Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
General Visiting FAQ
- Will I be searched?
- Can minors visit inmates?
- Who should I contact if I have questions about visiting?
Will I be searched?
Please be prepared to be searched. All visitors and their belongings, including vehicles and any container and/or bag brought onto institution grounds are subject to be searched per DOC Policy 420.340 Searching & Detaining Facility Visitors.
Can minors visit inmates?
Who should I contact if I have questions about visiting?
You should contact the facility where you plan to visit and ask to speak to visit staff. Please be aware that visit staff often work a non-traditional work schedule so they are available at the facility during visit hours. A voice message may be left for visit staff. Please be sure to include the offender's six-digit DOC number and a brief summary of your concern, and visit staff will return your call as soon as they are able.
If your question or concern cannot be resolved by the facility, you may contact the Statewide Visit Specialist. Please be sure to include the inmate's name and six-digit DOC number in the subject line.
Prison & Video Visits FAQ
What do I have to do to visit an inmate who is in prison?
Every individual intending to visit an inmate in prison must complete the visitor application process. The Department only accepts Electronic Visit Applications for prison visits at this time. Go to the Prison Visits webpage for information about the forms that must be completed to visit prison inmates.
How long does it take to process a visiting application?
Applications are generally processed in three weeks, though in some cases more time may be needed. Please allow a minimum of one month before inquiring with a facility regarding application approval status. Submitting multiple applications for an individual visitor will cause a delay in processing.
Can minors visit an inmate at a prison facility?
Yes. Individuals under 18 years of age must be accompanied during the entire visit by their non-incarcerated parent/legal guardian or a designated escort (i.e., an adult approved by the Superintendent who is on the inmate's Approved Visitor List, or is a volunteer sponsor or sponsoring organization staff, and who has notarized written approval from the non-incarcerated parent/legal guardian). See the Prison Visits webpage and DOC Policy 450.300 Visits for Incarcerated Individuals for more information.
Is a birth certificate required for every minor visitor?
No, birth certificates are no longer required for minor visitors requesting regular visits.
What are the visiting hours?
Visiting schedules vary among the prison facilities. See the Prison Visits page for prison-specific visiting guidelines, schedules, and event calendars.
What items can I bring to a visit?
Refer to the visitor guidelines for the rules for the prison facility you will be visiting.
If I am escorting an infant or toddler on a visit, what supplies can I bring?
Items authorized for infants and toddlers are included in the visitor guidelines for the facility where the inmate is housed.
Individual facilities may vary on what items are allowed for infants and toddlers. Please obtain specific information from the inmate prior to your visit.
Is there a dress code for visitors?
Only clothing that is conservative, modest, and meets the following standards is acceptable:
- All clothing must be clean and in good repair. All buttons or closures must be fastened to the degree necessary to maintain modesty.
- Undergarments must be worn. Male visitors must wear boxers, briefs, or long underwear. Female visitors, as determined appropriate, must wear briefs and brassieres.
- Visitors should not wear clothing that is difficult to search. For example, excessive pockets or padding, layering of one outer garment over another, etc.
See each prison facility's visitor guidelines more specific clothing requirements.
What if I need help with transportation?
A locally owned veteran run transportation service, Western Van Service, is available to help you get to prison facilities.
What is the Approved Visitor List?
A prison inmate's Approved Visitor List contains those individuals whom have successfully completed the application process and have been approved to visit with the inmate. Go to the Prison Visits webpage for more information about the Approved Visitor List.
How can I be removed from an individual's visit list?
A visitor who wishes to be removed from a visitor list must send a written request to the Headquarters Visit Unit at PO Box 41118, Olympia, WA 9804-1118 or by emailing Headquarters Visit Unit.
An individual removed from an Approved Visitor List must wait 90 calendar days before applying to visit the same or another inmate. The waiting period may be waived if the visitor never visited with the individual whose list they were removed from or has not visited in the last 90 days.
How many people can be on an inmate's Approved Visitor List?
There is no limit to the number of visitors an individual may have on his/her approved visitor list.
Additional restrictions may apply at individual facilities. It is best to check with the inmate to find out how many are allowed at his/her location.
Can a visitor be on the Approved Visitor List of more than one prison inmate?
Visitors may only be on one approved visitor list unless they are immediate family members of more than one incarcerated individual and approved by the Statewide Visit Specialist. The visitor must submit an online visitor application and attach documentation for proof of relationship (i.e birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.).
Who are considered to be 'immediate family'?
Per DOC Policy 450.300 Visits for Incarcerated Individuals, immediate family is defined as spouse/state registered domestic partner, parent, stepparent, sibling, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, and as documented in the inmate's central file, person(s) acting in place of a parent and/or foster children.
What are the requirements for an inmate to be eligible for an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
A few of the criteria that must be met for a prison inmate to be eligible for an EFV include:
- Inmates serving 5 years or more in prison are eligible to apply after 12 consecutive months in prison.
- Inmates serving less than 5 years in prison are eligible to apply after 6 consecutive months in prison.
- Inmates on death row, or assigned to maximum/close custody level are excluded from participating.
See Directive IV of DOC Policy 590.100 Extended Family Visiting for a full list of the criteria that inmates must meet before an EFV.
What are the requirements for family to be eligible for an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
A few of the criteria that must be met for family to be eligible for an EFV include:
- Each applicant will be subject to legal verification of relationship to the inmate and must provide positive picture identification.
- An applicant who is currently an inmate in any correctional facility will not be allowed to participate. An applicant who is a former inmate must have the specific authorization of the Superintendent.
- The applicant cannot have any active "no contact" or "protective" order judgment from any court involving the inmate.
For a full list of the criteria that family must meet before an EFV, see Directive IV of DOC Policy 590.100 Extended Family Visiting.
