Harris County Inmate Visitation Rules in a Nutshell
It’s not a secret that the Harris County Jail inmate visitation rules are the most restrictive ones in the whole state of Texas. The Houston Chronicle published a story about its dissatisfying visitation conditions, speaking about prisoners being separated from the visitors by a plexiglass panel during all visits, but without any phone handsets.
Such circumstances complicate the communication, but meeting a prisoner is the only way to make sure they are doing well, apart from writing.
If one of your family members or friends is located in Harris County Jail, this article will help you learn how to organize the visits with no fuss.
Who Can Visit Harris County Jail Prisoners?
To arrange visits with an inmate, you need to be on their approved inmate visitation list. Once they arrive at the correctional facility, prisoners make a list of persons who can visit them. These can be spouses, friends, family members, but later, they can add pen pals with whom they come in contact via Write a Prisoner or similar websites to this list.
Children can also visit inmates provided they are accompanied by an individual who is older than 17. The maximum number of persons per visit is four—two children and two adults.
Some people might not be allowed to pay visits to inmates, including:
- Inmate’s victims
- Prison escapees
- Persons on probation
- Persons who have an active warrant for their arrest
- Individuals who filed a protective order against the inmate
Do I Need Any Documents for Visiting an Inmate in Harris County Jail?
The jail authorities require a valid identification document unless you are a minor. In that case, only the adult accompanying the minor needs to show their ID.
Your identification document needs to have a photograph. If you don’t have an ID with you at the given moment, you can use:
- Valid passport
- Driver’s license
- Resident alien card
- U.S. military identification
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inmate Identification Card
- Valid entry or work visa along with the passport if you are a foreigner
Credit cards, birth certificates, or any false, expired, or photocopied identification documents aren’t acceptable.
What Types of Visits Does Harris County Jail Offer?
This jail offers two options to inmates’ friends and family:
- Visits within the jail visitation area
- Video visitation
Note that all your live conversations and video calls are monitored and subject to thorough checks. In case any rules are violated during the visit, the jail authorities have the right to terminate it or ban you from visiting the inmate in the future.
How Do Live Visits Work?
Unlike numerous other jails, Harris County Jail doesn’t require a specific application process before seeing a prisoner. It’s enough to show up at the facility at the scheduled visitation time.
Live visits in Harris County Jail usually last for 20 minutes, and you can feel free to visit the inmate on as many days as you want, provided you align with the scheduled visitation hours.
Once you come to the facility and provide the jail officials with your ID, they perform a quick background check to make sure there are no warrants or other issues related to you. You must put all your belongings in a locker before you enter the visitation area.
Note that the officials can turn you away if you aren’t dressed appropriately. This means that revealing clothes are prohibited, so make sure you have long-sleeved and long-legged clothes on.
Bringing snacks, drinks, or any objects to the inmate is prohibited. Anything you would like them to have can be sent only by mail and mostly in the form of inmate care packages.
How Does the Video Visitation Work?
This type of visit isn’t available in all facilities, but only in the Joint Processing Center. You can choose between two available options:
- Off-site visitation ($5.99)—you receive a video call while you are at home, without coming to the facility
- On-site visitation (free)—you come to the facility at the scheduled time and attend a virtual meeting with an inmate from the designated video visitation area
Harris County Jail collaborates with Securus, one of the most prominent inmate communication providers. To schedule a video visit, you have to create an account on the official Securus website and add funds to it. Once you do that, follow these steps to arrange a virtual meeting:
- Go to the Securus Video Visitation section
- Click the Account Status button to activate your account
- Select Request Access
- Choose Texas as the state and Harris County jail as the desired facility and click on Add Site
- Read Terms & Conditions and click Accept
- Refresh the system by logging in to your profile again
- Select New Appointment
- Enter the necessary details and choose one of the available slots
- Proceed to payment and confirm the appointment
The video call duration is the same as the regular visit duration. If you experience any technical issues, you can contact the support center by dialing 1-800-844-6591 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
What Are the HCSO Inmate Visitation Hours?
The table below shows the live visitation hours in the Harris County Jail:
Video visitation has a slightly different schedule:
|Day||Off-Site Visitation Hours||On-Site Visitation Hours|
|Monday||4:00–9.00 p.m.||No video visits|
|Tuesday||4:00–9.00 p.m.||4:00–9.00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||4:00–9.00 p.m.||4:00–9.00 p.m.|
|Thursday||4:00–9.00 p.m.||No video visits|
|Friday||4:00–9.00 p.m.||No video visits|
|Saturday||8.00 a.m.–9.00 p.m.||4:00–9.00 p.m.|
|Sunday||8.00 a.m.–9.00 p.m.||4:00–9.00 p.m.|
Use DoNotPay’s Searching Tool To Locate a Prisoner
To visit an inmate or to write (and address a letter correctly) to them, you have to know their precise location. If you know some details, such as the facility, but not the unit, DoNotPay can help you with our prisoner locator.
All you need to do is open DoNotPay and follow these steps:
- Find the Connect With an Inmate feature and choose Locate Someone
- Type the name of the inmate and the state where they are
Our search tool will comb through all accessible inmate databases and provide you with the precise location of your incarcerated friend.
Unable To See a Prisoner? Send Them a Special Letter via DoNotPay
Visitation hours might not be enough for you to express everything you need. This is why DoNotPay enables you to write a personalized digital letter to an inmate. With our app, you don’t have a 20-minute limit, so there is time to say everything you want.
Here are the steps you need to follow to send a letter with DoNotPay:
- Log in to DoNotPay using any web browser
- Find the Connect With an Inmate option and choose Send a Personalized Letter
- Provide the chatbot with necessary information about the inmate
- Compose your message
- Use one of our templates and attach photos if you like
- Submit the letter
You can create a virtual mailbox where you will receive replies from the inmate by selecting Allow Replies or click on Don’t Allow Replies if you don’t want to receive them. The inmate can reply in the following way:
- They compose a physical letter and address it to DoNotPay
- We turn it into a digital message and forward it to you
To check if you received an answer, open the Virtual Mailbox section once you click on the Connect With an Inmate.
Get Handy Advice From DoNotPay
DoNotPay offers practical advice on how to make life easier for a person behind bars.
Learn more about communicating with inmates via services like GTL or ICSolutions, or about the general inmate mail rules and regulations all around the USA. If you decided to tie the knot while your partner is in prison, check out our advice on how to marry an inmate in a county jail and organize a prison marriage ceremony. All these tips and much more await you on our platform, accessible from your web browser at any time.
Our app also gives you a hand with:
- Getting in touch with your incarcerated loved ones
- Freeing yourself from spam mail forever
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