Visitation plays an important role in maintaining the association between offenders and their families and friends. However, offenders are not assigned to specific TDCJ units solely for the convenience of visitation. Copies of the I-218, Offender Rules and Regulations for Visitation Booklet are to be prominently displayed in areas accessible to visitors.
Visitation Hours: Visits are normally conducted on Saturdays and Sundays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The names of all visitors, 18 years old and older (except the offender’s attorney), must be on the approved Visitors List, which is limited to 10 individuals.
Visits Requiring Advance Scheduling: Visits may occur on agency-closed holidays (except Christmas Day) that fall on Mondays or Fridays, if scheduled in advance. Arrangements to schedule these visits may not be made on any state holiday. All arrangements to schedule visits must be made through the Warden’s office between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at least one day, but not more than seven days, prior to the visit. Visitors arriving late, that is more than 15 minutes past the beginning scheduled visit time, may not be allowed to visit during any of the scheduled time. Unit administration shall make every effort to accommodate late arrivals, if time and space is available
Number of Visitors: All offenders, except those who are being processed through intake, in solitary confinement, G5, lockdown status or administrative segregation, are allowed one visit every weekend, normally two adults for two hours. Children under the age of 18 are not counted in this number, and must be accompanied by an approved adult visitor (18 years or older). The number of children allowed per visit will be based on the amount of space available for visitation and on the visitor’s ability to manage and control the children. Additional adult visitors may be allowed at the warden’s discretion if special circumstances arise and space permits.
Visitor Identification: For visitors 18 years of age and older, a pictured government identification (ID) of one of the following is required: 1) valid state driver’s license; 2) valid state Department of Public Safety (DPS) ID card; 3) valid Armed Forces ID card; 4) passport; or 5) ID card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such as, Visa Border Crossing ID Card (USA B1/B2 Visa BCC). If an identification document other than a passport is used, the identification document must contain a current physical address.
If the visitor’s ID is questionable or not acceptable, further verification shall be required such as, birth certificate, pictured credit card or other official ID. Children ages 17 years and younger may be required to provide an ID such as, birth certificate, DPS ID or student ID, if the child’s age is questionable due to the physical maturity of the child. Valid student ID shall be used only for children ages 17 years and younger.
Contact Visits: Limited physical contact between eligible offenders and their visitors may be allowed if the visitors are immediate family: spouse (ceremonial, proxy or common-law); natural, adopted mother and stepmother; natural, adopted father and stepfather; natural, adopted children, stepchildren, grandchildren and step-grandchildren; natural adopted siblings and stepsiblings; natural, adopted grandparents and step-grandparents; aunt; uncle; nieces and nephews; and persons related by marriage (in-laws).
With prior approval from unit administration, non-immediate family members may be allowed contact visits if immediate family members are unable to visit the offender. Due to the nature of the offender’s offense, some offenders cannot have contact visits with children. In addition, these same offenders will not be allowed a regular visit with children unless the offender is the legally recognized parent of that child and the child is not the victim of the offense.
Search of Visitors and Vehicles: All vehicles and visitors are subject to search upon entering TDCJ property. Visitors shall be pat searched and scanned with a metal detector prior to entering the visitation area. Small children and infants shall be removed from carriers or strollers. The parent, guardian or accompanying adult shall carry the child through the walk-through metal detector. Under no circumstances shall children and infants be separated from their parent, guardian or accompanying adult. Any visitor refusing the search procedure shall be required to leave TDCJ property. Cash (except coins), alcoholic beverages, tobacco, cell phones, cameras, drugs, firearms, escape implements or dangerous weapons are strictly prohibited by statute and TDCJ rules and policies.
Dress Code: Visitors must follow the dress code. Shirts and shoes must be worn. Shirts and blouses of fishnet, transparent material are not allowed. Sleeveless shirts and dresses are allowed, but must cover the shoulders. Shorts and skirts no shorter than three inches above the middle of the knee while standing, capri pants, and long pants are allowed.
