Visiting an inmate in New Jersey

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting New Jersey Inmates

The New Jersey Department of Corrections has acknowledged the importance of visitation.  Visitation offers inmates something to look forward to, and maintaining close ties with friends and family members who are a positive influence can also aid in the eventual reintegration of the inmate with society.  

One of the problems faced by the department of corrections is the stigma attached with visiting a prison.  People often feel discouraged and overwhelmed at the process of visiting an inmate, and don't know where to start.  To make it easier for everyone, we have assembled the most important things to know before you visit your inmate in New Jersey:

  • During the orientation process, when inmate is first incarcerated, they are required to complete visit cards for all potential visitors (including minors).  This list can be updated several times a year.
  • In order for the inmate to include you on the visiting list, they will need to know your full name, complete address as it appears on your photo ID, and your date of birth.  If you are not on the inmate's visiting list already, or if you are unsure the inmate knows all the pertinent information, you may want to send them a letter stating the necessary information.
  • The facility will do a criminal history/background check on all prospective visitors.  You will need to stay in contact with the inmate about your visiting status, as they are responsible for informing you of your approval or denial.
  • All visitors are required to present a valid photo ID, including a driver's license, state issued ID, passport, photo welfare or Medicaid card, or military ID.
  • All visitors, their belongings and their vehicles are subject to a search and must pass through a metal detector.  Canines and electronic scanning devices can also be utilized to help prevent contraband from entering the facility.
  • Cell phones, cameras, music devices, recording devices, and electronics of any kind are not allowed to enter into the facility, leave these items in your car.
  • Tobacco and related products including matches and lighters are not allowed to enter into the facility.
  • There are two types of visits an inmate can have:
    • Contact visits allow the inmate to be with the visitor with no barrier present.  Contact visits allow for handshaking, a brief hug and kiss at the start and at the end of a visit and hand holding during the visit.
    • Non-contact visits are conducted behind a glass or walled barrier.

Some additional information you should know about visiting an inmate in New Jersey:

  • Special visits may be granted for persons who visit infrequently who are traveling a long distance to visit, or to visit a hospitalized inmate, or if you are visiting in an official capacity, or are a member of the clergy.  Special visits may only be approved by the facility administrator.
  • If you are visiting with an infant or small child you may be allowed to bring several additional items into the visitation area including a plastic bottle, diaper, or wipes.  Contact the facility for more information.

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of New Jersey Inmates

All correctional facilities institute a dress code for visitors.  Compliance with the dress code ensures a safe and secure visit for everyone.  If you fail to adhere to the dress code you will not be permitted to enter into visitation.  To ensure you get to visit, you should always leave a change of clothes in your car so that if an item of clothing you are wearing is deemed inappropriate you will be able to quickly change.

  • Clothing that is sheer, transparent, see through or fishnet is not allowed.
  • Clothing that exposes undergarments or private parts of the body is prohibited.
  • Clothing may not be skin-tight or expose the shoulders, midriff, torso or back.  Tube tops, tank tops, halter tops, sleeveless shirts, low cut shirts, low rise pants, spandex, leggings etc. are prohibited from being worn.
  • Skits, dresses and shorts must cover the waist and come down to the knees.  They must not have an inseam length or slit more than three inches above the knee.
  • Hats, bandanas, or headgear of any kind is prohibited with the exception of religious or medical gear, which will be subject to search.
  • 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.
  • If your clothing contains offensive language or images you will not be allowed to visit.
  • If you appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol your visiting privileges will be suspended.
  • Failure to maintain control if your children will result in a visit terminating.
  • Loud/disruptive behavior, or failure to comply with the directions of staff will result in the visit terminating.

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