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Prison Researcher
04-29-2011, 09:42 AM
Visiting at Montana State Prison

General Procedures


The Security Major is responsible for the operation of the visiting program. Upon admission, each inmate will be provided visitor questionnaires and rules that they can mail to prospective visitors. Copies of the visiting rules/regulations will be displayed in the lobby of the Wallace Building.

Visiting is a privilege, it is not a right.
Inmates in locked housing status will be allowed visits.
Diagnostic/Intake Unit Inmates are only allowed visits with their attorneys and law enforcement officials. The length of stay in the reception unit varies depending on availability of beds in the system. The average length of stay in this unit is 60 days.
Administrative Segregation inmates are allowed only one visit per week after obtaining one year of clear conduct.
Inmates in the Closed Custody Management Program may only have visitson Wednesday and Thursday from 2:20 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Inmates in disciplinary detention and pre-hearing confinement will not be allowed visits.
Visitors are required to arrange for their transportation on and off prison property. Motorized vehicles are the only authorized means of transport. Visitors arriving by any other means will be turned away at the checkpoint.
If a visitor is escorted by a person that isn't visiting, the escort must leave the prison grounds after dropping off the visitor. They will not be allowed to wait for visitors in the Lobby, parking lot, or prison grounds.
Visitors will not be permitted to loiter or wait an extended period for a ride, therefore they should make prior transportation arrangements in the event that their visit ends early or they are terminated from visiting. Visitors may be permitted to use the phone to call a taxi or make arrangements with the local law enforcement for a ride.
No tractor-trailers will be allowed to park in the prison parking lot. Tractor units are allowed, but must park at the rear of the parking lot.
Pets or livestock are not allowed on prison grounds (except certified service animals).
Tobacco products are not authorized for use on Montana State Prison Property. Visitors must cease use of their tobacco products before they arrive at the Checkpoint post.
No more than five (5) people (including children) may visit each inmate at one time. A visitor may have no more than one inmate visit at a time unless approved by the Security Major or higher.
Local visitors (those within 45 minutes driving time of Montana State Prison) are encouraged to schedule their visits on weekdays as crowding conditions most often occur on weekends.
When a visiting room is at capacity and more visitors are arriving, those in the visiting room will be allowed one hour and then visits for local visitors will be terminated. If needed, ongoing visits for visitors from further away will be terminated. Visits will not be terminated at less than one hour to relieve visiting request volumes.

Approval to visit

Prospective visitors must completely and accurately fill out the visitor questionnaire (mailed to them by the inmate) and mail it to:
Montana State Prison
Mail Room
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
Children less than 18 years of age must be included on the same questionnaire as their parent applicant or court appointed legal guardian. The applicant must answer all questions for each person on the questionnaire. Applicants over 18 years old must submit separate questionnaires. Applicants will be approved or disapproved based on the following guidelines and the inmate will be notified of the result. It is the responsibility of the inmate to notify the applicants and to mail the visiting rules/regulations to them.


Reasons for disapproval of an applicant for visiting include, but are not limited to:

Incomplete or inaccurate questionnaire
The applicant is already on another inmate's visiting list. An exception may be granted if both inmates are members of the same immediate family.
There are already 25 persons on the inmate's approved visiting list (the inmate must request removal of people on their list before others will be allowed).
The applicant is under the age of 18. Persons under 18 may only visit in the company of their parent or court appointed legal guardian.
The applicant is on active probation or parole, conditional release, or has recently discharged a prison or jail sentence.

Applicants in this category who are immediate family members may be reviewed for visiting after six (6) months of satisfactory community adjustment.
Applicants in this category who are not immediate family members may be reviewed for visiting after two (2) years of satisfactory community adjustment.
If approved, the visitor must obtain written permission from their supervising probation and/or parole officer and possess an authorized travel permit.

It has not been over 90 days since the applicant was removed from another inmate's visiting list.
Substantial evidence exists to show that the applicant may have a harmful effect on the inmate or poses a threat to the safety and security of the facility, other visitors, staff, or other inmates.
The applicant has pending felony/misdemeanor charges.
Volunteers and/or Contracted employees may not be on an inmate's visitation list.
See DOC Policy 3.3.8, page 4, Section E (http://www.cor.mt.gov/content/Resources/Policy/Chapter3/3-3-8.pdf) for information regarding visitation by current or former Department of Corrections Employees.
Non-Contact Visits

If there is suspicion that allowing an inmate to have contact visits,represents a risk to the security of the institution, the Shift Commander may place the inmate on non-contact visiting status. It is the inmate's responsibility to notify those on his visiting list of the restriction before they arrive for a visit.
Special Visits


Special visits may be approved by the Shift Commander or higher authority and are limited to unusual circumstances.

Immediate family members traveling from other states, who visit infrequently, may be granted a special visit.
Family member applicants not yet on the approved may be granted a single visit prior to approval provided they have a picture I.D.
Attorney Visits

Attorneys should normally visit during the 8 a.m to 5 p.m. business day and must call 24 hours in advance to make arrangements to minimize delays/problems in processing the visit.
Attorneys are subject to search procedures and must present proper credentials and identification to entrance post staff.
All other institutional rules and regulations apply.
Officers will visually observe attorney visits, but attorney/client conversations will not be recorded or listened to in any manner.
Attorneys and inmates may exchange written material without it being read.
An attorney who is on an inmate's visiting list will not be allowed attorney visits with that inmate.

Infirmary and Hospital Patients

Inmates housed at the Infirmary or a hospital will not be allowed visits unless they are considered by a physician or mid-level provider to be in the late stages of the dying process. Arrangements for such case-by-case visits must be in writing from the Shift Commander.