Exceptions for pre-adolescent boys and girls may be made. If a dress, pants, skirt or any attire appears to be inappropriate, the duty warden shall be contacted for a decision.
Hats may be worn, but shall be searched. Visitors are not permitted to wear all white. Clothing marked by words or pictures considered profane or offensive by current public standards will not be allowed.
Carry-in Items: Visitors may bring only specific items into the unit. These items include a small wallet or change purse containing no more than $25.00 in coins. Visitors may only purchase items from vending machines in the visitation area to be consumed by offenders during the visit. Visitors with infants or small children may bring no more than three diapers, a supply of baby wipes and two baby bottles (“sippy” cups for toddlers). These items shall be stored in a clear plastic bag. Visitors are not permitted to bring items of any kind to offenders.
Tobacco Policy: TDCJ units are tobacco free. Visitors are not permitted to bring cigarettes, cigarette lighters, matches or any tobacco products into TDCJ units. Visits must be orderly to assure that visitors and offenders are not disturbed. Visitors who cannot control their children will be escorted out of the unit. Children shall not be left unattended.
Ex-offenders, unless immediate family, will not be allowed to visit for a period of 24 months following their release date.
Visitors are not allowed to switch from visiting one offender to another. Visitors are prohibited from loitering, walking the perimeter road or taking photographs. Radios played at a high volume and shouting at offenders will not be allowed.
Visits may be cancelled and future visits may be denied for security reasons or because of improper conduct by the visitor or the offender.
Visits requiring special accommodations must be approved by the warden prior to the visit. Special accommodations or special needs consist of, but are not limited to:
Requests for more than two adults to visit; Special needs adults requiring additional oversight; Elderly individuals needing additional oversight; and Extended visits (more than two hours).
Do not bring anything to the visiting room to give to the offender. Offenders are not permitted to take anything from the visiting area or receive any item from visitors. Ensure that you have NO paper money on you. A maximum of $25 in coins is allowed.
TDCJ APPROVED VENDER
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(TEXAS) 3G OFFENSES:
There has been no change in the law affecting 3g offenders. 3g offenders still must serve one-half of their sentence before they are eligible for parole. Should you hear a rumor otherwise indicating there has been a reduction in the one-half rule, know it is FALSE. In fact when the Legislature meets, they keep adding new crimes requiring inmates to serve a minimum of one-half of their sentence. In fact, the Legislature is now creating crimes where NO parole will be available and inmates will have to serve every day of their sentence.
Each unit has a Family Liaison Officer, available during visitation hours, who answers questions and concerns of families and friends of offenders. The process above is recommended initially as the easiest and quickest way to obtain resolution for most issues. If no resolution can be reached through interaction with the unit, individuals may then contact a TDCJ Ombudsman. e TDCJ Ombudsman Program ensures that TDCJ is responsive to the public, elected officials and other state agencies; helps offenders’ families understand TDCJ policies and procedures; and attempts facilitating conflict resolution between TDCJ and the public. Ombudsmen gather information from many sources within TDCJ to provide clear, correct responses. TDCJ Ombudsmen are the contact points for members of the general public. These offices do not answer questions from incarcerated offenders. Such requests are coordinated through the offender grievance system.
HOW TO CONTACT A TDCJ OMBUDSMAN (Please submit inquiries in writing)
For expediency, it is best to attempt to resolve issues and obtain information at the unit or parole office level. However, if this is not possible, contact one of the following: TDCJ Ombudsman’s Office General issues concerning the agency’s operation and policy and procedures, issues from the public relating to secure units (prison units, state jails and substance abuse felony punishment facilities), and any specific concerns regarding offenders confined in these types of facilities.
P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099 936-437-4927 phone 936-437-4930 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
**Bilingual Staff Available – Se habla Espanol**
General offender status information may be obtained at: www.tdcj.texas.gov
Agency Toll-Free Telephone Number:
When the time for release from prison draws near, the offender who is eligible for parole, is interviewed by the institutional parole officer to determine residence and employment plans. Offenders with special medical or mental health needs receive information from a field services representative about medication and other relevant aftercare plans.
