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.