The official visitation policies of each state’s Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons will likely tell you that visiting your inmate regularly is an important part of the recovery process.
However, when prisons allow visitors into the facility and have direct contact with inmates, it presents a huge security risk. The visiting room is one of the most common places in prisons where contraband, such as contraband, prescription drugs, tobacco and cell phones, is passed.
Because of this, each facility has strict access rules that cover everything from your attire to how you sit. There are also rules about touching prisoners, what is allowed and how many people can be visited.
Despite these restrictions, visits from family and friends have definitely been the highlight of my prison experience. Those days looking forward to spending a few hours with loved ones are a source of hope and happiness, and the actual experience of this visit was the best.
Not only can I meet my family in person and give them a hug, but I can also enjoy snacks and drinks that I wouldn’t normally have access to. The time spent in the visiting room was a great way to change up my schedule and do something different.
Visitation is important, but not a right. Instead, they’re a privilege, and they’re probably the first thing taken away when a prisoner breaks the rules. So, that leads us to today’s topic: Why do prisoners lose visitation rights?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- How does an inmate lose visitation rights?
- What happens when prisons go into lockdown?
How does an inmate lose visitation rights?
When prisoners lose their visitation rights, they break the rules. There is no set standard for why a prisoner loses visitation rights, as it varies from prison to prison. Most commonly, however, prisoners lose visitation rights when they violate one or more of the visitation rules.
Inmates and visitors share responsibility for appropriate behavior during visitation. Some of the conduct of prisoners during visitation that may cause them to temporarily or permanently lose their visitation privileges are:
- Misbehavior of the inmate during the visit (inappropriate touching, yelling, etc…)
- disruptive behavior
- introducing contraband into the facility
- Violate any posted access rules and regulations or fail to follow directions from staff
- Leaving the visiting area and entering unauthorized areas
- Do anything that jeopardizes the safety and good order of the facility
- Physical contact with minors by inmates in “no contact” status
Prisoners may also lose visitation rights due to their behavior inside the prison. They may take away your visitation rights if you get into a fight, have dirty urine on a drug test, or get into an argument with a police officer or prison staff.
Usually, they will revoke your phone privileges before revoking access, but this doesn’t always happen. The punishment prisoners receive actually depends on the severity or frequency of their misconduct.
What happens when prisons go into lockdown?
In some cases, entire prisons may lose visitation rights, which is when the facility goes into lockdown. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including scheduled executions, riots, or the rapid spread of a disease (such as the flu) among prisoners.
When prisons went into lockdown, administrators and guards asked prisoners to stay in their cells 24 hours a day. This means no programming of any kind (school, work, classes), no entertainment, no phone calls, no visits, and no mail calls.
The lockdown could also result in food being delivered to cells instead of prisoners going to mess halls as a group because prisoners are not allowed to move.
Some prisons are canceling visits altogether – but don’t keep blocking – If there is a persistent problem with contraband, violence or inappropriate behavior in the visiting room. However, in my experience, they try not to punish everyone for something that only one or two prisoners did. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Do you think prisoners should be allowed unlimited visits? Let us know in the comments below.