Jail Visit: How to Prepare to Visit a Friend/Relative in Jail

In the US, there are 639 people incarcerated for every 100,000 in the nation. While the numbers have been dropping since 1995, it’s still at a high enough rate that you might know someone who’s currently in jail.

We never plan to make a jail visit, but it happens. And when it does, you want to be there for the person who’s incarcerated, as they might feel scared and lonely.

If you have an upcoming prison visit with a loved one, then read on. Here’s how to prepare for jail visitation.

Search for the Location First

Chances are, you don’t know which jail your loved ones at. Don’t just assume; you need to look them up first.

To do so, you need their Master Index Number (MIN) or their full name and date of birth. You can then check it out on a jail website to confirm which jail they’re at.

Get on the Visitors List

Before you visit, you’ll need to ask your inmate to add you to their visitors’ list. They can have up to 10 visitors and they’ll need your name, address, phone number, and some other personal information.

You might also fill out a form, which they’ll use to perform a background check. You can be denied visitation rights for several reasons, including if you’re a convicted felon or are considered a security risk. But be sure to be truthful on the form, because if they find out you’ve lied, you’ll automatically get denied.

Schedule the Visit

Usually, the facility’s visitation limits will allow inmates to only have 1 visit a weekend. So speak to your loved one and plan ahead, as their other visitors might only have certain times they can visit. Coordinate these visits ahead of time so everyone can see the inmate.

They’ll need to submit a form after you agree on a visit, and this needs to be done at least 24 hours in advance.

Arrive Early and With the Proper Preparations

It’s best if you arrive at least 15 minutes early. You should also bring a government-issued ID to check in with.

You won’t be allowed to bring your phone in for visitation, so you might have to leave it in your car. Some jails have lockers, but these are coin-operated, so bring some coins, just in case.

Don’t bring anything that can be construed as a weapon. Wear minimal jewelry so you don’t accidentally set off the metal detector.

Even if your loved one begs you to do it, don’t bring anything in for them that’s not first cleared by the jail. Otherwise, you can both get into trouble if you’re caught.

Be Prepared for Your Jail Visit

Spending time with your loved ones and checking on their welfare is important. You don’t want anything to ruin that precious time, so make sure you’re prepared for their jail visit. From scheduling the visit to bringing the right things on the big day, follow the above steps to ensure you get the proper time to see your inmate.

If you need more information about supporting inmates, please take a look at the rest of our blog page now.

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