Visiting an inmate in South Carolina

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting South Carolina Inmates

One of the most important aspects of an inmate's rehabilitation is visiting.  Visiting plays an integral part of keeping an inmate's social support structure intact.  Offenders who have more visitors are more likely to have a support network available to them when they are released.  This support network offers the inmate a place to return to once discharged, and a greater opportunity for them to re-establish themselves in the community.  To make it more understandable and encourage more visitors we have assembled all the pertinent information about visiting an inmate in South Carolina:

  • Inmates are provided 'Request for visiting privileges' form (SCDC 19-127) and will send the form out to all prospective visitors.
  • Once you have completed the South Carolina Visitors application you will need to mail it to:
    • Division of Visitation and I/M DT
      P. O. Box 212969
      Columbia, South Carolina 29221
  • The department of correction will not inform you of your applications status, instead they will leave it entirely up to the inmate to let you know when you have been approved.  Stay in contact with the inmate either through letters or the telephone to find out your visitors application status.
  • Minors are only allowed to visit with an adult who is also on the visiting list and only if the minor is the inmate's sibling, child, step-child, grandchild, or step-grandchild.
    • Additionally, when visiting with a minor under the age of ten you must bring a copy of their long form birth certificate.  When visiting with a minor over ten years of age the minor must have a current public safety picture identification.
  • All visitors must present a valid photo identification, either in the form of a state issued identification, a state issued driver's license, a passport, or military ID.
  • When you arrive at the facility you will register by providing the name and the inmate's identification number.
  • Inmates are allowed only one visit per day, so all visitors who are visiting an inmate in a single session must arrive together and register together.  The security level of the inmate will determine how many visiting sessions they can receive each month.
  • Offenders who are housed at a Reception and Evaluation Center are only granted visitors if they have been housed there longer than 30 days.
  • All visitors may be searched and are required to pass through a metal detector.  Your car may also be searched once it is on institutional grounds.  Additionally, the facility may use canines to aid in their searches.
  • Cell phones, cameras, recording devices, music devices and electronics of any kind are prohibited from entering into the facility.
  • Cash is not allowed to enter into the facility.  However, you can purchase a 'Paykey' device at the entrance of the facility for $5 and load up to $50 on this reusable device.  You can use the 'Paykey' to purchase items from the vending machines in the visiting area.
  • The only items you can bring with you into the facility are:
    • A small clear plastic wallet or change purse (a small Ziploc bag is also acceptable).
    • A 'Paykey'
    • A single car key
    • Your photo ID (and a minors ID/birth certificate if they are accompanying you).
    • If you are traveling with an infant or small child you may bring up to five diapers, three clear plastic baby bottles, three plastic sealed baby food containers, and a small amount of baby wipes.  You can carry these items in a clear Ziploc bag.  Baby carries are discouraged but are allowed, they will be searched, and the baby will need to be removed from the carrier prior to the search.
    • Visitors who require certain medications to be taken during the times they are visiting will be required to bring only the dosage amount needed for that period and it must be in the original prescribed container with pharmacy label.  Additionally, the medication must match the type prescribed and will be searched and verified.  The facility reserves the right to reject any medication it deems necessary to protect the safety security and order of the institution.

How to do Video Visitation in South Carolina:

  • Not all facilities are equipped with video visitation equipment.  Facilities that allow video visitation are Broad River Correctional Institution and Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution.
  • Video visitation is offered through GTL (Global Tel*Link).
  • Visits are 45 minutes long and begin at the start of each hour on the following schedule:
    • Monday-Friday 4pm-8pm
    • Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm
  • This is currently a pilot program.  During the pilot period each inmate is allowed five free visits.  After the five free visits, video visits cost $10 for each 45 minute visit.

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of South Carolina Inmates

All prisons in South Carolina have a dress code that all visitors must follow.  Failure to follow the dress code will result in a denial of your visit.  We recommend all visitors leave a change of clothes in their car.  This will enable you to quickly change in the event an article of clothing you are wearing is deemed inappropriate.

  • Any clothing that closely resembles the inmates clothes or the staffs clothes is prohibited.  This means at facilities where the inmates wear blue denim visitors may not, and at prisons wear inmates wear khaki visitors may not.
  • Uniforms such as military or doctors/nurse scrubs are restricted from being worn.
  • All visitors must wear shirts and shoes, sleeveless shirts are not allowed.
  • Sleeveless dresses are not allowed.  All dresses and skirts must come no higher than three inches above the knee.  Additionally, slits in dresses and skirts must not rise more than three inches above the knee.
  • Any clothing that exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is not allowed.  This includes fish net shirts and clothing.
  • If the clothing is tight such as spandex, leggings, tights, tube tops, tank tops, or is sheer or see-through it cannot be worn.
  • Hair pieces and hair accessories are subject to search.  You should refrain from wearing metal hair clips and pins as these can cause the metal detector to go off and require a more invasive search.
  • All visitors are required to wear proper under garments.  Metal under-wire bras may cause the metal detector to go off.
  • If your clothing contains offensive language or images you will not be allowed to visit.
  • Visitors should refrain from wearing jewelry and are limited to a wedding ring, a single pair of earrings, a single religious medallion, and a single medical alert bracelet or wristwatch.

If you have a question about visiting an inmate in South Carolina, or have already visited your inmate and would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment.  Additionally, if you know of some other information related to visiting an inmate in South Carolina, please post it below.