sign in. At this time, the staff will make you aware of any policies and procedures that must be followed during the visitation. Staff may also ask you to sign a sworn statement claiming you are carrying no items that could prove to be a security threat. Should staff wish to search you, they may do so.
Before your visit, staff must also approve your clothing. Those wearing provocative or revealing clothes may not be permitted to participate in visitation.
Should the Warden deem it necessary, the visiting room and restrooms may be monitored during your visit.
Will you be allowed to physically touch the inmate you are visiting?
During a visit to an inmate, it is generally appropriate for a visitor and a prisoner to shake hands, hug, or kiss. This is permitted so long as the contact is in good taste. If staff deems it necessary, they may limit contact between an inmate and a visitor.
What sort of items cannot be brought to visitation?
Items such as drugs, weapons, unauthorized medicines, or unauthorized money is not allowed during visitation. Bringing such items into a prison is a serious crime and is punishable by jail time.
The following items are allowed in the visiting room:
- Photo identification;
- Authorized money;
- Baby care items;
- Certain medications.
For a more detailed list of those items that are allowed and those items that are prohibited, you may wish to contact the institution.
Can you bring an inmate a gift?
All gifts must be approved in advance and the staff cannot accept money for deposit in an inmate’s account. You should contact the institution for further instructions. The following link will provide you with contact information for the facility you wish to visit: http://www.bop.gov/DataSource/execute/dsFacilityLoc
Resource link: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/html/how/visit_inmate.shtml