Welcome, visitors! The department encourages visiting by family and friends. You can make a positive and powerful difference during your loved oneʼs incarceration. It is important to remember, however, that visiting is a privilege and will be regulated. It is also important that you do not visit until you are notified by the offender that you have been officially approved. You may wish to contact the visiting room staff or the offenderʼs caseworker prior to visiting to ensure visits are still available for that offender.
What are the visiting schedules and who may visit?
Regularly scheduled visiting is available at all facilities, Friday through Sunday, with the exception of the diagnostic and treatment centers.
Visiting hours are posted on the Departmentʼs website at www.doc.mo.gov. Generally visits are from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but may vary slightly from facility to facility. Because the diagnostic and treatment centers have structured programming and activities, visits are limited to specific days and times. We ask that all visitors refrain from arriving on institutional grounds before visiting hours begin. The number and length of visits that are authorized vary by facility because of different capacities to host visiting. Weekends may be designated for immediate family members only (spouse, children, parents, brothers or sisters, grandparents and step relations) or one individual of choice (a significant/designated other, such as a close friend), and visitors may only visit during one visiting period each day. You should also be aware that unforeseen security problems may interfere with visiting, causing delayed, shortened, or suspended visits. This is unusual, but does occur on occasion.
How are visitors assigned to a visiting list?
Every offender that is not in the diagnostic process or a treatment program is allowed to have a maximum of twenty visitors on their approved visiting list. Because this number is limited, the offender makes the selection and may make changes twice each year during designated periods. In order to be considered for offender visitation, the offender must mail an application to that prospective visitor. It is important that the visiting application is answered thoroughly and honestly as failure to do so may result in denial of visiting privileges. A complete criminal history check is conducted on all prospective visitors. Once completed, the form should be returned to the appropriate department as indicated on the form; do not send it to the offender. Once a background check is completed and no problems are identified, the visitor may be added to the visiting list. The offender receives notification advising them of the status and they are responsible for notifying the visitor of the decision. Visitors may only be on one offenderʼs visiting list unless they are verified to be an immediate family member of more than one offender. Ex-offenders may or may not be approved to visit depending upon their criminal history, release status and mandatory approval from their supervising probation and parole officer. Additional information, such as a marriage license may be required before final approval is granted.
What identification is needed to visit?
All adult visitors are required to show a valid picture identification card, such as a current driverʼs license or Department of Revenue identification card. Children, 13 years of age to 17, are required to show a current school picture identification card or Department of Revenue identification card. Visitors under the age of 18, unless married to the offender, must be accompanied by an authorized adult visitor.
Does the institution search visitors?
In an effort to provide a safe and secure environment in which you and your family may visit, the department does conduct general searches of visitors. A metal detector may be used to detect weapons or other contraband. This may be completed by a walk-through metal detector or a hand-held wand, which is waved near the body. Staff may also ask you to submit to an Itemizer or Ion Scan search. When tested with the Itemiser, the visitor will be given a towelette and asked to wipe it over their shirt front, pockets and palms of their hands. The towelette is then placed directly into a machine that immediately detects any possible traces of narcotics or explosives. None of these procedures are invasive or harmful. If you are aware of anyone bringing contraband in during visits, you may anonymously call 573-526-7000 to report that activity.
What items can be brought to a visit?
To ensure your safety and the security of the institution, items that can be brought into the institution are very limited. Only coins for use in the vending machines and specific medical and infant supplies are allowed. Gum, wallets, purses and other items may not be brought to visits. Missouri State Statute 217.360 states that it is a criminal offense for any individual entering a correctional facility to bring in drugs, alcoholic beverages, any article an offender is not permitted to possess or firearm that may be used to endanger the safety and security of the facility, staff or other offenders. Doing so may be a felony and can carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. It is important to remember that when visiting you are required to abide by the departmentʼs rules and regulations. When you enter prison grounds, you, your packages, your children and your vehicle are subject to search. Small lockers are available at most institutions to store your purses, wallets or keys, if necessary, however, it is requested you bring only necessary items and secure the rest in
Coins may be brought in a clear zip-lock type bag or plastic pouch. Medications or medical equipment needed to maintain life such as Nitroglycerin, insulin and insulin supplies and oxygen or asthma inhalers may be taken into the facility in their original container and only in the necessary dosage for the visiting period. You should notify staff upon your arrival of the need for medication during visitation. If you have special medical equipment, such as a walker, wheelchair or surgically implanted metal hardware, you should provide a physicianʼs statement. Notice should be made in advance to the offenderʼs caseworker or institutional visiting room liaison to ensure staff are aware of your needs. Sanitary supplies are available in the restroom at a minimal fee.
