Generally, offenders are allowed to accept visitors 17 and under, provided that they are accompanied by a guardian. However, there are exemptions that allow children ages 16 and 17 to visit an offender if they are the child’s legal guardian or parent, even without an adult companion during the visit. The warden must issue a written approval for the visit and have it filed in the offender file.
Allowing the offender to accept visitors at the age of minority is prohibited if the charges against him involve sexual offenses against children, unless the visitor is legally recognized as the child of the inmate and that the child is not the victim of the said offense. If this is a case similar to you or someone you love, you must help in securing the Victim Restriction Affidavit attesting that the offender is the legal parent of the child and that the child isn’t the victim of any sexual offense.
The visitation list submitted by the offender must be reviewed by the warden, or any designated staff to handle the approval. After approval of the list, the offender must be given a copy of it and should be intact in his travel card, while the complete visitor details must be maintained on the TDCJ Mainframe system.
Visitor Identification and Searches
If you are 18 years or older and included in the offender’s visitors list, you must bring with you a valid photo identification. Ensure that you are prepared with any further verification process if needed, so bring with your additional documents such as your birth certificate, pictured credit card or other government or state issued ID. Generally speaking, minors are not asked to show ID upon entry, provided that they are accompanied by an adult. If the minor is allowed to visit alone, there should be a photo identification of the child prior to entry, like a student ID, birth certificate, or the like, along with the approval documents.
Body pat and searches are conducted upon your entry to the premises, together with your vehicle, conducted by the facility security staff. Remember that minors should not be pat by the security personnel, but will be scanned with handheld or walk-through metal detector. If you refuse to undergo the search procedure, you will not be allowed to enter the facility. Stripping is not normally done during searches but may be conducted when the officer in charge feels the need for the procedure to confirm any visual inspection showing any signs of contraband, or for any other security purposes.
Contraband on Visit Searches
These are some of the items that are prohibited on TDCJ premises:
– intoxicating beverages
– controlled substance
– firearms, dangerous weapon, or explosive device
– any instrument that suggests an attempt to affect an escape
Make sure to check the items that are allowed and not allowed when visiting on the TDCJ Permissible Items List prior to your visit.
Supervision of Visits
Expect that an assigned staff will be supervising the visit to ensure no passing of contraband will take place. The offenders must undergo a pat or a strip search prior and after the visit, including before and after any short restroom breaks.
Visitor Dress Code
– Conservative clothing, no tight-fitting, see-through fabrics
– Shorts and skirts must be three inches above the knee or longer
– No length restrictions for children of ten years or younger
– Open-toes shoes and sandals are generally allowed
– Sleeveless tops are allowed provided there is a covering on the shoulders
– No statement or picture shirts that suggest profanity
Prohibited Actions of Visitors
– Loitering within the premises, especially along the perimeter road
– Taking pictures within the premises
– Playing music loudly
– Yelling at offender
– Leaving children unattended
– visiting one offender after another
– taking away any articles from the premises such as receipt of any item from offenders
Denial, Termination, and Suspension of Visits
You will not be allowed to enter the premises and push through with the visit if you are:
– appearing to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
– refusing or failing to provide identification documents
– refusing to be searched
– misrepresenting your relationship with the offender
– are violating the TDCJ Visitation Rule