The DOC encourages and supports visiting opportunities to offenders and their approved visitors. The following guidelines help ensure a safe and secure visiting environment while promoting a family atmosphere.
Prohibited items and controlled substances
Wisconsin Statutes s. 302.095 (2) – Delivering Articles to Inmate prohibits delivery of any article to an inmate of a State Correctional Institution or depositing or concealing an article within the State Correctional Institution or its boundaries or receiving an article to convey out of the institution that is contrary to the rules and regulations and without the knowledge or permission of the Warden. Any person found in violation of this law is subject to imprisonment not to exceed 3 ½ years, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
The DOC is committed to maintaining drug-free institutions and will actively investigate and prosecute any individuals bringing drugs into a prison.
Obtaining permission to visit an inmate
Anyone wishing to visit an inmate must be listed on the inmate’s visitors list. It is the inmate’s responsibility to request permission for additions to their visitors list.
All prospective visitors, including children, must complete (or have someone complete for them) the Visitor Questionnaire (DOC-21AA), which is an application for approval to visit. It is the inmate’s responsibility to obtain and mail the visitor’s questionnaire to a prospective visitor. The proposed visitor will then need to return the form to the institution for approval to be added to the inmate’s visitor list. Inmates will be notified when a visitor has been added to their visiting list. Visitors may be denied approval for visitation on a number of grounds, specified in administrative code. If denied, a visitor must wait 6 months to re-apply for approval.
Any child or minor, that is, any person under the age of 18, must have the written consent of the legal, non-incarcerated parent or guardian prior to visiting. This consent is contained on the visitor questionnaire. Unless a minor visitor is the legal spouse of the inmate, any visitor not yet 18 shall be accompanied by an adult who is on the approved visitors list.
Number of visitors allowed
Assessment and evaluation (A&E) unit (intake)
The intake units at Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI), Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) and Taycheedah Correctional Institution (TCI) are known as or have A&E (Assessment and Evaluation). Several visiting rules are different for inmates who are still in A&E status. Inmates in an A&E status are permitted up to four adult, close family member visitors. Close family member for this purpose is an inmate’s natural, adoptive, step, foster parents, spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren or siblings. If the spouse’s last name is different than the inmate’s, the spouse must send a copy of the marriage license to verify the relationship.
Inmates in A&E status may be permitted to have their own children visit. Inmate’s children under the age of 18 shall not be counted against the four visitor limit. However, inmates in an A&E status, with sexually related offenses, will not be permitted to have visitors under the age of 18.
Inmates who have transferred out of A&E status
Once inmates have left DCI, MSDF or TCI, or have transferred out of A&E status and into DCI, MSDF or TCI General Population, they are allowed to have 12 adults on their visitors list. Children of the inmate and minor children of approved visitors may also visit, and shall not be counted against the limit of 12 visitors.
Upon reaching the age of 18, a child formerly designated as a minor shall be counted as one of the 12 approved visitors. If there are already 12 visitors on the list, the inmate will be required to remove one in order to accommodate this addition. It is the inmate’s responsibility to submit a request in writing when they wish to remove a visitor.
With the approval of an institution’s Warden or Superintendent, an inmate may have more than 12 visitors on the visiting list if all visitors are close family members. “Close family member” means the inmate’s natural, adoptive, step and foster parents, spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings.
General visiting information
In addition to department-wide policies and procedures, each institution has its own specific visiting rules and procedures on each of their individual web pages on this site. Scheduled visiting hours and number of visits allowed per week vary between institutions. Also the number of visitors on any given (single) visit can vary between institutions, due to variations in available space. It is always advisable to contact the respective institution, prior to anticipated visitation, when being newly added to an inmates visiting list, when having an anticipated special or extended visit, etc.
Arrival and parking
Visitors should not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to visiting hours. No loitering is permitted in the parking lot area. No one is allowed to remain on state property waiting for other persons who are visiting, including waiting in the parking lot or in vehicles, nor are any persons or animals permitted to be left unattended in vehicles.
Vehicles must be secured (windows rolled up, doors locked). If your vehicle is found unsecured, your visit may be terminated.
Handicap parking spaces are provided for visitors who have a physical disability. Vehicles using the handicap parking spaces must have license plates or state-approved display cards that authorize handicap parking.
Verbal communication, waving, sounding of horns or blinking headlights to signal inmates is strictly prohibited.
Disabled or stalled vehicles must be reported to the Lobby Sergeant immediately. Any vehicle left on state property for more than 24 hours may be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense.
Upon arrival at the lobby, visitors may be required to complete a Request to Visit Offender Form (DOC-176).
Visitors age 16 or older must provide photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification are:
- Valid State Driver’s License
- Valid Passport or Visa
- Valid Department of Transportation Picture I.D. (motor vehicle department)
- Valid Military identification card
- Valid tribal I.D. (if it provides photo)
Only visitors on the approved visiting list will be permitted to visit. Visitors will not be permitted to stay in the lobby unless waiting to enter the institution. Anyone denied visitation must leave state property immediately, including parking lots; waiting in vehicles is not allowed.
