Frequent Questions

Inmate Visitation


Inmates may be allowed visits with approved visitors except where there is suspicion that such visitation would jeopardize the security, safety, or the disciplined operation of an institution. The decision of the warden is final regarding inmate visitation.

How can I arrange to visit someone in prison?

Inmates fill out an Application for Visit List for those people they want to visit them. Background checks are completed on any person wishing to visit an inmate. Normally, the attorney of record, immediate family members (spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, step-parents, step-children, step-brothers and sisters, half-brothers and sisters, mother-in-law and father-in-law, son-in-law and daughter-in-law and sister-in-law and brother-in-law) of the inmate will be placed on a visit list after the background check is complete. Visitors under the age of eighteen (18) must be accompanied by a custodial parent or guardian or an immediate family member who is over the age of 18.

In addition to the immediate family members listed above, inmates can add two (2) friends who are eighteen (18) years of age or older, an approved Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sponsor and an approved Man-To-Man (M-2) sponsor. Attorneys and clergy will be allowed to visit after presenting proper credentials and identification.

Visitors need two forms of identification the first time they visit an inmate. On subsequent visits, only one form of identification is needed.

Visit times vary by institution. Check the institution pages for a visit times schedule.

Who is not normally allowed to visit an inmate?

In addition to the people not listed on the inmate's approved visit list, the following are not allowed to visit an inmate unless approved by the Warden:

  • Victim's of the inmate's crime(s) who are under the age of eighteen (18) years old;
  • Inmates who are in custody at another South Dakota Department of Corrections institution;
  • Former inmates of the South Dakota Department of Corrections;
  • People with prior criminal records, on active parole, probation or other forms of conditional release.

Normally, a person convicted of a felony (including Suspended Imposition of Sentence) must be off of supervision for a minimum of three (3) years before he/she will be considered eligible to visit an inmate. A person convicted of a misdemeanor must wait a minimum of one (1) year after the person has completed any jail time, probation time or one (1) year after the person has completed the payment of any fine before they can visit an inmate.

Visits are restricted for inmates who have committed sex offenses. Inmates who are sex offenders and are non-compliant with their treatment may be restricted to Class II visits (see below).

Are there different types of visits?

There are two classes of visits. A Class I visit is a contact visit conducted in a designated visiting area. A Class II visit is a non-contact visit conducted in a glassed-off section of a designated visiting area. Visitors talk to the inmates via telephone.

All Class II visits must be scheduled in advance.

A private area is normally available for attorney or clergy visits.

Inmates at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield are taking part in a pilot program that allows them to have video visits with approved family members and friends through Skype. Computers complete with webcams, audio speakers and headphones are set up in Science Hall. A staff member monitors all of the video visits. Visits are limited to 15 minutes in length and are held on weekdays between 8:25 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. All video visits must be scheduled one week in advance. Inmates are limited to one video visit per calendar month. Segregation inmates are not eligible for the video visits.

Are conjugal visits allowed?

No. Conjugal visits are not allowed.

Are any special visits allowed?

Special visits can be requested on an infrequent basis for individuals who are not on an inmate's visit list. Inmates must arrange for a special visit through staff four (4) days prior to that person showing up for a visit.

Inmates are allowed a total of four special visits per year.

What if an inmate is hospitalized? Can I still visit them?

If the Deputy Warden or the Shift Commander approves, a hospitalized inmate's spouse, children, parents, siblings and grandparents can visit an inmate who is hospitalized.

Security staff may be assigned to the hospitalized inmate. They will assure the visit has been authorized.

What items can I bring to a visit?

Some of the common items allowed at a visit include legal materials, up to $6 cash for vending machines, bottles of baby formula, diapers, receiving blankets and snapshots (No photo albums, envelopes, photos with backing or pictures depicting nudity are allowed.)

You must bring proper identification (picture identification card or drivers license and one other form of ID) in order to visit an inmate.

Some of the common items not allowed at a visit include handbags, wallets, magazines, pagers, cameras, tobacco products, toys, photo albums, lighters, newspapers, medications and food stuffs.

Lockers are available to visitors to store their coats and valuables.

Are visitors searched prior to visiting with an inmate?

Yes. Visitors are subject to metal detectors and hand pat searches prior to entering, during or when leaving the visit area. Refusal to be searched may result in the termination of visiting privileges.

Are there rules on what I should wear when I visit an inmate?

Yes. Visitors must dress in an appropriate matter. Apparel such as hooded shirts, plain white T-shirts, halter tops (including midriff and tube tops), sleeveless, shoulder less, backless or low cut blouses, tops or dresses, mini-skirts, swimsuits, bandanas, hats, see-through or revealing clothing are not appropriate for visitors over the age of eleven (11). Visitors must wear footwear.

Failure to adhere to the dress code will result in a visit being denied.

What are the limits on visitor conduct?

Profane or loud, argumentative language, petting or other undesirable conduct will result in the termination of a visit. Children must also be closely supervised by the visitor.

A visitor may embrace the inmate at the beginning and at the conclusion of the visit. An inmate and their spouse/friend may kiss on the cheek, but not on the lips. The permissible contact between a visitor and an inmate during the remainder of a visit will be limited to holding hands above the table. Couples must sit side-by-side in their chairs facing the same direction.

Failure to adhere to the rules will result in a visit being terminated.