Posted: January 9, 2013 in Federal Prison Camp

Your family and certain friends can be approved for visitation; the list must be compiled and presented to your counselor for approval which is an event in and of itself. By policy family listed in your PSI are supposed to be automatically added to your visitation list. However, you still have to submit the list and ask the counselor to put them on your list. You will not be able to get visitors until this list is completed. If there is any criminal history, then visits will be denied. Your attorney may be able to help to clear a spouse or close relative for visits depending on the nature of the criminal offense but it is not a guarantee.

Policy states the each inmate is only allowed five visits per month. However, Atlanta never enforced this. At least while I was there inmates were not limited on the number of visits or the amount of time for each visit.  Be aware that at any time the prison officials can and will stop or limit all visitations. Also they can take away all visitations if there are any threats against security or if the inmates consistently break the rules. Just know that may arrive and be told that there will be no visitation. Typically they won’t do this without some sort of warning because of people travelling from other states to visit their inmates.  Visitation is a privilege and not a right. 

All visitors are expected to provide two forms of identification (government issued ID/photo ID and at least a utility bill with name and address on it). Most visitors will provide a driver’s license and a passport or school ID.  All visitors should expect that at a minimum they will go through a metal detector and possibly a pat-down or they will not be allowed the visit. They must also leave all bags, purses, jackets, etc. in their car; they are not allowed to bring anything inside and must be subjected to some form of search; even diaper bags are generally not allowed. Children and older adults are no exception to the search rule; it will normally be respectful but thorough. Make sure you read the visitation policies of the prison you will be visiting.

The visitation area is patrolled and you must always stay in full view of the officers on duty. By policy you will be allowed a hug and kiss at the beginning and of your visit and there will be no touching or holding, definitely nothing of a sexual exchange, not even a long kiss. However, depending on the facility and the monitoring CO you may be allowed to hold hands throughout the visit or even more. I know that I saw a lot of things happen during visitation that would make a lot people blush. Most inmates are respectful of others and things happen outside of normal view, but things do happen. That may just be in Atlanta FPC, but many others I spoke with said they were able to do the same things at other facilities.

Make sure that when you go for a visit; tell the inmate you are coming ahead of time and about what time you will be arriving. Most inmates want to make sure they are looking their best for you and the family. They will have a specific set of clothes (visistation uniform) that they will wear during the visit. Typically these are clothes used just for visits and special occasions and not used for work or day-to-day activities. It also allows them to make sure they can listen for their name to be called.

Visits are on weekends from 8am – 3pm. The start time varies (depends on the CO), but the end time is firm! Visitors will not be allowed to come into the visiting area after 2pm. Also, during the weekends there is a 10am count that requires all inmates to be in their cubicles next to their bunks. Typically they will close off visitors from 9:30am – until the count is cleared (most of the time around 10:30am). Those people who are already in the visitor room can stay in the visitor’s room while the inmates in there are counted. But if you arrive anytime between 9:30am and the count clearing will have to wait. Please note that the count clearing is dependent of the officers in the camp area. If there are any problems with the count the doors will remain closed until it does clear. While I was in Atlanta there were times the count did not clear before 12pm. Most of the time the count doesn’t clear because someone is not where they are supposed to be, asleep (this is a stand-up count), or the CO at the camp wants to do a shakedown. Usually it is not for anything dangerous or a real problem.

At the camp there is no limitation on the amount of time you can visit and by policy you are limited to only having 4 adults and 2 children for each visit. However, they don’t necessarily follow this unless the visiting room is overcrowded.

During your visit there are vending machines and in Atlanta there is a food vendor that brings food in. Make sure that you bring money (in a clear bag). Don’t bring too much as the officers can consider too much cash contraband and will revoke your visit. You really don’t need more than $20 – $40. Typically the foods available are single frozen pizzas, salads (chef, shrimp, etc.), sandwiches, cheesecake, sodas, ice cream, popcorn, and candy. There are limited amounts of the food available and the person bringing the food in is at the whim of the CO’s on duty. If the on-duty officer is having a bad day they may not allow the food other than what is in the vending machines.

This food is a great change for inmates so be ready for them to eat heartily!!! Make sure you have quarters for the vending machines and ones and fives for the other food.

It is important to know that family is almost never allowed inside the camp. Some camps have “Family Days” when they allow families in for the day, but this is extremely rare and not all facilities take part in this. Atlanta does not do this; at least not while I was there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s