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Can a Felon Visit Someone in Prison?

Can a Felon Visit Someone in Prison

The US government enforces a lot of restrictions on a convicted felon. A felon also doesn’t retain all his civilian rights after imprisonment. Every felon understands the sufferings and painful feelings of imprisonment. This is why most felons stay away from prisons after their release. A felon however might need to visit someone in prison.

This could also be a friend or even a family member. Such a thing is not very uncommon. Felons often apply for visiting someone in prison. Are they allowed to do so all the time?

There is no specific rule that restricts a felon’s visit to the prison. Some terms and conditions however are applicable in this case. A felon needs to meet those criteria when visiting the prison.

What Are The Requirements For Visiting The Prison?

Every individual needs to follow a few regulations if they intend to visit a prison. These terms and regulations however differ from prison to prison. The prison authority determines and enforces these regulations. If a felon wishes to visit the prison, they need to apply in advance. Violating rules can lead to a direct rejection of their application.

General Guidelines For Visiting A Prison

1 The sentenced felon needs to enlist you in the visitor’s list. The prison won’t allow your visit if you’re not enlisted in this list. This is the primary criterion that is mandatory for everyone. You need to ask your inmate to enlist your name on the visitor’s list.

2 A visitor has to carry his photo identity verification with himself. They need to carry a document that clarifies their identity. The picture should be clear in the document for identification. The jailer won’t let them inside without valid identity proof.

3 Every visitor is supposed to provide his details upon entry into the prison. . All the provided details are also verified by the prison’s security staff.

can felons visit someone in prison

The required details include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Citizenship

4 Some prisons have set specific dress codes to enter the premises. Some prisons don’t allow visitors to wear coats and hoodies. Apart from that, visitors shouldn’t wear too loose or too tight outfits.

5 Mobiles, cameras, or other smart devices are strictly prohibited inside the prison. Visitors need to submit their phones or devices to prison staff before entering the prison.

6 Apart from this, a visitor cannot take other restricted objects and materials inside a prison. The visitor needs to go through the prison’s restriction guidelines before entering.

7 Most importantly, a felon visitor’s background is investigated in detail. There are some additional regulations and security checks for felon visitors. A felon visitor needs to undergo all those checks to get visiting permission.

What Factors Prevent Ex-Felons From Visiting Imprisoned Inmates?

Every prison authority is strict while granting an ex-convicts application for a visit. An ex-felon visitor needs to pass a waiting period for getting visiting permission. That waiting period generally ranges from one to six weeks.

The waiting period’s length however depends upon the prison authority’s decision. If any of the below mention criteria is applicable for you, chances are slim for you to get approval. The prison authority may also declare a longer waiting period in a few cases. If you’re applying for prison visiting permission, make sure you don’t hide your details.

Factors That Can Affect Waiting Periods

1 Prison authorities don’t allow visitors with a recent felony history. Many felons apply for visiting permission after release. Those applications however are not granted by any prison authority. A felon needs to wait for a certain time after his imprisonment to get permission. Any attachment with a correctional home however is a drawback for getting visiting permission.

2 Almost every felon undergoes a probation period after his release. If you’re under a parole officer’s probation, you can’t get visiting permission. You can however apply for permission after completing your probation.

3 Individuals with warrants on them also aren’t granted permission for prison visits. The FBI database registers every warrant. This is why a person can’t hide his warrant details from the prison authorities. The prison authority runs database scans during background checks. They reject an applicant with an ongoing warrant.

can the felon visit someone in prison

4 Don’t apply for visiting permission if a court case is against you. No prison authority allows visitors with criminal charges. Several accused persons get bail on bonds. Such people often apply for prison visiting permissions and get rejected.

5 A victim doesn’t get permission to visit his offender. Often the victim turns out to be the offender’s relative or friend. In such a case, the prison authority denies permission to the victim.

6 Visitors with unstable mental state or psychological conditions aren’t considered. A visitor is supposed to be completely sane during a visit. A prison authority considers a mentally unstable visitor as a risk.

7 The prison authority will not entertain your application if you don’t pass the security test. Authorities also conduct security tests to determine a person’s nature. If the authority finds you risky, they don’t let you in.

Why Do Prison Authorities Reject Felons’ Visiting Applications?

The approval of felons visiting application depends upon some major considerations. The jail authority scrutinizes every application for minute detail. The authorities run checks and check all details before permission is granted. This is the reason prison authorities ask for the application in advance.

Reasons Behind Application Rejections

  • A crime’s severity debars the criminal from the approved list. The prison authority also analyzes a visitor’s history to understand the nature of the crime. Authorities reject felons with sensitive and cruel crimes instantly. Felons with serious and violent criminal records are less likely to get permission. Non-violent criminals have a comparatively higher chance of gaining permission.
  • The post-conviction period matters in this case. Most prisons don’t allow criminals with a shorter post-conviction period. The post-conviction period refers to the time lapsed after a conviction. Every felon should pass a specific duration after conviction to get visiting permission. · A felon visitor must also have a good character certificate from a parole officer. This validates the recent social status of the felon. Every prison authority asks a felon for this mandatory document. If a felon however fails to show such a document, the authority denies his approval.

can a felon visit someone in prison

  • A prison authority checks the relationship between the imprisoned felon and the visitor. You will however get permission easily if you have a blood relationship with the offender. Other close relations also include friends and spouses.
  • The authority doesn’t allow a visitor if his crime is similar to the current convict. In such a case, the authority is strict and rejects the visitor’s application.
  • The visitor’s approach and behavior play a huge role here. Felons with positive rehabilitation efforts get permission easily. A visitor with a positive approach gets priority over others.
  • An applicant should also be honest about his past conviction. Ex-felons often don’t disclose their records in visiting application forms. Their convictions then get spotted by the authority during background checks. In such a case, the authority can lodge a complaint to the FBI against the applicant.


You can still visit your inmate even if you’re an ex-felon. You just need to follow the regulations closely and you will get approval. Violating these rules can lead to further punishments. Approach the authorities and get legal approval for your application. If you’re honest about your crime, your application might be approved on priority.

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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