Are Felons Allowed to Visit Inmates in Prison? Having spent an extended period in prison, felons know better than most how harsh and unforgiving things can get at times. So it’s no surprise that a felon who completed his time in prison might seem inclined to visit someone, be it a friend, or a family member, in jail.
Seeing that felons were once held in prison, it’s understandable to ask whether or not they’d be able to visit someone in a jail in order to relieve some of the pain and bitterness someone might feel while in prison.
So, is a felon allowed to visit an inmate in prison? This is what this blog post will be answering.
Prerequisites for Visiting Inmates in Prison
There’s a procedure that people are required to follow, felon or not, in order to be able to visit a particular prison inmate.
Such procedure can differ from prison to prison, not by the state which can make things a tad bit more complicated.
For starters, any potential visitor must seek approval to be included in an inmate’s visitation list.
The prerequisites include the felon’s full name, phone number and address.
After that’s been taken care of, the felon is then required to give information regarding his background. Felons in specific will be asked about whether or not they’ve been convicted of a crime.
With that out of the way, the differences between the criteria among the different prisons stop. At this point, no matter the facility, there are common red flags that can prevent anyone from having his approval for visitation denied.
These red flags are:
- If they have recently served time in a correctional facility
- If they are on probation
- If they are on bond, waiting for a court trial
- If they have an outstanding warrant
- If they are a victim of the inmate
- If they are considered a safety or security risk
With this information disclosed to the facility, the waiting period before approval usually ranges from one to six weeks. The primary factor here being the facility itself along with the time of the year as well as the depth of the background check.
After this procedure, the facility will not notify the applicant, rather the inmate. This is why keeping in touch with the inmate is crucial since he’s the only one who gets informed.
Criteria for Felons to Visit Inmate
When it comes to why a felon may get be denied visitation, the reasons are numerous.
First and foremost, the gravity, or seriousness of the crime that the felon had committed in the past will play a huge role in increasing or decreasing one’s chances of getting their visitation approved. If the crimes committed were nonviolent, their chance of getting approved will be better.
The criteria for these crimes are vague and vary depending on the facility. Some facilities are more tolerant than others. Though felons who served longer sentences and/or have a lengthy criminal history will be examined more meticulously.
The length of time since the conviction can also come into play as a factor. The more extended the period since the sentence, the better their chances will be.
Some facilities require a certain time since the conviction for felons to be allowed to seek approval. In Washington per say, felons must wait two years at the very least since their sentence before they can be allowed to visit someone in prison.
Having pending charges against them will only make the process more lengthy and complicated, and will diminish their odds too.
The relationship between the felon and the inmate also matters. If the convict and the inmate are related by blood, then the ex-outlaw has a better chance of getting his visitation approved. The closer they are,the better the chances.
Another factor that comes into place is the place of incarceration. If the felon and the inmate were incarcerated at the same facility, then the chance of getting one’s visitation are close to none.
With that said, some facilities are not so harsh and can approve the felon’s visitation if the time gap since they’ve served their sentence is big enough.
It goes without saying that the behavior of the felon. If the facility deems his behavior to be disruptive, then they likely won’t accept the visitation.
Felons on probation will have a tough time getting their request approved, the main reason being that felons are not allowed to contact other convicts while on probation.
However, one exception might be if the felon wishes to visit close family, in which case permission can be granted even while on probation with written permission from their probation officer.
In some states like Florida, felons are required to have been off probation for at least two years before being allowed to visit an inmate.
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Factors in Visiting
Honesty is the most important thing to keep in mind when seeking approval for visitation as a felon. If a felon were to get caught lying in their application, they would deny any chance that they might’ve had to be approved visitation even in the future.
This is why completing one’s terms of the sentence along with probation can be a huge benefit.
Having been through a re-entry program can also be beneficial.
It also goes without saying that maintaining good behavior in society and finding a job or seeking more training or education will prove to be a huge help in increasing one’s chance of getting approved to visit an inmate.
Record expungement is also a great help.
Encouraging a Felon in Visiting Someone in Prison
Families of felons should encourage their own to visit others in prison. It’s a grand gesture, and it also goes to show that the convict is willing to re-establish his life and to help others who are in a dire situation.
It’s essential that families support their loved one to help others as it also helps the felon feel motivated and empowered to do good in the society they live in.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.