When you bring a small infant or child, one clear carry-all for infant supplies is allowed. This bag may contain up to 6 diapers, 1 blanket, 3 clear plastic bottles of prepared infant beverage, 1 clear plastic no-spill toddler cup, 3 unopened vendor containers of baby food, 1 plastic pacifier, teether and/or rattle, 1 small plastic spoon and 1 unopened package of baby wipes. These items may be searched. It is also important that you maintain direct control of your children at all times so as to ensure their safety and to prevent interruption of other visits. It is the adult visitorʼs responsibility to provide proper supervision of children. If children are unruly or disruptive, the visit may be terminated.
What is the required dress code?
We ask that all visitors abide by a dress code to ensure other visitors are not offended and to prevent security risks. If you fail to comply with these guidelines, your visit may be denied or you may be required to wear institutional clothing while in the visiting room. Clothing should not be tight, transparent or revealing. It should not display gang, racial, inappropriate or inflammatory language or symbols and may not have a camouflage design. Skirts, dresses and shorts may be no shorter than two inches above the top of the knee cap, and no wrap-around skirts or dresses or clothing with slits are permitted. No holes or slits are permitted in pants. Shirts, blouses and tops must cover the chest and stomach and have sleeves that cover the shoulders, without display of cleavage or midriff. Appropriate undergarments and shoes must be worn at all times. Undergarments with wire or metal supports are discouraged because you may be required to clear a metal detector. No headwear is allowed except for verified religious purposes. Like all items, headwear is subject to search for possible contraband.
What physical contact is allowed?
If you choose, you will be allowed one greeting and departing embrace and brief kiss with those with whom you visit. The only other physical contact permitted is holding hands. While sexual offenders have strict physical contact restrictions, other offenders may be allowed to have children six and under to sit on their lap. Children should always be closely supervised by their guardian in the visiting room to ensure their safety and preserve good order. Offenders should not be left alone with a child without an adult visitor present. Although it is often difficult not to have physical contact with a loved one during visits, it must be limited to preserve order and to ensure other visitors and children are not offended by open displays of affection. If you fail to abide by these rules, the visit is subject to termination and possible suspension of visiting privileges. Institutions also offer opportunities for photographs with your loved one during some visits.
Is food available during the visit?
Vending machines offering sandwiches, snacks, chips, candies and beverages are available. Food visits also occur at least twice each year at all facilities except community release and treatment centers, with each institution developing criteria for the privilege to participate. If the offender you visit is eligible and approved for a food visit, he or she is permitted to participate in a meal that is either home cooked, purchased, or made available through a pre-approved local vendor. Each institution may have special restrictions for food visits, so it is important the offender shares information with you about those regulations prior to the visit.
Can restrictions be imposed on visiting privileges?
Unfortunately, at times, some visitors abuse visiting privileges by improper conduct, failure to follow visiting rules, excessive physical contact, refusal to submit to search, use of alcohol or narcotics, unacceptable language, improper dress, presenting risk to the safety and security of the facility, staff, offenders or visitors, participation in illegal activities and/or violations of Missouri law. Based upon the seriousness of the infraction, those involved may be arrested, have visiting privileges suspended for an appropriate amount of time or may be placed on non-contact visiting status. If visiting sanctions are imposed, the institution will send a written notice outlining the infraction and sanctions imposed. A visitor may appeal visiting restrictions or suspension of visiting privileges to the appropriate deputy division director in Central Office.