Q:

Can you schedule a jail visitation?

A:

Quick Answer

It may be possible to visit someone in jail; the decision is up to the individual facility. Some jails allow friends and family to schedule in-person visits, while others provide pay-per-use video conferencing. If a facility allows visitation, visitors must register and schedule in advance.

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Full Answer

Each jail in the United States has its own visitation rules, which are usually laid out on the facility's website. For example, as of 2015, the jails in DuPage County, Illinois allow each inmate one 30-minute visit per week. Prisoners with "Trusty" status have an extended time of 60 minutes.

At any jail, visitors must provide photo identification and follow the facility's rules for security scans, prohibited items and total group size. Most jails reserve the right to refuse or cut short visits at any time, and may limit visiting hours to specific times. Inmates may also decide not to accept visitors.

Video conferences are gaining traction in some states, including Arizona and Colorado. To schedule a video chat with an inmate, visitors must get online to register an account, choose a time and pay the fee. If a jail offers video conferences, it generally eliminates in-person visits.

For inmates at federal prisons, the process is more involved. The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates an online information site that allows visitors to locate an inmate, request to be added to the inmate's approved visitors list and learn about scheduling.

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