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Unfortunately, as a result of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated population, staff and the surrounding communities, visitation will be temporarily suspended statewide, effective December 30, 2020. Non-contact legal visits will be allowed to continue under previously announced protocols.
The Department continues to work with our phone and tablet vendor as previously announced to ensure continued access to some free calls and secure messages each week. The Department will also make (5) free stamps available to the population for general correspondence.
We will continue to monitor the infection rates and resume visitation as soon as practical. We recognize that visitation is a vital part of family reunification and therefore, we will resume it when safe to do so.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) encourages visits by family and friends, which can be a positive influence during the time a person spends in prison and after their release. Research shows that incarcerated individuals who receive regular visits adjust much better once they are released from prison when the privilege is used to maintain positive relationships.
DOCCS wants the visiting experience to be family-friendly and positive. The Department has Visitor Hospitality Centers that provide shelter and respite for visiting families and friends prior to entering the facility. Restrooms, a baby changing station, lockers for storing personal belongings, and information concerning rules and regulations pertaining to visitation, including packages for inmates, are available.
To ensure the safety of family, friends who are visiting, as well as our facilities staff and the incarcerated population, visits are subject to DOCCS rules. To help address questions you may have about visitations, DOCCS has prepared a variety of resources.
VISITING DAYS & HOURS
8:30 AM to 3:30 PM Weekends and Holidays - Latest Arrival Time 2:00 PM.
SPECIAL HOUSING UNIT VISITING DAYS & HOURS (Inmates in SHU – 1 visit within 7 day period)
Monday to Sunday 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM - Latest Arrival Time 2:00 PM
NUMBER OF ALLOWABLE VISITS
Unlimited number of visits during visiting hours.
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF VISITORS PER VISIT/DAY (How many people at a visiting table at one time)
The Superintendent may deny, limit, suspend, or revoke the visitation privileges of any offender or visitor if the Superintendent has reasonable cause to believe that such action is necessary to maintain the safety, security, and good order of the facility.
Visitors are required to furnish proof of identification, which includes the following: All adult visitors will be required to present photo identification when being processed to visit an offender in DOCCS. Acceptable forms of photo identification must be valid, and current (not expired) and may include:
To ensure faster processing, it is recommended that you use the same identification at every visit, regardless of who you are visiting and where. Your photograph will also be taken for the visitor identification system. For minor children only, birth or baptismal certificates may be used for identification purposes. Lawyers and other persons entering for official visits can use:
If you arrive with a small child, you will be allowed to take a diaper bag, three (3) diapers, and plastic baby bottles into the visiting room. (Milk is not always available at the facility. It is a good idea to bring your own). All articles must be searched beforehand. A suitable area within the perimeter of the visiting room is provided for the changing of diapers.
The introduction of contraband to the facility is ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED. Contraband is defined as:
If you are caught with weapons, drugs, passing drugs, or if there is reasonable suspicion that you are involved with drugs, your visits can be suspended forever, and criminal charges can be filed against you. If this happens, your loved one may have outside criminal charges pressed against them which could lead to a new sentence and more prison time. In a correctional facility, promoting prison contraband is a felony offense. Such a situation could result in your being arrested in a town far from home, your children (if they are with you) being taken by Child Protective Services, prison time, and other serious disruptions to your life.
Normal Search Procedures: Except at correctional camps, every person entering a facility shall pass through a metal detector and all items (handbags, briefcases, etc.) shall be searched. A hand frisker may be used if there is difficulty clearing a visitor using the walk-through metal detector.
Visitors may be subject to ion scanning or other non-intrusive test for detection of drugs and explosives. A substance detection/ion scanner test is a search using a handheld collection unit to take surface samples from the person’s hands, clothing, personal items, purses/handbags, packages or any other articles. A positive test result may occur when a person has come into contact with drugs or explosives (knowingly or unknowingly), whether the person has used that substance or not. If the test is positive, a second test of the same area is done. A confirmed positive test or test refusal will result in the denial of entry into any correctional facility for 2 consecutive days.
You will have to pass through a metal detector. Clothing containing metal (e.g. decorative buckles, buttons or studs) or wire, including, but not limited to underwire bras, may cause the metal detector to alert and require further processing. If you wear clothing containing metal, you may have to go through a limited visual search, personal item search, or strip search before entry into the facility will be permitted. If you choose not to go through the additional search, your visit will be denied. Your decision to decline to be searched will not affect future visits. Special processing arrangements can be made for visitors who are the recipient of a pacemaker or defibrillator and wish not to pass through the walk through metal detector.
If a metal detector alerts and the visitor cannot reveal or remove the detected object due to its personal nature, staff may pursue several search options. If you do not want to be searched, you will be allowed to leave. Deciding to leave instead of being searched will not hurt your ability to visit in the future.
A limited visual search is a search done in a private area where an officer or staff member of the same sex will visually inspect the area in question. The visitor will lift any clothing or under garments necessary, to show the staff that no contraband is hidden on the visitor’s person in the area in question. If a staff member of the same sex is not available, a personal item search is used instead.
