I have never visited an inmate before. Can you give me some tips to ensure a successful visitation?
At JailData, we probably get more questions about visitation than any other topic. Our best advice is to go to our page for the prison or jail and look up specific visiting information, because every detention facility has its own rules and regulations for visitation. Ensure that you are an approved visitor prior to scheduling a visit, arrive prior to the beginning of the visitation period, comply with the dress code, and follow all rules and regulations during your visit because failure to do so can not only result in a visit ending early, but also impact whether you will be allowed future visits.

My child’s parent is incarcerated. Should I take the child to visit?
Without knowing the specifics of why someone was incarcerated and the parent-child relationship prior to incarceration, we cannot provide individual answers to that question. We do know that experts suggest that regular visitation can ensure the development of strong parent-child relationships, even when the parent is incarcerated.

How do I put money in an inmate’s commissary account?
While this varies by prison system, our detailed prison-specific pages give information and, where applicable, provide links to services you can use to put money in an inmate’s commissary account.

Can I send gifts to an inmate?
The answer to this question is probably, but you will have to use an approved vendor who will directly send the gift to the inmate.

Do inmates have access to email and telephones?
The answer to this question depends on two things: where the inmate is incarcerated and the inmate’s status at that institution. Most facilities allow inmates some phone calls and many facilities are adopting the use of email for inmates, but these are considered privileges that an inmate can lose.

I am terrified about my loved one going to prison. Is it as bad as I have seen in movies or on TV?
While we would love to tell you otherwise, the answer to that question is maybe. Some prisons have well-deserved bad reputations, while other prisons try hard to treat inmates with as much dignity and respect as possible. Our prison-specific pages provide more specific information about the actual living conditions at each prison.

How many people are in prison or jail in the United States?
The U.S. has the highest percentage of incarcerated people of all of the Western first-world countries. Almost 1% of all adult Americans are incarcerated at any specific time.

What is the difference between jail and prison?
Generally, prisons are state or federal facilities where inmates are sent to serve sentences for felonies with sentences greater than one year. Jails are local facilities where defendants are held prior to trial, between conviction and sentencing, or where they serve sentences for misdemeanors or felonies with a sentence of less than a year.

What is administrative segregation?
Prisoners who repeatedly prison rules or who engage in violent or threatening behavior may be placed in “ad seg” or administrative segregation. This means that the prisoners are removed from the general population, placed in small cells where they are confined the majority of the day, and have their interaction with other prisoners and guards severely limited. Depending on individual prison rules, while in ad seg, prisoners may not be able to place phone calls or have visitors.