It is exciting to visit our incarcerated loved ones in prisons. So you should make sure you have all the arrangements in place. This allows the visitation to happen peacefully with no disruptions.
Not following the proper steps will cause Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) authorities to deny your prison visit. That means, all of your traveling and planning will be for nothing. Follow these procedures to ensure BOP doesn’t deny you the chance to visit your loved one in federal prison.
4 Steps to Visiting a Federal Prisoner in the US
There are four steps that should be taken for any visitation at a federal prison to happen.
1. Locate the Federal Inmate
You must find out the name and location of the federal prison facility where the inmate is being housed. Check before visiting because this is subject to change without notice to you.
There are instances whereby an inmate can be moved to a different facility. Reasons being:
- For the inmate to benefit from programs being offered in that facility
- Medical reasons
- Security concerns
2. Get Visiting Approval
To visit an inmate, you must be pre-approved first. Visitors need to receive clearance from the BOP. Inmates create a visiting list upon arrival in federal prison. In order to get BOP visiting approval and be placed on your loved one’s visiting list, the following must occur:
- Inmate is issued a Visitor Information Form on arrival to the facility
- Prisoner fills in their portion of the form and mails one to each potential visitor via USPS
- Visitor completes the form as required and mails it back to facility using inmate’s address
- BOP performs background check on potential visitor
- Inmate informed if visitor has been disapproved or approved
- Prison visitor informed of approval or disapproval status by inmate
3. Inmates Visiting List
There are certain people that are allowed to go on an inmate’s visiting list. There are three categories of people:
- Immediate family
- Foster parents
- Other Visitors
- Not more than 10 friends or associates
- Parole advisors
- Employers (past or prospective)
- Foreign officials
- Religious group members
- Civic group members
There are instances where a visiting list may not exist. This is when an inmate is new in prison or has been transferred to another facility. In such circumstances, the inmate’s immediate family members who have verification from the inmate’s pre-sentence report are allowed to visit.
The visit can be denied if there is little information on the prospective prison visitor.
4. Be Prepared
Make sure you are compliant with all the federal prison visiting rules, regulations and procedures prior to the visit.
Dress appropriately for prisons are places with large gatherings of people. Inappropriate dressing will result in denied entry. Contact the federal prison to know what kind of clothing is not allowed.
The maximum time of visitation an inmate has per month according to the law is four hours. Nevertheless, the prison can provide more, or less. Each prison’s warden has the authority to determine the length of visits and the number of people that can visit at a time. This reduces congestion in the visiting rooms.
You have to make sure the visits are quiet, orderly and dignified. This is due to the many people visiting at the same time, which can be loud and disruptive, if everyone doesn’t follow the rules.
Handshakes, hugs and kisses are allowed at the beginning or the end of a visit. This, however, is done under the supervision of the correctional officers to prevent people from introducing contraband. It also helps to keep the visiting area orderly. Conjugal visits (overnight visits between husbands and wives) are prohibited in federal prison facilities by BOP.
All federal institutions allow visitation on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Most of them allow prison visits on various weekdays too. Other factors that affect the visiting schedule are:
- Prison location
- Prison type
- Inmate visiting needs
- Availability of visiting space
The inmate being visited should keep you informed on the visiting schedule of the prison. You may also call the prison to find out.
How to Find a Ride to a Federal Prison Visit
You have to make your own prison visitor transportation arrangements in order to visit a federal prison in the US. This is because, unfortunately, the federal government does not provide any types of rides to prisons for visiting loved ones.
If you need to visit a federal prison, we can help. If you already have a prison trip planned, announce your prison carpool here so others can see it. Anyone in your area trying to get to the same prison can contact you about carpooling with you to your visit.
Dying to visit your incarcerated loved one in a federal prison but have no transportation whatsoever? Post your prison carpool request online. That way, other PrisonLifters and business owners visiting that prison can view your request, and contact you with further information about that prison visit trip.