Limited Visits Resume - April 2021 updates
As COVID-19 conditions improve both in North Carolina communities and prisons (due largely to social distancing and vaccinations) NCDPS is working closely with state public health authorities to safely resume visitation by family and friends of offenders.
Resumption of visits will be gradual and visitation policies will not be uniform across all prisons. Because individual facilities must meet health and safety benchmarks, some prisons will loosen visitation restrictions sooner than others. Visits will not be allowed if there is a significant COVID-19 outbreak at a prison, or if the offender to be visited exhibits symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
Visitation is allowed only at prisons that are not experiencing an outbreak. However, significant restrictions are still in place including: medical screenings with temperature checks, social distancing, masks and other pandemic safety requirements. No physical contact may take place during visits.
Visits are by appointment only. Call the prison to schedule an appointment. Visitors should call the prison the day before a scheduled visit to confirm its visitation status.
As of April 1, 2021:
• Visits by children are again allowed at prisons that can permit visitation.
• Visits are no longer limited to 30 minutes.
Learn how to protect yourself from the coronavirus. Visit the NCDHHS COVID-19 website.
To learn what else Prisons is doing to combat coronavirus, click here.
Importance of Visitation
Visitation by family and friends is encouraged and can make a positive difference during an offender's time in prison. Prison staff understand the importance of offenders maintaining contact with their family and friends. However, offenders can not be assigned to specific facilities within the prison system for the convenience of visitation.
For more information regarding prisons and visitation, please read the Handbook for Family and Friends of Offenders.
Since Oct. 16, 2017, anyone age 16 and older is subjected to a “pat/frisk” search, along with a search by electronic device, by correctional officers prior to entering any state prison. All searches are conducted by the least intrusive means. The mandatory procedure is a revision of the current Prison Entrance/Exit Policy (Chapter F .3300), which did not require a mandatory “pat/frisk” search.
The increased safety and security measures are implemented to address, and ultimately eliminate, the introduction of contraband into state prisons. Any refusal to comply with all search procedures will result in the denial of entrance into the facility. Cellphones are considered contraband and are prohibited from all prison facilities. Appropriate attire is required.
The “pat/frisk’ process involves:
- Male officers will only be allowed to pat/frisk search male employees and visitors. Female officers may conduct pat/frisk searches on either male or female employees and visitors.
- At no time shall a staff member or visitor be asked to place his/her hands against a partition during a search.
- Visitors who call to make appointments will be advised that they are subject to the pat/frisk search upon arrival.
Questions concerning the prison Visitation Policy/Procedure (D.0200), should be directed to the warden of the prison you are visiting.
Visitation in Prisons will resume under the following temporary conditions and precautions, subject to change:
- Visits will be by appointment only and may be canceled with little notice if dictated by health and safety concerns. Visits must be arranged through the individual facility, and visitors should check to ensure the scheduled visits have not been canceled prior to leaving their residence to travel to the facility.
- Visitation will not be permitted if the prison is experiencing a significant outbreak of COVID-19 or if the facility is on Red Status.
- Children under the age of 12 are allowed to visit as of April 1, 2021, provided the prison is open to visitation.
- All visitors will be medically screened with temperature checks, in addition to standard security procedures. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, or who has a fever of 100 degrees or more, or who has been exposed to someone who is COVID-positive, will be denied entry.
- Offenders who are in medical isolation or medical quarantine, or who have any symptoms of COVID-19, will have their visit rescheduled.
- Visitation will be limited to two visitors per session. Each offender will be allowed one visit per calendar month. Visits are no longer limited to 30 minutes.
- Visitation will take place outdoors, if possible and weather permitting. Physical contact will not be allowed. Offenders and visitors will be kept six feet apart and further separated by a screen if indoors. Visitation areas will be limited to 25% of capacity.
- Everyone must wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times and must sanitize their hands when entering and leaving the visitation area. Masks may not have offensive language, pictures or symbols. Gaiters, bandanas and masks with a one-way valve are not permitted. Masks will be provided if needed.
- No outside food, beverages or photos will be allowed. Water will be provided for offenders and visitors.
- All visitation areas will be thoroughly sanitized between each visitation session.
- Visitors should immediately inform the facility if they receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 or develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours after a visit.
A COMPLETED APPLICATION MUST BE APPROVED BY THE FACILITY STAFF BEFORE A VISIT CAN OCCUR.
Offenders must obtain blank application forms from the facility. A maximum of 18 applications will be allowed per offender.
Offenders must mail the blank applications to those persons from whom they wish to receive a visit while incarcerated.
An application for each adult and minor must be complete. Completed applications must be returned to the prison facility where the offender is currently housed. Prison mailing addresses can be found on the prison facility webpages.
Applications will not be accepted from offenders. Incomplete applications will not be approved.
Each applicant age 16 and older, must choose one of the approved picture IDs and attach a copy to the application. Driver license ID and state-issued ID's must be issued by any state Division of Motor Vehicles. Minors under age 16 must have a copy of their birth certificate attached to the application.