Visitor Searches

All visitors and visitor property on prison property are subject to search at any time. Visitors must "pass" the metal detector prior to being allowed to visit.

Visiting Hours

Visitors may arrive at any time between 2:15 and 5:00 p.m.
Visitors arriving after 5:00 p.m. will be turned away.
All visiting may be cancelled or terminated at any time due to security concerns. Notice to individual visitors will not be given.

Low Side (Units A, B, C, D) and Work Dorm inmates are allowed five (5) visiting periods per week, Wednesday through Sunday. Visiting ends at 8:15 p.m.

High Side general population inmates (Close Units I and II) are allowed five (5) visiting periods per week, Wednesday through Sunday. Visiting ends at 7:30 p.m.

Locked Housing (Max and Close Unit III) To arrange/schedule a visit with all other inmates being housed in locked housing, visitors are required to call the Command Post at least 24 hours in advance of the intended visit between 2:00 p.m. aand 10:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
No more than two Locked Housing inmate visits will be conducted at any one time, and no more than five (5) visitors may visit an inmate at any one time.
Due to limited available visiting space, visits will be terminated after 60 minutes if arriving visitors are waiting.

Visits for MAX inmates will be on Wednesdays and Sundays between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Visits for Close III inmates will be on Thursdays and Saturdays between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Allowable items


Visitors will only be allowed to bring the following items. All other personal items are to be left in the visitor's vehicle. Montana State Prison is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

One (1) clear "ziploc" type sandwich bag.
Vehicle keys (2 only) on a bare ring (nothing else on the ring).
State or Federal issued identification card with physical description of the holder and a photograph of their face.
No more than $19.95 in pocket change or cash, with no bills larger than a five-dollar bill. No rolls of coins.
One (1) handkerchief (white only)
Jewelry (once the visitor has been cleared they must wear the jewelry items and may not remove them until they depart the facility)
one (1) ring (wedding sets count as one ring)
One (1) pair of earrings
One (1) bracelet
Visitors with small babies may also have:

One (1) clear empty plastic bottle or "sippy" cup per baby.
One (1) factory sealed jar of baby food (spoons are provided in the Visiting Room).
One (1) factory sealed can of baby formula.
One (1) factory sealed package of baby wipes.
Four (4) diapers*
One (1) blanket, not quilted and no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet.
* Baby carriers or diaper bags are not allowed.
If allowed by visiting staff, visitors may bring in a limited number of checks (for endorsement by the inmate) or legal papers (to be reviewed and/or signed by the inmate). Visitor must take these documentsout with them when they leave the visiting room. They are not allowed to leave them with the inmate.
Visitor Dress Code

This dress code applies equally to females and males over five (5) years old.

Visitors wearing the following items/types of clothing will not be allowed into the facility:

Most headgear (females are only allowed one headscarf and males are only allowed a simple stocking cap).
Spandex, form fitting, or excessively baggy tops/shirts or bottoms/pants.
Shorts, capri pants, or culottes.
Transparent tops, skirts, or pants.
Clothing without the proper undergarments (bra, slip, and underwear). Female visitors must wear a bra at all times (sport, regular or strapless). Bras with metal underwires are not allowed in.
Any top or dress showing excessive cleavage.
Dresses or skirts

Without a slip underneath
Without a hem lower than the knee
With slits extending above the knee
With button-up or snap-up front, back, or wrsp around (these dresses may be worn only if sewn shut).

Shawls or ponchos
Vests (down-filled type)
Any shirt or top that is less than three (3) inches below the belt line (so that skin is revealed when the arms are raised).
Neck scarves.
Camoflage clothing
All tops or blouses must have sleeves, must be worn with a bra, and must not be excessively low cut.
Tank tops are not allowed as an outer garment.
Hooded garments.
Bib overalls.
Wind pants.
In addition, visitors must be dressed in a manner that will not distract, disturb, or be offensive to other visitors, inmates, or staff in the visitingareas. The Visiting or Lobby Officer will make decisions in this matter. If the visitor disputes the decision of the Visiting or Lobby Officer, it will be referred to the Shift Commander. If the Shift Commander determines that the clothing isn't appropriate, the visitor will be asked to leave. The visitor will not be allowed a wrap to cover the problem in question and proceed with the visit. He or she must leave.
Visitors must hang their coats on the coat hangers in the Visiting Room foyers, and are not allowed to take off clothing worn into a visiting room.

Termination of a Visit

An officer may terminate a visit by informing the visitor and/or inmate that the visit will not be allowed to proceed. The reasons for termination of a visit include, but are not limited to, those listed on the Visiting Termination Notice (http://www.cor.mt.gov/content/Facts/VisitingInformation/MSP_Visiting_Termination.pdf)and may result in the suspension of visiting privileges. The terms of a suspension will be outlined on a memo that will be provided to the visitor, either through the mail or the next time they arrive for a visit. It is the visitor's responsibility to notify the inmate of the suspension.
In accordance with DOC Policy 3.3.8, page 3, section D.1 (http://www.cor.mt.gov/content/Resources/Policy/Chapter3/3-3-8.pdf)., Visitors who introduce illegal articles, cell phones, data devices, money, tobacco, drugs or weapons will have their visiting privileges permanently revoked.
For additional information regarding MSP Visiting rules, please review DOC policy 3.3.8 Offender Visiting. (http://www.cor.mt.gov/content/Resources/Policy/Chapter3/3-3-8.pdf)