Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
General Visiting FAQ
- Will I be searched?
- Can minors visit incarcerated individuals?
- 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 incarcerated individuals?
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 incarcerated individual's name and six-digit DOC number in the subject line.
Prison & Video Visits FAQ
What do I have to do to visit an incarcerated individual who is in prison?
Every individual intending to visit an incarcerated individuals 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 incarcerated individuals.
How long does it take to process a visiting application?
Applications are generally processed within 30 business days of receipt, though in some cases more time may be needed. Please allow a minimum of eight weeks before inquiring with the Statewide Visit Unit regarding application status. Submitting multiple applications for an individual visitor will cause a delay in processing.
Can minors visit an incarcerated individual 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 incarcerated individual'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.
What if I have more than two minor children that I want to schedule to come with me to visit?
Submit one visit request for each visit session that contains different children. For example, if you have six children and you want to take different children to each of the three sessions in a month, you will submit three visit request forms. One form would list the adult authorized to escort & children 1 & 2, the second would list the adult authorized to escort & children 3 & 4, the third would list the adult authorized to escort & children 5 & 6.
Is a birth certificate required for every minor visitor?
Generally no, however when the incarcerated individual is incarcerated on a charge with a minor victim, birth certificates may be required.
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 regular 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 incarcerated individual is housed.
I am a DCYF caseworker requesting visits for the child of an incarcerated parent, what do I need to do?
The following needs to be completed for every incarcerated individual:
- Complete the 20-441 Parent/Legal Consent for Minor Visit And/Or Escort. Scan the document or take a photo so it can be uploaded when you submit the visit application. List all authorized escorts for the child(ren). The identified escorts must be approved visitors.
- Submit an application by completing a visit application for the child using DOC 20-181. The first question is asking for the date of birth of the adult submitting the form for the child. Once that is completed by an individual over the age of 13, the rest of the application will pop up and should be completed with the child’s information.
- Attach official documentation that contains the visitation plan for the child.
- Form 20-182 Government Designated Escort Application needs to be completed by each individual authorized to escort a child to visits (regular OR video visits). These individuals should be individuals who are not known to the incarcerated individual outside of the work they are doing. The authorization to escort a minor on behalf of the State will be confirmed prior to visits being authorized.
- Relatives authorized to escort the child to visit should fill out the DOC 20-060 Visitor Application.
- The Statewide Visit Unit my request additional documentation as needed.
- While DCYF may request visits for a minor child, the child and escorts must meet DOC Policy 450.300 Visits for Incarcerated Individuals requirements. If they do not meet policy requirements, a letter of denial that includes the appeal process will be sent to the email used to submit the application.
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 is the Approved Visitor List?
A prison incarcerated individual's Approved Visitor List contains those individuals whom have successfully completed the application process and have been approved to visit with the incarcerated individual. 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 Statewide Visit Unit.
An individual removed from an Approved Visitor List must wait 90 calendar days before applying to visit the same or another incarcerated individual. 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 incarcerated individual's Approved Visitor List?
There is no limit to the number of visitors an individual may have on his/her approved visitor list.
Can a visitor be on the Approved Visitor List of more than one prison incarcerated individual?
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'?
An Incarcerated individual's children, stepchildren, grandchildren, great grandchildren, parents, stepparents, grandparents, great grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and a person legally married to or in a state registered domestic partnership with an incarcerated individual. "Immediate family" includes the immediate family of an incarcerated individual who was adopted as a child or an adult, but does not include an incarcerated individual adopted by another incarcerated individual (or the immediate family of the adopted or adopting individual).
Where do Extended Family Visit (EFV) applications get sent?
Visitors will submit applicable paperwork and documents by sending them to the address below:
Department of Corrections
Attn: EFV Application
Post Office Box 41118
Olympia, WA 98504-1118
What are the requirements for an incarcerated individual to be eligible for an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
A few of the criteria that must be met for a prison incarcerated individual to be eligible for an EFV include:
- Incarcerated individuals serving 5 years or more in prison are eligible to apply after 12 consecutive months in prison.
- Incarcerated individuals serving less than 5 years in prison are eligible to apply after 6 consecutive months in prison.
- Incarcerated individuals 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 incarcerated individuals 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 incarcerated individual and must provide positive picture identification.
- An applicant who is currently an incarcerated individual in any correctional facility will not be allowed to participate. An applicant who is a former incarcerated individual 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 incarcerated individual.
- Visitors must have an established visit history (six visits in the last six months).
Incarcerated individuals cannot have any indicator of domestic violence history with an individual of a like relationship to a previous victim.
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 incarcerated individual, and must provide an original copy of the marriage license/state registered domestic partnership certificate issued by the appropriate jurisdiction (e.g. Department of Health or issuing county).
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 incarcerated individual's child or stepchild, the minor must be the birth child or adopted child of either the incarcerated individual 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 incarcerated individual'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 items can I bring to an Extended Family Visit (EFV)?
Refer to the Extended Family Visiting Allowable Items for what is allowed to be brought in during an EFV.
What is a special visit and how do I request one?
Special visits are authorized at the discretion of the facility Superintendent.
Special visits are permitted for:
- Visitors who travel a long distance
- Visitors who travel from out of country (i.e., international visitors)
- Appointed members of local and/or statewide family councils who have missed visits due to participation in council meetings
- Incarcerated individuals who are in disciplinary status or are hospitalized, and
- Professional visits between incarcerated individuals 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 incarcerated individual'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.
Facilities may choose to limit the number of special visits an incarcerated individual can have within a specific period of time.
Reentry Center Visits FAQ
What do I have to do to visit an incarcerated individual at a reentry center?
Complete and submit DOC 20-169 Reentry Center & Sponsor Application. This form is also available in Spanish, DOC 20-169 Reclusorio Nocturno Solicitud para Visitantes y Patrocinadores.
The DOC 05-370 Request for Criminal History Record Information form must also be completed and submitted.
If you are approved, you will be added to the incarcerated individual's reentry center visiting list and the incarcerated individual will be notified.
I was on the incarcerated individual's Approved Visitor List when they were in prison. What do I have to do when the incarcerated individual transfers to a reentry center?
A separate application must be submitted when an incarcerated individual transfers to a reentry center.
Can minors visit an incarcerated individual at a reentry center?
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 Reentry Center Offenders for more information.
What is a social outing?
Per DOC Policy 450.310 Visits & Social Outings for reentry center Offenders, social outings must meet several guidelines, a few of which are:
- incarcerated individuals must be free of disciplinary restrictions.
- Incarcerated individuals must be accompanied at all times by the approved sponsor who is signed out with the incarcerated individual 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 incarcerated individual.
- Incarcerated individuals cannot leave the county in which their reentry center is located without prior written approval.
- Incarcerated individuals are not allowed to travel out of state.
What do I have to do to arrange a social outing?
Eligible incarcerated individuals 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 incarcerated individual at a prison facility?
What if I need to make an emergency phone call to an incarcerated individual?
All family emergencies must go through the emergency messages process at the prison facility where the incarcerated individual 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 incarcerated individual and public safety, and reduce criminal activity or activity that could threaten the orderly operation of the facility.
The DOC protects incarcerated individual'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 incarcerated individuals to call you, or the PIN Debit prepaid option to learn more about setting up an account to enable incarcerated individuals to call anyone on their Personal Allowed Number (PAN) list.
What are the phone rates to talk to incarcerated individuals?
See the ConnectNetwork phone rates for information about rates and fees that apply to phone calls with incarcerated individuals.
What happens if my answering machine picks up the incarcerated individual'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 incarcerated individual 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.