Most offenders are released from regional release sites, releasing them closer to their county of conviction, residence or approved release county.
Regional release sites are located at the Clements Unit (Amarillo), Crain Unit (Gatesville), Huntsville Unit (Huntsville), Hutchins State Jail (Dallas), McConnell Unit (Beeville), and Robertson Unit (Abilene). All male offenders with a detainer, classified as sex offenders, have special conditions of Super Intensive Supervision Program (SISP) or Electronic Monitoring imposed by the Board of Pardons and Paroles are released from the Huntsville Unit. Female offenders are released from Gatesville.
Releases from all facilities occur between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Note, scheduled releases may be subject to change.
Each offender is given a set of civilian clothing and a bus voucher (if traveling by bus), in addition to the remaining balance in the individual’s trust fund account. Offenders released to parole or mandatory supervision receive a $50.00 gate check and will receive another $50.00 check upon reporting to their parole officer. Prison offenders that complete their sentence in the Correctional Institutions Division (flat discharge) receive a $100.00 gate check when released. If the offender has money in his trust fund, then he will also receive a check for that amount during the release process, as long as the sum does not exceed $500.00. If the sum is larger than $500.00, a check will be mailed to the offender's release address. Money on the offender's phone account cannot be accessed until the offender has been out 90 days and must be acquired from Securus.
State jail offenders are released from the unit of assignment, or given a bus voucher (if traveling by bus) to the county of residence. State Jail offenders do not receive money upon release.
PAROLE: The Parole Division supervises offenders released from prison who are serving the remainder of their sentences in Texas communities. The division also performs some pre-release functions by tracking parole eligible cases and submitting them for timely consideration to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The Parole Division does not make release decisions, nor does it decide whose parole should be revoked or what special conditions should be placed on parolees. Authority for those decisions rests with the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), but the division works closely with the BPP and provides board members with the documentation needed to make informed decisions. When the time for release from prison draws near, the district parole officer investigates the proposed residential release plan and upon plan approval, a release certificate is issued and the offender is schedule for release. Offenders with special medical or mental health needs receive information from a field services representative about medication and other relevant aftercare plans.
Offenders supervised by the Parole Division, due to board imposed conditions/sanctions or lack of residential release plans, may be temporarily housed in privately operated secure facilities. The following contracted facilities are utilized by the division to provide secure and responsible supervision of offenders: Intermediate Sanction Facilities (ISF), Residential Reentry Centers (RRC), Substance Abuse residential treatment facilities, and the County Jail Work Release Program.
In addition to the contracted facilities, the Parole Division also utilizes Temporary Housing Assistance Program (THAP) providers, which are private facilities that have applied and been approved to house offenders. These facilities can only exist in counties that do not have a state contracted RRC, and eligible offenders can only be placed in THAP locations within their own Legal County of Residence.
Keeping Families Connected is a non-profit organization located in the DFW metroplex. We provide free visit transportation.
Please visit our website for more information.
TDCJ POLICY CHANGE FOR CERTIAN SEXUAL OFFENSES:
There has been a new prison policy change for offenders who were convicted of one of the sex convictions which do not afford parole such as: Continuing Sexual Assault of a Child and Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. These crimes have flat-time sentences of 25-years or more with no parole allowed. Previously an inmate convicted of one of these offenses could reach the rank of G-2, but no more. The highest rank is now G-3. This greatly affects these offenders because this limits them on educational courses, employment, and living conditions in prison. Once an offender is within 5- years of his/her release date without any problems, the inmate can be moved up to a G-2 security level.
NOTE: WE ARE NOT ATTORNEYS. THE SERVICES WE PROVIDE SHOULD NEITHER BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE NOR A LEGAL SERVICE. IF YOU HAVE LEGAL QUESTIONS WE HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU CONTACT A LICENSED ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE.