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Visiting Applications and FAQ for Visiting an Inmate in the Iowa DOC

Studies have shows inmates who have more ties to family, friends and the community is less likely to re-offend when they are released.  When inmates have a support network of friends and family members they are encouraged to spend their time incarcerated constructively.  Visiting has become a vital part of an inmate's successful rehabilitation, which is why the Iowa Department of Corrections encourages all positive mentors to visit their inmate whenever possible.  One of the problems the department faces is that when people think of visiting a prison they often feel discouraged and overwhelmed.  To make it easier for everyone we have assembled some of the most important things you'll need to know and the process you will go through before you visit your inmate in Iowa:

  • Before you visit an inmate in Iowa you must fully complete an Iowa Inmate Visitors Application found here, you can also get the application in Spanish here.  The Department of Corrections states that the inmates are responsible for identifying any potential visitors and sending them visitor applications.
  • Once you have completed the application, mail it to the Centralized Visitation Authority at the following address:
    • Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility
      Attn: Central Records
      1200 E. Washington
      Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
  • Processing of applications by the Centralized office will not begin until the inmate is processed out of reception and is in their permanent facility.
  • You are not allowed to be on two inmate's visitor lists at the same time.
  • The visiting application will be processed within thirty days of the Centralized Visiting Authority receiving it.  During processing, a full criminal background check will be performed.
  • If your visitation application is denied you will be sent a denial letter in the mail explaining the reason for your denial.  If you are approved the prison will leave it up to the inmate to inform you that you may now visit.
  • Special visits can be requested that fall outside of the normal visiting hours.  These visits are only permitted for close family members who are traveling an extremely long distance, or due to a critical personal matter such as the death of an immediate family member.  A special visit can be requested by filling out the Iowa Special Visit Request form.
  • Visits from law enforcement, legal counsel, government officials, and clergy do not abide by these same rules, and although they need to still request to visit an inmate they are not restrained to being on one offender visiting list at a time.
  • All visitors, including minors, will be searched and must pass through a metal detector to enter into visitation.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and may need to provide a valid birth certificate to gain entry.  The parent or guardian accompanying the minor must also be on the inmate's approved visitation list.
  • You must have a valid photo ID, such as a driver's license, state ID, military ID, or US Passport.

Some additional information you may want to know when visiting an inmate in Iowa:

  • You can bring a small amount of money with you to purchase a Debitek Card, which works like a debit card and allows you to purchase items through the canteen during your visit.
  • If your inmate transfers to a new facility in Iowa you will not be required to fill out another visiting application, instead the approved visitor's list will transfer with the inmate.
  • You should always call the facility prior to your visit because visitation can be canceled or modified due to emergency situations such as a lockdown.
  • Tobacco products, lighters, cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices are not allowed to enter the facility, leave these items in your car.
  • In addition to you being searched, your car may also be searched if it is parked on institutional grounds.

Dress Code/Contact Rules for Visitors of Iowa Inmates

Another important aspect of visiting are the rules and regulations, including what the dress code is for visitation.  Below are the rules regarding what you can wear.  The best practice is to bring a change of clothing and leave it in your car just in case one of the items you are wearing is deemed inappropriate by a staff member.

  • Remember when visiting that you are not allowed to communicate with anyone other than the inmate you are there to see.
  • All visitors are required to wear shoes at all times.
  • Miniskirts, shorts, sheer/see-through clothing, muscle shirts, halter tops, tube tops, tank tops, spandex, leggings, or clothing that is excessively tight, or exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage or skin 2" or more above the knee is not allowed.  If you wear any clothing mentioned above your visit will be denied.
  • Any clothing with offensive language or images/pictures is not allowed.
  • During your visit, you will be required to remove outwear, including but not limited to hats, coats, sunglasses, and gloves.
  • If you have medical requirements to wear certain clothing (such as sunglasses) you must bring a prescription written by a doctor with you.
  • Clothing that resembles the inmate's clothes or the staff's clothes is prohibited.
  • Uniforms such as military or doctors/nurse scrubs are prohibited.
  • Anyone visiting with children must supervise their children at all times if they disrupt other visitors or are left unattended your visit will be terminated.
  • If you are loud, disruptive, disrespectful or behave badly your visit will be terminated.
  • If you try to exchange anything with the inmate, with the exception of items purchased from the vending machines or canteen during the visit, you will have your visiting privileges revoked.