Visiting an inmate in North Carolina

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting North Carolina Inmates

Studies have shown that inmates who receive more visits from friends and family members are more likely to return to society as productive members and not return to prison.  Part of this is because of the relationships that can be maintained through the visitation process.  Being supportive of your inmate during their incarceration, and the inmate being supportive of you are integral components of keeping your relationship healthy. To make visiting more accessible to everyone, we have compiled the steps you need to take in order to visit, and the most important things to know about visiting inmates in North Carolina.

  • The first step in visiting an inmate in North Carolina is to request the inmate add you to their visiting list by sending you a North Carolina Inmate Visitors Application.  We have provided a copy of this application on our website purely as an example for you to see what the application actually looks like.  The Department of Corrections requires the application form be an original from the facility, printed and copied applications may result in the application being denied. 
  • Inmates are allowed to send out up to 18 visiting applications.
  • An application must be completed for each adult and each minor who will attend a visiting session.  
  • Applicants over the age of 16 must include a photocopy of their valid photo identification with the application they submit.  Acceptable forms of photo ID include a driver's license, or state ID.
  • Applicants who are under 16 years old must include a copy of their birth certificate with the application.
  • Completed applications should be mailed back to the facility, do not mail the application to the offender as the facility will not accept the application if the offender hands it in.  Applications must come directly through the mail from the person wishing to visit.
  • Incomplete applications will result in disapproval.
  • The facility will notify the inmate of your applications status, they will leave it up to the inmate to inform you of your denial or approval.
  • Inmates can change their visitation list every six months.
  • Usually inmates are permitted three visitors per visitation period.
  • All visitors will be searched before entering into visitation and must pass through a metal detector.  Your car may also be searched once it is on the property of the institution, and the facility may utilize canine units to aid in the search for contraband.

Additional information you should know about visiting North Carolina inmates:

  • Inmates who are in a control status, administrative or disciplinary segregation have non-contact visits.  Non-contact visitation is conducted behind a window, or partition that keeps you physically separate from the inmate.  This does not apply to inmates in protective custody.
  • If you are traveling an extremely long distance to visit your inmate, you may be eligible for a special visit, contact the inmate's counselor for more information.
  • Tobacco and tobacco related products including lighters and matches are not allowed to enter into visitation.
  • Cell phones, cameras, recording devices, and other electronics are prohibited from entering into the facility, leave these items in your car.
  • If you are visiting with an infant you may be allowed to bring a small amount of additional items.  Contact the facility directly for more information.

Dress Code for Visitors of North Carolina Inmates

For the safety, security, and order of the correctional institution, all visitors are required to follow a dress code.  The dress code helps protect visitors, inmates and staff by ensuring no contraband is introduced to the facility, and that no visitors are offended by another visitors clothing.  Failure to adhere to the dress code will result in a denial of visitation.  We suggest that visitors always bring a change of clothes to leave in their car.  This way, in the event an item of clothing they are wearing is deemed inappropriate they can quickly change

  • All visitors are required to wear shoes at all times.
  • Hats, doo rags, bandanas and any other clothing that covers the face is not permitted.  The only exception is religious items which are still subject to search.
  • Any clothing that exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is prohibited.
  • If the clothing is tight such as spandex, leggings, tube tops, tank tops, body suits, or is sheer or see-through it cannot be worn.
  • Sleeveless shirts are also prohibited.
  • Skirts, shorts, and dresses that are above the knee or have a slit above the knee are not allowed.
  • Pants must be worn above the waist.
  • If your clothing contains offensive language or images you will not be allowed to visit.

If you have any questions about visiting an inmate in North Carolina, or have already visited your inmate and would like to share your experience, or know of other useful information related to visiting, please leave a comment below.