View Full Version : Does anyone know if you can appeal denied visitations?

03-22-2004, 06:48 PM
My boyfriend has been in Federal Prison Camp for 5 months already. I have been denied visitation because I am on probation for a DWI felony. I have nothing else on my record. We have been friends for 18 years and I am his main support. He was told initially it wasn't a problem and I even got permission from my probation officer but now they have changed their decision. I wouldn't have ever thought this type of conviction would be considered in denying my visitation. Short of marrying him by proxy, is there anyone I can appeal this decision to on a higher lever than the chief warden?

Thanks for anyone's input. I appreciate it. I am going nuts not being able to see him.


03-22-2004, 07:15 PM
Yes of course you want to appeal. Not sure who that would be in the federal system. I myself was denied visitation with my then fiance. They wanted me to go off my son's list then get on his and marry him. Not happening. I did win the appeal and the state of Missouri re-wrote the definintion of primary support person, significant other and explained in detail who qualifies.

Don't give up.

03-22-2004, 07:24 PM
That gives me some hope. I have some research to do. Thanks!

03-22-2004, 07:32 PM
Well more reassurance? My exhusband, my son's father is on probation for drug possession. Now he was told that he would be able to see his son as they are immediate family. However his PO had other ideas. I was willing to fight it for him but he didn't want to cause any waves. She wanted him to wait a year before visiting his son. We just submitted another visitation form and I don't believe we will have any problems with it being approved. If there should be a snag, I'll make some phone calls to the DOC. I don't take No for an answer when it comes to my children seeing their parents.

03-22-2004, 08:16 PM
Only inmates have rights to use the administrative remedy procedures.

03-22-2004, 09:44 PM
Since I'm not familiar with the federal prison system I have no idea how to go about these administrative remedy procedures. All I know is how to go about the appeal process in the state of Missouri. The information is not clearly stated and one almost has to learn it as they go unless they know someone that has been through it already. Perhaps there will be some good information available for the federal prison system on how to approach this.

Good luck to you.

03-23-2004, 06:44 AM
You cannot appeal it. You can write the Warden and explain your situation/point of view, but ultimately it is the Wardens call. On the other hand, your boyfriend can appeal the decision.

Here is the applicable BOP policy:

Sections from the Program Statement 5267.07

12. [QUALIFICATION AS A REGULAR VISITOR §540.44. An inmate desiring to have regular visitors must submit a list of proposed visitors to the designated staff. See §540.45 for qualification as special visitor. Staff are to compile a visiting list for each inmate after suitable investigation in accordance with
§540.51(b) of this part. The list may include:]

§540.51(b) refers to Section 18.b. of this Program Statement.

[a. Members of The Immediate Family. These persons include mother, father, step-parents, foster parents, brothers and sisters, spouse, and children. These individuals are placed on the visiting list, absent strong circumstances which preclude visiting.]

The word “spouse” includes a common-law relationship which has been previously established in a state that recognizes such a status. In states that do not, a common-law relationship is not considered “immediate family.” For determination of applicable state laws, the Regional Counsel should be consulted.

Failure to obtain acknowledgment of parent or legal guardian may preclude the addition of children to the visiting list. When deemed appropriate, background checks may also be completed on immediate family members. See Section 18.b. of this Program Statement.

[b. Other Relatives. These persons include grandparents, uncles, aunts, in-laws, and cousins. They may be placed on the approved list if the inmate wishes to have visits from them regularly and if there exists no reason to exclude them.

c. Friends and Associates. The visiting privilege ordinarily will be extended to friends and associates having an established relationship with the inmate prior to confinement, unless such visits could reasonably create a threat to the security and good order of the institution. Exceptions to the prior relationship rule may be made, particularly for inmates without other visitors, when it is shown that the proposed visitor is reliable and poses no threat to the security or good order of the institution.]

Regardless of the institution’s security level, the inmate must have known the proposed visitor(s) prior to incarceration. The Warden must approve any exception to this requirement.

See Section 18.b.(2) of this Program Statement regarding background investigations for proposed visitors.

Ordinarily, an inmate's visiting list should not list more than 10 friends and associates. The Warden may make an exception to this provision when warranted.

[d. Persons with Prior Criminal Convictions. The existence of a criminal conviction alone does not preclude visits. Staff shall give consideration to the nature, extent and recentness of convictions, as weighed against the security considerations of the institution. Specific approval of the Warden may be required before such visits take place.]

Ordinarily, staff should obtain written authorization from the appropriate federal or state probation/parole official prior to approving visitation privileges for an individual on probation, parole, or supervised release. A copy of this authorization will be maintained in section 2 of the Privacy Folder in the Inmate Central File.

See Section 18.b.(2) of this Program Statement regarding background investigations for proposed visitors.

[e. Children Under Sixteen. Children under the age of 16 may not visit unless accompanied by a responsible adult. Children shall be kept under supervision of a responsible adult or a children's program. Exceptions in unusual circumstances may be made by special approval of the Warden.]

The signature of a parent or guardian on the Visitor Information form (BP-629) is necessary to process a request for an applicant under 18 years of age. Ordinarily, completing the questionnaire portion of this form (items 1 through 14) is not required if such an applicant is a verified immediate family member of the requesting inmate.

The Warden, after consultation with Regional Counsel, may make exceptions to the requirement for acknowledgment by parent or guardian. ........

