The Ins and Outs of Visitation Rights in AZ: What You Need to Know

The Ins and Outs of Visitation Rights in AZ: What You Need to Know

Jail doors are swinging open! Nearly 41,000 people were in Arizona jails and prisons in 2019. 

You would think that these people have visitation rights to see their families and friends. While most prisoners can see their families, they have very limited types of visitation rights. Before you prepare to visit an incarcerated loved one, you should understand what visitation rights you have.

What are inmate visitation rights like in Arizona? What visits are you allowed to make? Can you make phone calls or video conferences with incarcerated people? 

Answer these questions and you can figure out the visitation process in no time. Here is your quick guide.

You Must Fill Out an Application 

Each jail has its own policies for visitation. Some jails and all state prisons require you to fill out an application to visit an inmate. Each visitor must make their own application, including the children of the inmate.

You must provide your full contact information and personal details, including your weight, height, and eye color. You must also give information about your employer. You must describe whether you have been on probation, parole, or incarcerated in any state.

You can mail your application to the facility your loved one is at. You must send it in with a $25 check. This allows the facility to run a background check on you to make sure your details are accurate. 

The facility may deny your application. You can appeal to them within ten business days or wait six months to re-apply.

Family members and lawyers get first priority for visits. But you can get visitation access to a third party, especially if you are a member of the media or a clergy member.

You Must Be on a Visitation List

An inmate can prepare a visitation list with people they want to visit. They can add or delete people off their list at any time. 

Talk to your inmate in advance of your visit and make sure your inmate has you on their list. You should also tell them if you need to change your contact information, including your phone number or address. Your most recent information must be on file at all times.  

You can only be on one inmate's visitation list at one time. The only exception is if you have multiple immediate family members in prison. 

You Must Follow a Dress Code

Even if you are allowed to visit an inmate, you must follow visitation guidelines and a dress code. You must wear clothes that cover your entire body, including shoes. You cannot wear clothes that expose your back or stomach or that are cut lower than your collarbone. 

You can wear a skirt or dress, but it must come to your knee while standing. The same goes for shorts. 

You cannot wear tight clothing or clothing that accentuates your body, such as leggings. You also cannot wear a swimsuit, sleeveless top, or tube top. You cannot wear clothes that have offensive language or photographs on them.

You Must Submit to Security Screenings

When you arrive at the facility, you must have a state-issued ID with a photograph of yourself. A child must have their birth certificate and a parent or adult to chaperone them. 

As you enter the facility, you will be searched. You may need to go through a metal detector, submit to a physical patdown, allow dogs to search you, or allow an officer to use an ion scanner on you. You can request a particular search if you have an implanted device and cannot go through a metal detector. 

Your car or bag may also be searched. Put items away from the windows of your car so officers can look inside easily. 

Your Visits Are Tailored

Arizona places significant limitations on your visits. You can only visit one inmate for up to two hours at a time. Up to six people can visit your loved one, but only if there is enough space to accommodate them. 

You can kiss or hug your loved one at the beginning and end of your visit, but at no other time. You cannot engage in any other intimate activities, including sitting on their lap. 

You can play board games, but you cannot play games that use metallic objects or fake currency. You can also talk with your loved one, but you cannot use profane language or become unruly. A correctional officer can end your visit at any time if they feel you are engaging in improper conduct, even during conjugal visitation.

You can send a care package or give food to your inmate. During a food visit, you can give your loved one their favorite meal, as long as it is in a see-through container. 

You Can Try Phone Calls

If the restrictions are too cumbersome for you, you can make phone calls to your loved one. You must submit an application, but you do not have to go through security screenings to make your calls. 

You can also try video visiting, which you can do every day for as long as you like. You may need to set up an account with a videoconferencing company and pay fees, and you will need your own computer or smartphone. 

You Have Limited Visitation Rights

In order to use your visitation rights, you must know the visitation process. You must fill out a form and receive approval from the facility before visiting. You must adhere to a dress code and policies against intimate activities. 

You can talk, play games, and share food with your inmate. If you don't want to go through screenings every time you visit, you can make phone or video calls to your inmate. 

You also need to know where your inmate is. Jail Exchange lets people find their loved ones in jail. Find an inmate today.