A search of personal items may be conducted as an alternative to a limited visual search or when a staff member of the same sex is not available. The visitor is allowed to enter a private area or room to remove items of a personal nature including braces, underwire bras, etc., and given a paper bag in which to place the personal items. The visitor is also allowed to wear a large white shirt as an outer covering during reprocessing procedures. The visitor will be reprocessed via a hand scanner or walk-through metal detector. The bag and its contents shall be discreetly inspected for contraband.
If a visitor to a correctional facility has complied with all of the search processes and a supervisor determines that further processing is warranted, the superintendent or the officer of the day may authorize a consensual strip search after reviewing the matter.
A visitor is not routinely required to remove religious headwear during search procedures. However, if staff determines, following the use of the hand scanner, that removal of the headwear or any other item of religious apparel is necessary, the item shall be removed in a private area in the presence of a security or civilian staff member of the same sex. If there is no staff member of the same sex on duty, and the visitor still refuses or cannot remove the item due to its religious significance in the visitor processing area, the visit will be denied
If you submit to a strip search, a security supervisor must obtain your written consent on Form #2061 - Notice of Consent to Search. In the case of a minor child, the consent must be given by a parent, guardian, or a person in an official capacity regarding the minor.
Strip searches shall be conducted in locations heated to a level of human comfort for disrobed persons.
Strip searches shall be conducted by an officer of the same sex as you. In unusual circumstances, you may be told that your child has to be strip-searched. In this case, the parent, guardian, or person in an official capacity who has escorted the minor to the facility shall be requested to be present, and, at the discretion of the officer, may participate in the strip search. If at any time during the procedure the minor objects to the strip search, the procedure shall be terminated immediately.
It may take time for the person to come to where you are to do the search. If you pass the search, you will be allowed to visit. If you do not pass the search, your visit will be denied, future visits can be denied, and the State Police may be called to arrest you if illegal contraband is found. There may be other negative consequences.
Cellular phones, pagers, personal digital assistants, cameras, recording devices, two way radios, laptop computers, or other similar electronic devices are prohibited from entering correctional facilities.
Due to the fact that smoking is not allowed inside our correctional facilities, tobacco products (including matches) for personal use are not allowed inside a facility.
All medications must be declared and given to the processing officer. They shall be identified and stored in a secure area. If the visitor needs the medication during the visiting period, it may be obtained as directed by security staff.
Visitors should wear clothing that enhances a family atmosphere. Please wear: complete attire with appropriate undergarments; comfortable footwear (bare feet are not allowed) and weather appropriate attire when necessary. Inappropriate clothing will result in you being denied entry into the facility. Make sure you understand the dress code for visitors. It helps to have a change of clothes with you if you are not sure.
If in doubt, you should not wear a questionable item of clothing. Under no circumstances will a visitor be allowed into the facility dressed inappropriately.
Visitors who appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs will not be admitted inside a correctional facility.
Funds for deposit to an offender’s account may be left before a visit, or they may be sent through the mail by check or money order. Money left at the visiting desk is limited to $50.00 per offender per day. Checks or money orders must be made payable to the name under which the offender is committed. It is also recommended that the offender’s department identification number (DIN) be included on the check / money order. It is best to keep your receipts for your records.
Cross visiting is the participation of two offenders in a visit with one or more visitors. Cross visiting is permitted with the approval of the Superintendent, and, in the cases of immediate family members, is to be encouraged. Offenders wishing to cross visit must submit requests to their respective Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator at least one month prior to the proposed visit.
Objectionable behavior may result in termination of a visit. Such behavior may include, but is not limited to: loud, abusive, or boisterous actions, disruptive or argumentative behavior, unacceptable physical contact or conduct. While visiting, use good judgment and discretion in dress and behavior so as not to offend others in the visiting room. You may be tempted to try to have more physical contact than what is allowed. This is upsetting to other visitors who have children with them, and can cause your relative or friend to be issued a misbehavior report, as well as your visiting privileges suspended.
Each general confinement facility schedules "Special Events Programs" designed to celebrate cultural, religious, and ethnic affiliations. They also recognize individual and group achievements, and strengthen community and family ties. Under most circumstances, an offender’s guest will only be allowed to participate if he or she has visited the offender at least twice in a New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision facility during the current incarceration. An exception may be made for an offender’s legal child, less than 18 years of age, who has not previously visited, provided that the child is accompanied by an adult visitor who has met the previous visiting requirement.
Visitor sanctions apply at all DOCCS correctional facilities and for all incarcerated offenders visited. If a visit is terminated, visiting privileges may be suspended for up to one week until the superintendent makes a decision reinstating, limiting, suspending, or indefinitely suspending the visitor’s visiting privileges.
Many categories of serious visitor misconduct now include as the maximum penalty imposition of an "Indefinite Suspension" of visiting privileges. An indefinite suspension of visiting privileges has no predetermined end date, but instead the visitor may request that the superintendent of the facility housing the offender to be visited review the matter on an annual basis for possible restoration of visiting privileges.
An offender found guilty of misconduct before, during or after the visitation process, may have his or her visiting privileges suspended. Certain types of misconduct, such as smuggling contraband, or sexual misconduct when other visitors are in the area, can result in a loss of visits with all visitors.
An offender found guilty of drug related charges under any circumstances, can lose visiting privileges with all visitors for 6 months for a first offense or 1 year for a second or subsequent offense.
Director, Office of Diversity Management
New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision
The Harriman State Campus - Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12226-2050