........ [(2) Staff may request background information from potential visitors who are not members of the inmate's immediate family, before placing them on the inmate's approved visiting list. When little or no information is available on the inmate's potential visitor, visiting may be denied, pending receipt and review of necessary information, including information which is available about the inmate and/or the inmate's offense, including alleged offenses.]

The Visitor Information form (BP-629) is used to request background information and obtain the visitor's consent to release information. This form will be filed in section 2 of the Privacy Folder in the Inmate Central File.

Regardless of the institution’s security level, staff should obtain background information on potential visitors who are not immediate family members. This is required in the Medium, High, and Administrative institutions due to their greater security needs. The Warden or designee may make an exception to this procedure when warranted.

Staff at Minimum and Low security level institutions are to use their discretion in obtaining background checks on proposed visitors.

Staff in institutions housing pretrial offenders are encouraged to complete a background check (NCIC) on potential visitors due to limited information received on these individuals. When deemed appropriate, background checks may also be completed on immediate family members.

If the background information reveals that visitation privileges for the individual would present security concerns or disrupt the orderly running of the institution, the Warden may deny visiting privileges. Documentation reflecting this decision should be maintained in section 2 of the Privacy Folder in the Inmate Central File.

Refer to the Program Statement on Pretrial Inmates for additional information on visiting procedures for Pretrial Inmates.

[(3) If a background investigation is necessary before approving a visitor, the inmate shall be held responsible for mailing a release authorization to the proposed visitor. That form must be signed and returned to staff by the proposed visitor prior to any further action regarding visiting. Upon receipt of the authorization form, staff may then forward a questionnaire, along with the release authorization, to the appropriate law enforcement or crime information agency.]

The inmate is to mail the BP-629 to his or her proposed visitor(s). The proposed visitor must complete this form and mail it directly to the unit staff member responsible for processing the inmate's visiting list. Staff should advise the inmate to provide his or her proposed visitor with the staff member’s name and address.

If necessary, staff will either send the Request for Conviction Information form (BP-311) to the appropriate law enforcement agency to gather additional background information or complete a background check using the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Visitor Information forms, Request for Conviction Information forms, and/or NCIC background information will be maintained in section 2 of the Privacy Folder of the Inmate Central File.

Ordinarily, when an inmate transfers from one institution to another, staff need not re-approve the visitors already contained on the inmate's visiting list. However, staff should review the visiting list to ensure the approved visitors are still appropriate.

[(4) Staff shall notify the inmate of each approval or disapproval of a requested person for the visiting list. Upon approval of each visitor, staff shall provide the inmate with a copy of the visiting guidelines and with directions for transportation to and from the institution. The inmate is responsible for notifying the visitor of the approval or disapproval to visit and is expected to provide the approved visitor with a copy of the visiting guidelines and directions for transportation to and from the institution. The visiting guidelines shall include specific directions for reaching the institution and shall cite 18 U.S.C. 1791, which provides a penalty of imprisonment for not more than twenty years, a fine, or both for providing or attempting to provide to an inmate anything whatsoever without the knowledge and consent of the Warden.]

Good luck-


03-23-2004, 12:31 PM
Wow, the federal policy is sure different from our state policy and procedures. Hope you get it all worked out.

03-23-2004, 03:08 PM
Thanks for your help

03-23-2004, 03:36 PM
Sounds like you may want to write a carefully thought out letter to the warden. My suggestion when conversing with anyone within the DOC is always


Remember they are only doing their jobs. Chances are that perhaps the warden doesn't even realize that the offense your probation is based on is a driving related one. And since you don't plan on driving around on the property (you weren't right? ha ha) then you can't be too much of a threat to the facility.

"proposed visitor is reliable and poses no threat to the security or good order of the institution"

Can you prove you have been a reliable citizen? I'm not sure what that includes. Perhaps holding steady employment, paying your bills, maybe even a letter from your parole officer stating that you make the scheduled appointments, etc.

Actually what's your relationship with your PO? Do you sense this is one of the good ones that really want to help? You said you have gotten permission for your PO already. Is it in writing? Would your PO be willing to write a letter stating that other than this one incident you have a clean record? Do you think that your PO might even go as far as to explain what the charge is against you that has you on probation and this particular infraction should not pose a threat to their security? What are the chances that your PO would even request that your visiting status be reconsidered?

You may want to ask your PO these things in the most sincere and appreciative manner possible. Good luck to you. Let us know how it turns out.

03-24-2004, 08:07 PM
Thanks, msveggie. I completely understand about sincerity and being appreciative. I have been a "model probationer" meaning I have done everything as told to do and in a timely manner, never failed a UA, never had a violation, always pay fees on time, am polite and courteous, always make my appointments, don't drink (have been sober for 14 months now). But I am a transfer from another county and report monthly to my home county. My PO had told me she could not give me permission, however it was when I called the county (where my conviction is) PO that she verbally gave me permission and faxed me a travel pass. I do not have a relationship with her - she just has my file plus she does have 150 probationers that actually report to her so I don't think a letter is likely to come from her. The warden did do a background check so he should be aware of my offense. I will write to the warden though only asking him to please consider my circumstances. Hopefully that, in conjunction with an appeal from my boyfriend, might get us somewhere. We will see. I will keep you posted.

03-25-2004, 10:08 AM
Wow, the federal policy is sure different from our state policy and procedures. Hope you get it all worked out.

Yes, it is.