When someone is in or out of jail, it affects everyone in their life. For prisoners, as difficult as being incarcerated, their loved ones on the outside have their own set of problems and obstacles.
Something as simple as a conversation is far from easy, with prisoners paying astronomical rates for phone calls, restrictive mail rules, and limited prisoner visiting hours.
When you find out that someone close to you is in prison, the first thing you do is visit them as early as possible. While the circumstances surrounding someone’s imprisonment are quite different from those of being in prison, the basic rules of visitation are common.
Which leads to today’s blog post: What to Wear to Visit Someone in Prison.
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- What is the difference between visiting someone in prison and visiting someone in prison?
- Is there a dress code when visiting someone in prison?
- Is the dress code different for contact and non-contact visits?
What is the difference between visiting someone in prison and visiting someone in prison?
After four years in jail (another four months in the county jail), it’s one of my biggest annoyances when people confuse the words “jail” and “jail.” They are two very different things even though they look the same from the outside.
Prisons are correctional facilities run by the state or federal government where someone serves a sentence after being convicted of a felony or pleading guilty. Felonies are a more advanced type of crime, such as robbery, battery, and murder. People who commit drug crimes (from possession to trafficking) also go to jail.
People who go to prison usually serve a period of time — often more than a year — for felony crimes. They were felons who had been ordered to rehabilitate by the Corrections Department because the law required them to be isolated from society.
Jails, on the other hand, are facilities located in various cities and counties that are used to hold people who have not been convicted of a crime. When you get arrested for an unpaid parking ticket or murder, you go to jail. They are where you are held if the court awards bail to you after you have been charged with a crime.
Prisons are also places where people serve sentences for misdemeanor crimes. These are lower-level offenses punishable by less than a year in prison. Misdemeanors are offenses such as traffic violations, petty theft and DUI.
I should also make it clear that people can spend years in jail awaiting trial. Because our criminal justice system is so slow, those who are helpless or held without bail are often held in city or county jails awaiting a court appearance.
When it comes to visiting inmates, specific rules and visiting hours vary from prison to prison and from prison to prison. However, there are some common ground rules such as not bringing prohibited items, carrying photo ID, and dressing appropriately.
Is there a dress code when visiting someone in prison?
Yes, there is always a dress code when you go to visit someone in jail or prison, and it’s always family appropriate. Specific details vary by facility. In general, prison and prison dress codes prohibit tight, see-through and revealing clothing, and do not allow clothing with profane, sexual, violent, drug or gang overtones.
Another thing to remember is to never wear the same color as your prison uniform. This can be anything from bright orange to navy blue, so try to find out what color the inmates’ uniforms are at the facility you’ll be visiting.
All male visitors must wear long trousers, women can wear long trousers or knee skirts. Shorts and leggings are a no-no, as are clothing that has holes or is ripped or torn in some way.
You will always be required to wear underwear, and most facilities will let you leave outer clothing such as coats and jackets in the lobby or in your car.
You can call the prison and find out what their specific visiting dress code is, and they will usually provide this information.
Is the dress code different for contact and non-contact visits?
The dress code is the same whether you are a contact or non-contact. However, if the visits are non-contact—meaning there is some kind of glass or barrier between you and the prisoner—they may not be as strict as contact visits. It really just depends on the facility.
Whether an inmate is in or out of prison, it’s wise to know ahead of time the dress code for the facility you’re visiting. If you don’t dress properly, they will deny you access to your prisoner. So remember to be prepared and know the rules before heading to prison.
Have you visited anyone in prison? What kind of experience is it? Let us know in the comments below.