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Visitation Application and FAQ for Visiting a Tennessee DOC Inmate

The Tennessee Department of Corrections has acknowledged the importance of visitation and how it can positively influence the inmate's rehabilitation.  Offenders who have more visitors are likely to have a strong support network available to them when they discharge from prison.  Visitors are often discouraged when it comes to visiting a prison because they are unsure of the process and where to start.  To make visiting an inmate in Tennessee easier for everyone, we have assembled the most important things you need to know if you intend on visiting a prison:

  • All visitors must be on the inmate's approved visitation list before they can visit.
  • An inmate's visiting list can contain immediate family members and a limited number of friends.  The visiting list is first established by the inmate during the orientation and classification process.
  • During reception inmate's are limited in visits to immediate family only.
  • All visitors must fill out a Tennessee Inmate Visitation Application.  A recent photograph of yourself must be attached to the lower left-hand corner of the visitor's application.  Mail it back to the facility your inmate is located in.
  • If you include a self-addressed and stamped envelope with your application the department of corrections will send a visitors rule/handbook back to you.
  • It may take up to thirty days for your visitor's application to be processed.
  • All visitors 16 years and older must bring a valid photo identification which may be a state issued drivers license or ID card, a passport, or military ID.
  • Everyone who visits a correctional institution is required to pass through a metal detector and may be searched.  The facility may utilize electronic detection systems and canine units to aid in their search for drugs and contraband.  Additionally, your car may also be searched once it is on institutional grounds.
  • Weapons, firearms, knives, drugs, and alcohol are all prohibited items that may not enter onto institutional grounds.
  • All Tennessee prisons are smoke-free environments which means you may not enter the facility with tobacco, or tobacco related products such as lighters and matches.
  • Anyone who violates the rules and regulations of the Tennessee Department of Corrections may lose visiting privileges, be arrested and charged with a felony, or may have to forfeit their vehicle if it contains contraband.
  • You are only allowed to bring a single car key, your ID, a wedding ring, one watch, and the vending machine card you purchase at the facility into the visiting area.


The Tennessee Department of Correction does NOT tolerate and aggressively pursues every means possible to prevent the introduction of DRUGS and CONTRABAND into our prisons.

If you try to bring contraband inside our prisons,  you will face harsh consequences including:

  • Permanent loss of visitation privilege
  • Posting of a substantial bond to get out of jail
  • Forfeiture of the vehicle if contraband is found inside
  • Payment to an attorney to defend you at trial
  • A felony record
  • Loss of privilege of possessing a firearm

The Department of Correction will pursue criminal prosecution against both visitors and staff that refuse to adhere to the law.

The introduction of contraband is a serious threat to the safety and security of Tennessee prisons. The TDOC takes its responsibility as part of the law enforcement community very seriously.


Some additional information you should know when visiting an inmate in Tennessee:

  • If you are visiting with an infant or small child you are allowed to bring additional items which include, two diapers, baby wipes in a clear Ziploc bag, one clear plastic baby bottles, powdered baby formula in a clear plastic bag (no more than two servings).
  • Some facilities host a picnic weekend which allows visitors to bring additional items including chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, lunch meats, charcoals, condiments etc.  Contact the institution for the exact dates and the items they allow during picnic weekends.
  • Most TDOC offenders are allowed to visit with friends and family, provided they fill out the appropriate paperwork and follow the departmental policies and procedures.

  • Policy 507.01 - Visitation (in pdf format) (195 kb)
  • Visitation Form (in pdf format) (111 kb)
  • List of Items Permitted Through Checkpoint (in pdf format) (31 kb)
  • To familiarize yourself with the rules, please refer to the visitation policy. A visitation form will need to be filled out in its entirety in order to be placed on an offender's list. Applications are processed on a regular basis at each facility, but at least quarterly.

    When visiting a TDOC prison, vehicles must be secured in the parking lot.  Secured includes all doors locked and all windows rolled completely up.  Animals may not be left in a vehicle with a window cracked.  Failure to fully secure your vehicle may result in your visit being denied.  

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of Tennessee Inmates

Every prison in Tennessee implements a dress code that all visitors must follow.  The dress code exists in order to preserve the safety and security of the facility, the visitors, the staff, and inmates.  Failure to adhere to the dress code will result in your visit being denied.  Because the dress code is strictly enforced, we recommend you always leave a change of clothing in your car.  This will enable you to quickly change if a staff member disagrees with an article of clothing you are wearing.

  • Clothing that is too large or too small is prohibited.  This includes clothing that exposes excess skin.
  • Visitors must wear appropriate undergarments.  Thongs and water brassieres are considered inappropriate.
  • All visitors must wear shoes.  Steel toed shoes/boots, flip flops, sandals, and shower shoes are prohibited.
  • Shorts and skirts are allowed but they must extend to within three inches or closer of the knee when in a standing position.
  • Spandex and Spandex-like material are not allowed.  This includes all form-fitting clothing that accentuates the body.
  • Clothing that is sheer, transparent or see-through is not allowed.
  • Any clothing that closely resembles the inmate's clothes or the staff's clothes is prohibited.
  • Uniforms such as military or doctors/nurse scrubs are restricted from being worn.
  • Camouflage clothing is not allowed.
  • Clothing that is worn, has holes, tears and rips in it is restricted from visitation.
  • All shirts and blouses must have sleeves.  Sleeveless shirts/blouses are prohibited.
  • Clothing that exposes the midriff, chest, cleavage, back, or thighs are not allowed.
  • Tight clothing such as leggings, tube tops, tank tops, and halter tops are not allowed.
  • If your clothing contains offensive language, images, symbols, or logos you will not be allowed to visit.  This includes references to drugs, alcohol, and gangs.
  • Dresses and skirts must come to within three inches or less of the knee.  Slits may not rise above three inches of the knee.
  • Hats, bandanas, and other items that cover the head or the face are not allowed.
  • Layered clothing is prohibited.