When planning a visit to a loved one, knowing the visiting hours is very important. Imagine driving all the way to the facility only to discover the visiting hours are a different day, or that you just missed the window of time available for visitation hours!
What Days are visitation allowed?
All United States Prisons have visiting hours on weekends and holidays. Some also have visitation times at other points during the week. So if a weekend doesn’t work with your schedule, check to see what other times are available. The hours during the day that visitation is available do vary.
United States law declares that each inmate is allowed at least four hours of visitation each month. Individual facilities are allowed to provide more time. But, if the visiting room is very full, the Warden may restrict the length of your loved ones visit, or how many people are allowed in the visiting room at the same time.
The inmate should be able to tell you what visiting hours available are. But, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the facility itself.
While conducting a weekly Bible Study at the local jail, the group I served with discovered that calling ahead, before making the hour long drive was well worth it. Several times we were saved from the loss of time and gas money that would have occurred. Sometimes inmate fighting caused a no visitation time. Other times, while the facility was under expansion construction the building simply had no place to let our group meet. Many times calling ahead allowed the facility to let us know about any reason we would not be able to visit, as well as to prepare for our group prior to our arrival.
What might affect my visitation time?
Several other elements may influence the availability of visitation time with your loved one. Here are a few questions to ask prior to your visit:
· What type of prison are you visiting? Some prisons will be far stricter than others. For instance, those deemed high risk inmates may have more restrictions than those who are in for lack of child support or bounced checks.
· Where is the prison located? If it is nearby time may not be a big deal, but if you are driving several hours, or visiting a loved one in a different state, you’ll want to be more certain of the visitation times, and how long it will take to get home.
· How much visiting space is available? Some prisons have multiple areas available. Others are very limited. You are more likely to be able to visit with your loved one if the facility has a larger capacity. Also, if you are traveling with a group to visit, you’ll want to know how many may visit at the same time, or whether you need to go in one at a time.
· What are the inmate visiting needs? Does the inmate need to be able to take medication at a specific time each day that might affect the time they are available to visit with you?
Interested in reading about life from the loved one of an inmate’s perspective? Renee Patterson has written some fascinating books that are available now on Amazon.