Lockers are provided at no cost for items not allowed in the visiting room. Visitors’ hands may be stamped and checked by Security staff when entering and leaving those areas.
Metal detection procedures
Visitors will be denied entry to the visiting room if they are unable to successfully pass metal detection inspection after three attempts. In order to expedite the entrance process, visitors should avoid wearing clothing with metal attached, such as buckles, snaps, excess jewelry, bib overalls, wire in undergarments, etc.
Visitors who have a disability or medical condition requiring an accommodation in order to clear lobby or metal detector procedures will need to have their physician complete a Visitor Requesting Accommodations form (DOC-2424). A visitor may request this form when they complete the Visitors Questionnaire (DOC-21AA) by checking the appropriate box. The prospective visitor must then send the Visitor Requesting Accommodations form to a physician who can verify the need for an accommodation. The physician must complete, sign and return the form to the facility Security Director/Designee. The accommodation request form must be completed and approved prior to visitation. Any visitor who utilizes a wheelchair on a visit must use an institution approved wheelchair. This may be a personal wheelchair or one provided by the institution, as determined by the institution. Personal wheelchairs may be searched.
Each institution has a visiting area. Some institutions have both inside and outside visiting areas which may be used during appropriate times of the year. During outside visiting, neither inmates nor visitors will be allowed to sit on the ground.
No contact visits
Inmates in segregation and/or under no contact visiting restrictions may have additional restrictions imposed which may include using audio visual equipment, limited hours, length of visits and limited number of visitors. Visitors may call ahead to determine if an inmate is on a no contact visiting restriction.
Video conferencing visits
Some institutions may provide video conferencing visiting based on their available resources. Please refer to visiting information for each institution.
Behavior while visiting
Visitors must conduct themselves in an appropriate and courteous manner and must follow all visiting rules of the DOC, as well as any specific rules of the institution in which the inmate is incarcerated. It is the inmate’s responsibility to provide visiting regulations to their visitors.
Visitors appearing to be under the influence of intoxicants will not be allowed to visit.
Whether visits are outside or inside, parents are responsible for the supervision of their children. Any child leaving the “visiting area” must be accompanied by an adult.
Excessive displays of affection are not permitted. Inmates may embrace and kiss visitors at the beginning and end of each visit. Inmates may hold their own children who are age 5 or under. An inmate’s hands must be visible at all times.
Inappropriate conduct by visitors/inmates (including children) may result in termination of the respective visit and/or suspension of visiting privileges dependent on the severity of the inappropriate conduct.
The following items are not allowed in any institution:
- Illegal drugs
- Tobacco and related products
- Matches and lighters
- Cell phones, pagers, or other electronic equipment
- Pets or other animals, except for those required as service animals for persons with disabilities
- Cameras/video recorders (An inmate photographer may be available if requested. There is a cost per photo, payable by the inmate)
- Food items (vending machines are available)
- Reading materials or other papers without prior approval
- Children’s books, games, and toys (such items are provided in the children’s play area of each institution)
- At most institutions, visitors may not bring in any items for an inmate
All items brought in are subject to inspection. Check with the facility regarding allowable medications. The list of allowed items is limited to the following:
- Coins and/or bills, not to exceed $20 for each visitor.
- Comb, pick or brush, limited to one for each visitor.
- Up to two baby blankets for each child.
- Up to four diapers for each child. Diaper bags are not allowed.
- Up to two plastic baby bottles for each child.
- One hand-held baby seat for each child.
- Diaper wipes. Must be kept in a clear plastic bag.
- One pacifier for each child.
- One coat and one pair of gloves for each visitor.
- Headwear (provided it does not conceal identity).
- One institution locker key.
Visiting areas are designed to cultivate a “family” atmosphere for family and friends of all ages. Visitors should dress and act accordingly. Footwear and acceptable attire must be worn at all times. The following apparel is considered inappropriate and will result in denial of visits.
These restrictions apply equally to men, women and children.
- Transparent/translucent clothing.
- Shorts that are shorter than fingertip length with the visitor standing with proper posture, arms straight down, fingers extended.
- Skirts and dresses shorter than fingertip length plus three inches with the visitor standing with proper posture, arms straight down, fingers extended.
- Tops and dresses that are strapless, tube or halter style.
- Camisoles and tank tops are only permissible when worn under other attire.
- Tops and dresses that expose the midriff (front and/or back).
- Spandex or Spandex-like and Lycra or Lycra-like clothing. Tights or leggings of this material may be worn under attire of appropriate length as identified in this section.
- Exposed undergarments.
- Clothing with revealing holes, tears or slits.
- Clothing or accessories with obscene or profane writing, images or pictures.
- Gang-related clothing, headwear, shoes, logos or insignias.
- Any clothing that may have the potential to cause undue attention.
Internet “smart” technology and electronic recording equipment in any form is prohibited.