Who Can Visit?

This page provides basic information about visiting. It does not cover every situation. For the official regulations, see Program Statement (P.S.) 5267.07, Visiting Regulations.

To visit, you must be on the inmate's approved visiting list. The inmate gives a list of proposed visitors to staff, who investigate the proposed visitors before putting anyone to the list. The list includes:

  • Immediate family: mother, father, step-parent(s), foster parent(s), brothers and sisters, spouse, and children. (Common-law spouses are considered immediate family if the state recognizes common-law marriages.)
  • Other relatives: grandparents, uncles, aunts, in-laws, and cousins.
  • Friends and associates: usually, an inmate's visiting list should not include more than 10 friends and associates.

When an inmate arrives at an institution, he/she receives an institution handbook that has visiting procedures, including:

  • prison address/phone number, directions, and information about local transportation
  • days and hours of visitation
  • approved dress code
  • items authorized in the visiting room
  • special rules for children
  • items visitors may bring to give to the inmate
  • identification requirements for visitors
  • special visitor requirements

An initial visiting list is ordinarily established within a few days. It includes immediate family members approved to visit. Additional family members and friends may be added following investigation.

The inmate is responsible for giving each approved visitor the visiting guidelines and directions to the prison.

Other types of approved visitors

  • for foreign inmates (i.e., non-U.S. citizens), officials from their home country's embassy or consulate
  • members of religious and civic groups
  • clergy, former or prospective employers, sponsors, and parole advisors, when the visit is to help with release planning and discussion of family problems
  • attorney visits: special rules apply for attorneys. Attorney visits are private and usually take place somewhere other than the visiting room. See P.S.1315.07, Legal Activities, Inmate.

If you have previously been convicted of a crime, staff will decide, based on what sort of crime and how recent it was, whether you will be allowed to visit. If you are on probation, parole, or supervised release, you are required to have written authorization to visit.

Children under 16 must have an adult with them when they visit. Their parent or guardian must approve their placement on the visiting list. Some institutions have programs for young children during visitation.

Pets are not allowed. Only assistance dogs that help a visitor with a disability are allowed. You must show certification that the dog is trained for that purpose.