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Questions & Answers
October 2004

What is the reason for implementing a new visitation policy?

How will the new application process affect someone who has been an approved visitor and has been visiting an inmate for some time?
The Division of Prisons anticipates the process will not affect them, but they will still have to fill out an application so their information will be on file. However, if it is discovered someone violated a policy in the past or provided inaccurate information, they could be denied visitation privileges statewide.

Will the information on the application be confidential?
Yes, the information will be filed and held confidentially. Inmates will not have access to this information.

Is all the information requested on the applications mandatory in order for an application to be approved?

When will the new policy go into effect?
Applications are being distributed now, but several pilot sites (TBA) will start the new approval process June 1, 2004, which precedes implementation at every state correctional facility later this year.

Why do you require government issued ID and only specific ones?
The IDs listed all have verifiable standards for authenticity and they are numerically based.

Why do you ask for employer information on the application?
To see if the visitor should be considered as a “special visitor” such as clergy, legal, family services, juvenile court services, media or representatives of a criminal justice consulting organization.

Why do you require birth certificate for anyone under age 16?
To verify the age of the minor. All those 16 and above must have government issued ID. In addition, it also may verify who the legal guardian of the minor is and who would be responsible for authorizing a minor visiting with an inmate.

Why are you asking about crime convictions?
For security purposes.

Will a criminal history prevent someone from visiting?
A crime conviction will NOT necessarily prevent someone from being approved as a visitor. Facility management will review crime convictions on a case-by-case basis.
Note: This is not a change in our policy. Facility heads have always had the authority to deny visitation to those with criminal records that they feel would present a security concern. It is important to note, however, that it is not the intention of the division to deny visitation to an individual simply because they have a criminal record. Such a denial must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis utilizing good judgment. Particular consideration should be paid to immediate family. Factors that should be considered for all applicants whether they are immediate family or not include, but are not limited to: the nature and extensiveness of the criminal record, how recent any criminal history is, whether the applicant is on active probation or a co-defendant, and relation to the inmate.

How many visitors are the maximum allowed during a single visit?
Three visitors is the normal maximum number allowed per visit by policy. Children (minors) under 18 years of age may be allowed to accompany the adults provided the adults and minors are on the approved visitor list and the minors remain under the immediate supervision of the adults during the visit. Facility superintendents/administrators have the discretion to modify the number of approved visitors during the visitation session based on operational and space considerations.

When an appointment is made to visit with an inmate, can one group of three people visit with the inmate for a certain amount of time and then another group of three people visit with the inmate for the remainder of the time?
It depends on the facility where the inmate is housed. Some facility superintendents do allow split visits when space and other security matters allow. It is up to the discretion of the facility superintendent/administrator.

What is open enrollment?
When an inmate reaches the maximum number of approved visitors (18), they will not be able to modify the list until their open enrollment period. The open enrollment period will be every six months based on date of the inmate’s admission.
(For example: If an inmate is admitted into the system in March, their open enrollment will be every March and August.)

Who is required to complete the application and turn it in to the facility?
The person who wants to visit the inmate must complete the application and turn it in to the facility where the inmate is housed. The inmate must send the application to the person and then let the person know when they have been approved by the facility.

Why are the inmates allowed to only have 18 approved visitors?
This is a manageable number for the division and a reasonable number for the inmates to have on their approved list.

Once the application for visiting privileges is submitted to the prison, how long will it take to get approval to visit?
Once the new procedures are in place, in most cases it will take a few days to process the applications and enter the information into the computer system. However, there may be some occasions that verification of the information provided could delay the processing of the application. Appropriately completed applications do help in speeding up the process.
NOTE: All visitors should verify with the inmate that the visitor has been approved for visitation before traveling to the facility.

If someone is denied or disapproved for visitation, how can they appeal?
Disapproved visitors may appeal in writing to the Director of Prisons or his/her designated representative requesting restoration of visiting privilege and their justification for this action. The Director of Prisons or his/her designee may modify any suspension or termination of visiting privilege. The address for filing an appeal is:

Director of Prisons
4260 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4260


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