With the prison industry growing, the rules and regulations within jails tend to get more complicated by the day. A felon looking to visit a prisoner needs to look at different policies before knowing that it is possible for them to do so. Certain jails allow felon visits by reviewing their visiting application and granting them permission based on a number of different factors.
Requirements and Things to Pay attention
1. Types of Visitation
Felons have the options to avail different types of visitation when it comes to seeing inmates. The options nowadays include video calls, non-contact visitation, and contact visitation.
- Contact visitation is when the felon has the option to sit with the inmate over a small table for a small amount of time. There are limitations to the amount of contact that can be done, and it is usually kept at brief levels.
- Non-contact visitations include being divided by a glass wall and using a telephone to communicate with each other.
- Finally, modern-day developments have led to video visitation becoming common as well with communication being possible from one’s own home. It is similar to a video conference and allows communication based on webcams. This eradicates the need for the felon and inmate to meet in person.
2. Before Your Visit
Before a felon visits an inmate in prison, they need to ensure that the inmates have their information such as their name, address, phone number and other basics. This is because prisons require inmates to submit a list of visitor information which includes the people who may or may not visit them during their jail time.
If you are not able to communicate your information to the inmate you want to visit, you have the option of writing them a letter with the details. Once a felon’s name makes the visitors list, they have the ability to visit.
3. Visiting Application
Some prisons may require felons to fill out a visiting application. It is basically used to gather information about the visitor for administrative and security reasons. The idea is to answer all questions honestly, following which the prison will perform a background check to confirm your identity.
At times, visiting applications may be rejected, which can be possible due to multiple reasons. Some of them are:
- False information
- Outstanding Warrants
- Parole or probation
- Being on more than one visitor’s list
An approval to visit is normally given to the inmate, so you need to be in contact with the inmate to find out if your visiting application has been approved or not.
4. Preparing for Your Visit
In order to prepare for your visit, you may want to check with the inmate about the visiting hours. Most prisons make their visiting hours public, but there may be unforeseen circumstances during the day which could lead to a change. You can reach out to the inmate to ensure that the visiting hours are confirmed and are still applicable.
As soon as the visiting hours are confirmed, you need to put together all the right identification required for yourself to get through the prison gate. A driver’s license along with a photo ID should get you going.
5. What to Wear
Most prison facilities have a dress code for visitors. You need to be aware and mindful of this fact when you choose to visit a prisoner. What needs to be kept in mind is as follows:
- Matching with inmates is forbidden
- Formal shirts and footwear are compulsory
- Decent clothing without a large amount of skin being exposed
- Shorts, skirts, and sleeveless clothing are not allowed
- Tight clothing and jewelry are also not acceptable
The guards on duty observe your dress code and would decide whether it is permissible or not. Make sure you follow the dress code closely so as not to waste time going back to change.
Dress Code: As mentioned earlier, the dress code revolves around wearing formal and decent clothing which does not fall into the category of any form of extreme. It is best to avoid accessories and to ensure most of your skin is covered through shirts, pants, and shoes.
6. Arrival at the Facility and Search
Plan to arrive at the prison facility early as you will be required to fill out some paperwork. However, it is best not to arrive more than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
You should know that it is common practice for a felon to be searched intensively upon arriving at the facility. The search will be done of both your car and yourself, and it is normal to expect a pat-down or a strip search.
7. What Items Can You Bring to Visitation?
The items taken to the prison facility are to be kept minimum. One can only bring their identification, car keys, and small bills to use the vending machines in the area. However, anything on top of that is to be left behind. Some prisons allow visitors to rent out lockers to store their belongings, while others may not have this option.
It is best to avoid bringing any form of medications or drugs into the facility. If found, it could result in charges being applied as well as bans from further visits.
Criteria for Felons to Visit
1. Criminal History
One thing we know for sure is that the criminal history is taken into account when it comes to approving the visiting application of a felon. Upon careful examination, felons who were charged with minor crimes may have a higher chance of being provided with approval.
However, if they have been involved in a heavy or serious crime, it is likely that they will be denied the chance.
2. Time Since Conviction
The time since the conviction of the felon also makes a difference as to whether their application will be accepted for a visit. Felons who still have pending charges may not be permitted to visit.
However, if your charges are clear and a considerable amount of time has passed ever since your conviction, the chances of being provided with an approval is high.
3. Relationship to Inmate
Felons having a direct or familial relationship with the inmate will have a higher chance of being provided approval to visit them. The relationship, timing, and reason for the visit are taken into account while examining the application.
4. Place of Incarceration
Depending on the prison policies, an ex-felon may not be possible to visit an inmate at a prison that they themselves were convicted at. Such applications might be immediately denied without any other factors being taken into account.
5. Felons on Probation
Certain felons, when released, are put on probation periods, which results in restrictions on them from being able to visit other inmates. Certain facilities take this more seriously, whereas others might not. Depending on the prison you are visiting, your application might be denied if a probation or restriction has been put on you, making it difficult to interact with other inmates in the jail cell.