Visiting an inmate in Missouri

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting a Missouri Inmate

Sustaining your relationship with someone who is incarcerated can be tough.  Recent studies have shown that inmates who receive more visits and who have closer ties to their family and community are more likely to be successfully rehabilitated and not return to prison.  One of the challenges the Department of Corrections faces is the negative association people have when they think about visiting a prison.  Prospective visitors often feel discouraged and overwhelmed at how to go about visiting an inmate.  To make it easier for everyone we have amassed the most important information you need to know before visiting an inmate in Missouri:

  • Before you can visit an inmate, you must be approved.  Start by filling out a Missouri Inmate Visitors Application.  You must completely fill out the application and be truthful, a background check will be performed.  Return the application to the facility the inmate is incarcerated at.
  • Minors must submit a visitors application as well, the parent/guardian will need to fill it out for them and sign it.  The parent or guardian must also submit a visitors application, and is also required to accompany the minor during a visit.
  • The inmate is responsible for informing you of your applications status.
  • Inmates can have a maximum of 20 visitors on their approved visitation list.
  • An offender can update their visitation list twice a year.
  • All adults must bring a valid photo identification with them, such as a driver's license or State issued ID.
  • Visitors 13 years and older must show a current school photo ID that displays their name, or a federal/state Department of Revenue ID card.  It is also a good idea to bring a minors birth certificate with you, as some facilities may require this documentation.
  • All visitors are searched and must pass through a metal detector.  Electronic detection devices may be utilized to search for narcotics and weapons/explosives.  Canine units may also be utilized.  Once on institutional grounds your car may also be searched.
  • Your ID, a single car key, and coins for the vending machines are the only items that you should bring with you into the facility.  All other items should be left in your car (this includes gum, lighters/matches, cigarettes, purses, wallets, cell phones, music devices, cameras, audio recording devices etc).  The only exception to this rule is specific documented medical requirements, and supplies for an infant that is with you during the visit.
  • Coins must be brought in a clear Ziploc bag.
  • Supplies for infants must be contained in a large Ziploc bag.  It may contain up to six diapers, a single ply blanket, three clear plastic bottles with a prepared infant beverage, a single clear sippy cup, three unopened baby foods, one pacifier, one small plastic spoon, and a single small unopened package of baby wipes.  All items are subjected to a search.
  • If you are bringing children with you to a visit, you must directly control them and prevent them from being disruptive, unruly children are grounds for the visit being terminated.

Some additional information you should know when visiting an inmate in Missouri:

  • You are allowed to embrace and briefly kiss your inmate to greet them and to say goodbye.  The only other physical contact allowed is holding hands.
  • Visiting is a privilege, not a right, and can be suspended if you fail to comply with the rules or the direction of staff.
  • Inmates are not allowed visits during the intake and classification process, and must wait until they are assigned a permanent facility.
  • Vending machines are available during visitation that allow you to purchase sandwiches, chips, candy, and beverages.  Eligible inmates are allowed to receive food visits twice each year which allow you to bring in a home cooked or purchased meal for you and your inmate.  Not all facilities participate in food visits, contact your inmate and their facility for more information.
  • Disruptive behavior, including foul language, loud conversations, fighting etc will result in suspension from visitation.

Dress Code for Visitors of Missouri Inmates

To prevent security risks and to ensure no other visitor is offended the Missouri Department of Corrections has adopted a dress code that is strictly adhered to.  All visitors are expected to comply with the dress code, failure to do so will result in a denial of visitation.  The dress code is interpreted and enforced by the guards on duty during a visiting session.  What you wear to one visiting session that a guard may have let slide, may be reason for a denial of visitation when another guard is on duty.  Because of this, we encourage all visitors to bring a change of clothes that they can leave in their car, this way if their is a problem with an article of clothing they are wearing they can quickly change and not miss out on visitation.

  • Tight clothing, such as spandex, leggings, tube tops, tank tops etc are prohibited from being worn.
  • All visitors must wear undergarments and shoes at all times.  Undergarments with wire or metal support are discouraged because they may set off the metal detector.
  • No items may be worn on the head with the exception of verified religious head wear, which is still subject to search.
  • Pants may not have holes or slits.
  • Skirts, dresses, and shorts must be no shorter than two inches above the knee.  Wrap around and skirts/dresses with slits are 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, this includes any item of clothing that is camouflage design.
  • Clothing that contains offensive language or images is prohibited.  Clothes that display gang symbols are also restricted from being worn.
  • Any clothing that exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is not allowed.
  • Shirts, tops, and blouses must cover the chest and stomach and have sleeves that cover your shoulders.

If you have a question about visiting an inmate in Missouri, or have already visited your inmate and want to share your experience, or know of some other useful information related to visiting, please leave a comment below.