Visiting an inmate in Wisconsin

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting Wisconsin Inmates

The Wisconsin Department of Correction has acknowledged the importance of visitation and promotes all friends and family members who serve as positive role models to visit their inmate whenever possible.  Before anyone can visit they will need to be on the inmate's approved visitation list, and should be aware of the rules and regulations pertaining to visitation.  To make it easier for everyone we have compiled the most important information pertaining to visiting an inmate in Wisconsin.

  • During the initial intake process, when an inmate is first incarcerated, they will submit a list of people they wish to have added to their visitation list.  This list can be updated every six months.
  • Offenders are allowed up to twelve approved visitors on their visitation list.  Minors do not count.  During Assessment and Evaluation inmates are only allowed four adult visitors from close family members.
  • Each prospective visitor will be mailed a visitation application.  We have provided a sample Wisconsin inmate visitors application (DOC-21AA) for our users to get an idea of what the application consists of.  The actual application must be mailed from the inmate.
  • Minors must also submit a visitors application, and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian who is also an approved visitor.
  • One you have accurately completed the application you will need to mail it back to the facility the inmate is incarcerated in.
  • A background check will be performed using the application.  This process can take 4-6 weeks to complete.  
  • The offender will be notified of your approval or denial, and is responsible for informing you of the Department of Corrections decision.
  • If your application has been denied you will be required to wait six months before you can re-apply.
  • All visitors who are 16 years and older must provide a valid photo identification when they come to visit.  Valid ID includes a state ID, driver's license, US Passport/Visa, Military ID, or photo tribal ID.
  • Every visitor is required to pass through a metal detector.  Visitors will have three attempts to pass through the metal detector, if they fail each attempt they will not be permitted to visit.  In order to minimize setting off the detector you should refrain from wearing anything metal, including jewelry, bras that contain under-wire, belt buckles etc.

Other important information you should know when visiting an inmate incarcerated in a Wisconsin prison:

  • Lockers are provided at most facilities that allow visitors to store items in that are not allowed to enter into the visiting room.
  • You may arrive at the institution and sign in up to 15 minutes before the visiting session begins, do not arrive any earlier then this as you will not be allowed to.
  • All cars must have windows up and be locked.  Unsecured vehicles are prohibited and may result in your visit terminating.
  • Cell phones, cameras, recording devices, pagers, music devices and electronics of any kind are not allowed to enter into the facility, leave these items in your car.
  • Tobacco and tobacco related products such as lighters and matches are prohibited from entering the facility.
  • Food and drinks are not allowed.
  • Weapons, drugs, and alcohol are prohibited from being on institutional grounds.
  • If you are traveling with an infant or small child you are allowed to bring one pacifier, a small amount of baby wipes in a clear plastic bag, up to four diapers, two small baby blankets, and two plastic baby bottles.  Strollers, diaper bags, toys and games are not allowed at the facility.
  • You may bring up to $20 per visitor in small bills and coins to use in the visitation room vending machines.

Dress Code & Contact Rules for Visitors of Wisconsin Inmates

All correctional facilities in Wisconsin require visitors to adhere to a dress code.  If you fail to follow the dress code the staff will not let you attend a visiting session.  The dress code exists to ensure the safety, security and order of the institution.  Anyone who is planning on visiting a prison in Wisconsin should have a change of clothes with them that they leave in their car, this will allow you to quickly change if an article of clothing you are wearing is deemed inappropriate.

  • All visitors are required to follow the directions of staff.  Visitors should remain courteous to others at all times.  If you are loud, disruptive or fail to listen to the staff your visit will end, and you will be required to leave the facility.
  • Visitors are allowed a brief hug and kiss with their visitors at the beginning and end of the visiting session.  Excessive physical contact/inappropriate contact will result in the visit ending.
  • An inmate is permitted to hold their own child who is five years old or under.
  • Clothing with holes, tears, or that is unclean is not allowed.
  • Clothes that expose undergarments are prohibited.
  • Watches are prohibited.
  • Clothing affiliated with gangs including shoes, hats/bandanas/headwear, logos and insignias are not allowed.
  • Lycra, spandex and similar materials that are form fitting or excessively tight are not allowed.
  • Strapless dresses and tops are not allowed.  Halter tops, tube tops, and tank tops are not permitted.
  • Any clothing that exposes the back, shoulders, midriff, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is not allowed.
  • Clothing that is transparent, sheer, or see through is restricted from being worn.
  • Skirts, shorts, and dresses must extend to within three inches or less of the knee when standing.
  • Clothes that contain offensive images or language, including depictions of drugs, alcohol or sex are not allowed.

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