It is the offender's responsibility to notify the visitor of their application status.
It is the visitor's responsibility to update their application information. (i.e. address, phone numbers, etc.) Incorrect application information could lead to an approved visitor becoming disapproved.
A minor under the age of 16 must update their application upon reaching age 16 to include a copy of a photo ID.
Clergy visitors must complete a DC-949P application and be approved prior to visiting with an offender. They will not be counted as part of the 18.
The following reasons MAY be grounds for disapproving a visitor application:
- Application form was copied and not an original.
- Application was not complete or did not include proper attachments.
- Application contained false information.
- The visitor has a prior criminal record. *
- The visitor was a participant in the criminal activity for which the offender is incarcerated. *
- The visitor is an ex-offender that has not been release for a minimum of 12 months. *
- The visitor is on probation/parole, supervised release or has not been off probation or supervised release for a minimum of 6 months. *
* There may be exceptions for these rules for immediate family members.
Each offender is allowed 18 approved visitors (adults and minors).
Legal, law enforcement, consular officials, local and state Family Services and Juvenile Court officials must register with the facility prior to visiting with the offender. They will not be counted in the maximum 18 approved visitors.
Only immediate family members or those who have acted as immediate family, clergy, legal, law enforcement, family/juvenile services, or consular officials will be approved for visitation with more than one offender.
An offender's visitation list remains active when transferring to a new facility.
When an offender is released or paroled, the visitation list becomes inactive. If the offender is re-admitted, the visitation process must start over.
When an offender reaches the maximum number of 18 approved visitors, he/she will not be able to adjust their visitation list until their open enrollment period.
An offender's open enrollment period will be every six months based on the date of admission to prison. (i.e. offender's admission date is January; open enrollment is July and January) If an offender has 18 approved visitors and they want to add a new visitor during open enrollment, they must first remove one of the current approved visitors from the list.
An offender may request that an approved visitor be removed at any time. They may not add a replacement until his/her open enrollment.
If a facility suspends an approved visitor, the offender may not add a replacement until his/her open enrollment period.
An application for a new visitor must be submitted, completed, returned, and approved BEFORE the new visitor can visit. It is up to the offender to inform the new visitor of their visitation status.
Under normal circumstances, offenders will be allowed no more than one visiting session per week not to exceed two hours. This does not include legal, law enforcement, or clergy visits.
The normal maximum number of visitors per visiting session will not exceed three approved visitors.
Facility wardens have the discretion to modify the number of approved visitors during the visitation session based on operational and space considerations.
Violations of visiting privileges may result in disciplinary action against the offender and appropriate administrative or legal actions against the visitor.
Offenders with serious or critical medical conditions will be allowed visits by their immediate family members as specified by the facility warden.
Offenders on administrative or disciplinary segregation, or offenders in control status, except for protective control, will be restricted to non-contact visits by appointment. A facility warden has the discretion to alter the visiting times, frequency of visits, duration and number of visits based on security and/or operational considerations.
Offenders on administrative segregation may be allowed visiting privileges.
Offenders in disciplinary segregation will be allowed visits from attorneys, legal assistants and clergy. Personal visitation privileges may be limited consistent with security requirements.
Offenders validated as Security Threat Group Level 2 will be allowed contact visits with approved immediate family members. Offenders validated as Level 3 will be allowed non-contact visits with approved immediate family members. Offenders validated as Security Threat Level 2 or 3 will not be allowed visits with individuals who are not immediate family members.
Regular population offenders may be restricted to non-contact visits based on behavior detrimental to the security of the institution. (i.e. drug/alcohol disciplinary convictions, refusal to submit drug/alcohol test, disciplinary convictions or misconduct during visitation).
The following requirements are for visitors and apply at all facilities. The dress code will be strictly enforced. It will be the offender's responsibility to communicate these standards to his/her visitors.
- All visitors must pass through, and clear, a metal detector search.
- Shirts and shoes are mandatory.
- Halter tops, bare midriffs, strapless tops, tube tops, body suits, underwear-type T-shirts, tank tops, sleeveless shirts or dresses that are inappropriately revealing (a sleeveless shirt or dress is considered inappropriately revealing when the female breast or lingerie can be seen), fishnet shirts, or any type of shirt or pants made with see-though fabric are NOT allowed to be worn by any visitor (male or female).
- Visitors may wear Bermuda-length shorts provided they are not more than three inches above the kneecap.
- Females may wear dresses or skirts. Dresses or skirts may not be more than three inches above the kneecap. Slits in skirts and dresses may not be more than three inches above the kneecap. Dresses and skirts for pre-teens may be shorter than three inches above the kneecap.
- Any shirt or other articles of clothing with a picture or language that may be considered profane or offensive by current public standards or Adult Correction standards, or considered STG (gang) related will not be allowed.
- Wave caps, doo rags and bandanas are not allowed.
- Slacks and pants are to be worn at or above the waist.
- Spandex clothing is prohibited.