What are the requirements for spouses/domestic partners to be eligible for an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
In addition to meeting the criteria for all family, spouses/state registered domestic partners must be legally married to or joined in a state registered domestic partnership with the inmate, and must provide a notarized copy of the marriage license/state registered domestic partnership certificate.
Marriages/state registered domestic partnerships entered into after the judgment and sentence must comply with DOC Policy 590.200 Offender Marriages and State Registered Domestic Partnerships.
For the full details pertaining to spouses/state registered domestic partners EFV visits, see Directive IV of DOC Policy 590.100 Extended Family Visiting.
What are the requirements for minors to be eligible for an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
There are additional criteria that must be met for minors to participate in the EFV program, a few of which are:
- If the minor has applied for visits as the inmate's child or stepchild, the minor must be the birth child or adopted child of either the inmate or his/her spouse/state registered domestic partner with legal custody. A certified copy of the minor's birth certificate and/or adoption papers must be provided with the application.
- The minor must be accompanied and supervised by an approved EFV participant and have written notarized consent of the custodial parent/legal guardian.
- A minor who is a victim of the inmate's sexual offense, physical abuse, or other mistreatment will not be eligible to visit.
For a full list of the additional criteria that must be met for minor participation in an EFV, see Directive IV of DOC Policy 590.100 Extended Family Visiting.
What is a special visit and how do I request one?
Special visits are permitted for:
- Visitors who travel a long distance (i.e., at least 250 miles one way)
- Visitors who travel from out of country (i.e., international visitors)
- Individuals who utilize Department facilitated, special transportation services (e.g., Western Van Service)
- Appointed members of local and/or statewide family councils who have missed visits due to participation in council meetings
- Inmates who are in disciplinary status or are hospitalized, and
- Professional visits between inmates and their attorneys, clergy, social service agency representatives, etc.
Except for professional visitors, special visits will only be approved for individuals who are on the inmate's Approved Visitor List unless approved by the Superintendent/designee for extraordinary circumstances.
A request for a special visit may be submitted utilizing DOC 21-787 through visit staff as soon as possible, but no less than five business days prior to the visit and must list all visitors who will be visiting. For professional visits, either the individual or the professional, may complete the DOC 21-787 Special Visit Request form.
Work Release Visits FAQ
What do I have to do to visit an inmate on work release?
Because work release facilities do not have access to the same visit records as prisons, a new application must be submitted when an inmate transfers to a work release. (The Department only accepts Electronic Visit Applications for prison visits at this time.)
- DOC 20-169 Work Release Visitor & Sponsor Application (English)
- DOC 20-169 Reclusorio Nocturno Solicitud para Visitantes y Patrocinadores (Spanish)
The DOC 05-370 Request for Criminal History Record Information form must be completed and submitted as well.
If you are approved, you will be added to the inmate's work release visiting list and the inmate will be notified.
I was on the inmate's Approved Visitor List when they were in prison. What do I have to do when the inmate transfers to work release?
Because work release facilities do not have access to the same visit records as those used in prison facilities, a new application must be submitted when an offender transfers to work release.
Can minors visit an inmate on work release?
Yes. Visitors under 18 years of age must be accompanied and supervised by their parent or legal guardian during the entire visit. See DOC Policy 450.310 Visits & Social Outings for Work Release Offenders for more information.
What is a social outing?
Per DOC Policy 450.310 Visits & Social Outings for Work Release Offenders, social outings must meet several guidelines, a few of which are:
- Inmates must be free of disciplinary restrictions.
- Inmates must be accompanied at all times by the approved sponsor who is signed out with the inmate on the social outing.
- A social outing cannot exceed 10 hours and may occur only between the hours of 8:00AM and 12:00AM midnight. The Community Corrections Supervisor (CCS) may restrict available hours based on facility security and operations.
- Social outings cannot exceed 30 hours per week per inmate.
- Inmates cannot leave the county in which their Work Release is located without prior written approval.
- Inmates are not allowed to travel out of state.
What do I have to do to arrange a social outing?
Eligible inmates must complete the DOC 20-084 Social Outing Request & Responsibilities form, and have it approved before the planned outing.
Phone Call FAQ
Can I call an inmate at a prison facility?
What if I need to make an emergency phone call to an inmate?
All family emergencies must go through the emergency messages process at the prison facility where the inmate is located.
Will my phone call be monitored or recorded?
Yes, your call will be both monitored and recorded. Prisons use a monitoring/recording system to enhance security, increase inmate and public safety, and reduce criminal activity or activity that could threaten the orderly operation of the facility.
The DOC protects inmate's constitutional rights by providing for unmonitored legal phone calls made to a telephone number recognized by the applicable state's bar association. See DOC Policy 450.200 Telephone Use by Offenders for details.
How do I setup a prepaid phone account?
See the AdvancePay prepaid option to learn more about setting up an account to enable inmates to call you, or the PIN Debit prepaid option to learn more about setting up an account to enable inmates to call anyone on their Personal Allowed Number (PAN) list.
What are the phone rates to talk to inmates?
See the ConnectNetwork phone rates for information about rates and fees that apply to phone calls with inmates.
What happens if my answering machine picks up the inmate's phone call?
As a standard rule there is no charge if a call gets terminated to an answering machine. The system will determine that an answering machine has acquired the call and the inmate will not be allowed to leave a message.
In some rare cases, depending on the line quality and tone process of the answering machine, the system will set the call as accepted and a charge will be levied. In these cases, ConnectNetwork may refund the money and may request that the customer change the answering machine at their discretion.
How do I close my ConnectNetwork account?
To close your ConnectNetwork account, call (800) 483–8314 to speak to a Customer Service Representative.