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Visiting Application and FAQ for Visiting a South Dakota Inmate

Visitation has become one of the most important factors in an inmate's successful rehabilitation.  Offenders who have more visitors are much more likely to stay out of trouble during their incarceration and have an active support system ready for them when they complete their sentence.  Many friends and family members of inmates are unsure of how they go about visiting an offender. Inmates may be allowed visits with approved visitors except where there is a suspicion that such visitation would jeopardize the security, safety, or the disciplined operation of an institution. The decision of the warden is final regarding inmate visitation. To make it easier for everyone we have outlined the process and the important information you will need to know when visiting an inmate in South Dakota:

  • The requesting inmate or prospective visitor must complete and submit a Visit List Verification form to the respective facility. All prospective visitors age 18 and older are required to provide their social security number to the DOC for purposes of conducting a criminal background check. Background checks are completed on any person wishing to visit an inmate. Exceptions are made for an attorney of record, provided the attorney presents their Certificate of Membership card to the State Bar Association and an accepted form of identification.

    If prospective visitors do not wish to share their personal identification information (social security number, date of birth) with the inmate, they can complete the Visit List Verification form and send it directly to the facility where the inmate is housed. Personal identification information provided directly to the DOC by the prospective visitor will be treated as confidential and not released to the inmate.

  • Once you have completed the form mail it back to the facility the inmate is located in.  A background check is performed on all prospective visitors.
  • People eligible to visit an inmate include any immediate family members and a maximum of four AA/NA sponsors or friends.  Immediate family members are defined as a spouse, children, step-children, parents, siblings, grandparents, in-laws.
  • All visitors over the age of 16 must provide a valid photo ID, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID, student ID, military ID, tribal ID or passport.
  • Any visitor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, social worker, or family member over the age of 18 who is also on the approved visitation list.
  • Visits can be class I or class II.  Class I visits are conducted in a visiting room usually at a table where you sit across from the inmate.  Class II visits are non-contact and usually conducted behind a glass partition.
  • All visitors are searched and required to pass through a metal detector.  If your car is on institutional grounds it may also be searched.  The facility may also utilize canine units to aid in their search.

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

  • If you are not on the inmate's approved visitation list, and doing a one time visit you are able to request a Special Visit by filling out the Special Visit Request form.  This must be filled out well in advance of the requested visitation period you will be attending and must be approved by the warden or their designee.
  • You can bring $1 bills and coins in a small Ziploc bag for use in the visitors room vending machines.
  • Lockers are provided at most facilities to store your coats and other items in, prior to entering into the visiting area.
  • If you are traveling with an infant or small child you can bring additional items like a small amount of diapers, plastic bottles of baby formula, a baby blanket, and wipes.  Contact the facility for the specific baby related items you can bring.
  • Tobacco products, lighters, matches, cell phones, cameras, pagers, music devices, recording devices, and electronics of any kind are not allowed to enter with you into the visiting area.
  • A brief hug, handshake, and kiss on the cheek is allowed at the beginning and end of the visiting session.  Hand holding is allowed as long as it is above the table in plain view of the staff.

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of South Dakota Inmates

All facilities in South Dakota follow a dress code.  The dress code exists to maintain the order, safety and security of the institution.  In addition, the dress code is strictly enforced.  Failure to follow the dress code will result in a denial of your visit.  We recommend all visitors bring a change of clothes and leave them in their car.  This will enable you to quickly change in the event a staff member objects to an article of clothing you are wearing.

  • Any clothing that closely resembles the clothing of the inmates or staff is prohibited.
  • Uniforms that include military or medical scrubs are not allowed to be worn.
  • Articles of clothing that cover the face such as hats, bandanas etc. are not allowed to be worn.
  • Any clothing that exposes excessive skin including any part of the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, or thighs is not allowed.
  • Tight clothing including spandex, leggings, tube tops, tank tops, or clothing that is sheer or see-through is prohibited from being worn.
  • Skirts, shorts, and dresses that are above the knee or have a slit above the knee are not allowed.
  • Clothing that contains offensive language or images is not allowed.
  • Engaging in excessive physical contact is prohibited.
  • Visitors who refuse to be searched, appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who become loud, disruptive, or fail to listen to directives given by staff will have their visiting privileges suspended or terminated.

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