Visiting an inmate in Minnesota

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting an Inmate in Minnesota

Maintaining a healthy relationship with an inmate through visitation has proven to aid in lowering the recidivism rate.  Visiting encourages inmates to better their lives and often gives the inmate something to look forward to.  One of the problems the department of corrections faces is the stigma attached to visiting an inmate.  Potential visitors often feel discouraged or even overwhelmed at the process of visiting and don't know where to start.  To make it easier for everyone we have assembled some of the most important things you should know before you visit an inmate in Minnesota:

  • Before you can visit an inmate you must fill out a Minnesota inmate visitors application.
  • If you are visiting an inmate and will be accompanied by children (minors) you must list them on your visiting application and provide a copy of the minor's birth certificate.  If you are not listed on the birth certificate as a parent, and are the guardian of a child you must fill out a Minnesota Minor Escort Authorization form and have it notarized.  In addition, you may be required to provide legal documentation that supports your guardianship appointment.
  • Send the completed application and any other required documents to the facility at the address listed on the visiting applications first page.  The application will generally take anywhere from one to several weeks to be processed as a background check is performed on all applicants.
  • The inmate will be informed if you have been approved or if the application is incomplete, the department of corrections leaves it up to the inmate to inform the visitor of their status.
  • If your application is denied you will be mailed an letter explaining the denial.
  • Application statuses will not be given out over the phone, do not call requesting the status.  You may however, stop at any department of correction facility with a valid photo ID and check your visiting status.
  • Visitors who travel over 100 miles may be granted a three hour visit, regular visits are 1-2 hours in duration.
  • All adult visitors must provide a valid photo ID such as a driver's license, state ID, passport, or military ID.  Expired ID's are not accepted.
  • Cell phones, cameras, recording devices, music devices, and electronics of any kind are prohibited from entering into the facility.
  • Some facilities will provide a locker for you to secure your personal belongings in while you are visiting.  In general, you should have no items except your one car key and your ID with you when you enter into visiting.
  • All visitors are searched and required to pass through a metal detector.  Your vehicle may also be subjected to a search once it is on the property of the institution.

Some additional information you should know when visiting your inmate in Minnesota:

  • All visitors must register at the registration desk when they enter the facility.  You will be asked to present valid photo ID at this point.
  • Visitors who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be allowed to visit and may have visiting privileges suspended.
  • Tobacco and tobacco related products (including matches and lighters) are not allowed to enter the facility, leave these items in your car.
  • There is a maximum of four visitors per regular visiting session and two additional children under the age of two.  Non contact visits are limited to two visitors with an additional two children under the age of two.

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of Minnesota Inmates

All facilities in Minnesota institute a dress code for visitors.  The dress code exists to ensure the safety and security of the institution.  Dress codes are strictly enforced so be sure to read over the the following rules carefully.  We suggest you always bring a change of clothing with you to leave in your car, this way if a staff member objects to an item of clothing you are wearing you can quickly change and not miss a visiting session.

  • You are allowed a brief kiss on the cheek and hug with your inmate both on arrival and departure.
  • Once seated you may not leave your seat, if you need to use the bathroom your visit will be terminated, so be sure to use the bathroom before entering into visitation.
  • Loud, unruly, disrespectful visitors will have their visit terminated early.
  • If you are visiting with children you must be in control of your children throughout the entire visit.
  • Children under the age of two are allowed one pacifier, a single clear plastic bottle, a single small one ply blanket, two diapers, and a small Ziploc bag of wet wipes.
  • Clothing that is see through or sheer, or clothing that has holes, is lace or exposes any part of the skin is not allowed.
  • Any clothing that closely resembles the inmates clothes or the staffs clothes is prohibited.
  • Uniforms such as military or doctors/nurse scrubs are restricted from being worn.
  • Sunglasses, hats, scarves, bandanas or any clothing that covers the head is not allowed.  Religious clothing may be allowed but will be removed and searched.
  • Any clothing that exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is not allowed.
  • If the clothing is tight such as form fitting jeans, spandex, leggings, tube tops, tank tops or halter tops are prohibited from being worn.
  • Shoes must be worn at all times, no boots may be worn above the knee, have fur, or be steel toed.
  • Skirts, shorts, and dresses must be knee length when seated.  They must not have a slit above the knee either.
  • Outdoor jackets/coats are not allowed.
  • Hooded shirts, sweatshirts and other garments with hoods are not allowed.
  • Clothing that contains offensive language or images are not allowed.

If you have a question, or have already visited an inmate in Minnesota and would like to share your experience, or know of some other useful information, please leave a comment below.