How to Visit a Federal Prison

A federal prison is operated under federal jurisdiction and is known for having the most number of prisoners after state prisons. If you have violated federal law (US, Mexico), you can end up in federal prison. Visiting a federal prison is one of the smoothest experiences. Process of visiting a Federal BOP is one of the simplest compared to state or county prisons. Below are the listed steps on How to visit a federal prison.

Visiting a federal inmate is not so complicated, If you know 4 Rules of Visiting a BOP: Locate, Be Approved, Prepare and Plan.  Find more information on each step below. 
  • Locate The Inmate
    1. The first step is to locate an inmate, this will help you get the current facility location of the inmate.
    2. Go to BOP inmate locator,
    3. Enter inmates name and personal info and click on search to locate the inmate.
    4. Using Federal Inmate Locator
    5. Alternately you can also enter inmate id to search for the inmate.
  • Be On The Inmates Approved List 
    1. BOPs only allow pre-approved visitors if you are a family member you may already be on the approved visitor list. 
    2. If not you can send a mail to the inmate and ask them to add you on their visitor list. 
    3. Following members can be on their approved list:
      Inmates Visitor List 
  • Prepare To Visit
    1. Dress Code: Follow the dress code of the BOPs, generally, you should not wear anything which can be considered inappropriate for a public gathering. 
    2. Visiting Rules: An inmate gets 4 hours of visiting time per month, warden of the prison may restrict per visit duration accordingly. 
    3. Physical Contact visits Depending on various factors like the criminal record, and behavior of the inmate. Or visitors past record of visitation, you may or may not be allowed to have a physical contact visitation. Only handshakes, hugs, and kisses (in good taste) are allowed as physical contacts. 
    4. Follow the rules as described by the fellow guards before the visit. This might impact your future visits. Respect the prison guards and rules at all time.
  • Plan Your Visit
    1. Avoid holidays and weekends as BOPs are closed during these days.
    2. Plan your visit early and contact the particular prison beforehand to book your visiting space. 
    3. There is no government reimbursement for your visit. You have to pay for yourself, so secure some funds accordingly.
    4.  Carry 2 government-issued photo IDs, for verification. 
    5. Pre-communicate with the inmate about your visit, for communication-related queries, visit:

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