I am planning on going to visit my nephew at the Holliday Unit in Huntsville. I visited him often when he was in SAFP at Richmond several years ago. But this was a small facility and not a regular prison. I've looked at the TDCJ rules for visitation, but was wondering if anyone has additional information on Holliday that might be helpful to me. Any help you can give this senior citizen will be greatly appreciated!
Arrive early, get in line...don't wear white, and wear something conservative. No open-toed shoes, and no paper money. Take a ziploc with up to $20 in change....no purses, cell phones. Take your photo ID, and ENJOY!!!
PS...You may want to call ahead, make sure he's eligible for visits, and make sure you are on his approved list!
My Fiance is at Holliday. The dress code changes from day to day. I always wear sandals,or open toed shoes, but flip flops are not allowed and sandals cant have any straps between the toes. (for some of us, others get in with rubber flip flops.) Most of the guards are ok, some will joke around with you, but one or two are complete jerks. The coke machines are usually empty or broken and the candy machine is usually empty (in non-contact) dont know about contact. I've seen women get in wearing shorts, but I wouldn't advise trying. Count is at three so make sure you get there well before that or you could get stuck out and miss some of your visit. I usually visit on Sundays and there is always a line so be prepared to wait. I have been at all diffrent times and sometimes wait two hours and somtime less than thirty minutes you can never tell. If you follow the advise from Kath you wont have any trouble.Compared to some Units, Holliday is fairly laid back as far as visits go. Any specific question you have I'll try to answer.
I sent this detailed pm to someone asking about Holliday, but I thought maybe it should be an actual post, maybe other people might want the DETAILS of Holliday Unit. I have experienced what everybody else says - no sandals between toes, no shorts, also no sleeveless shirts (you have to put a jacket over it). Below, I've detailed the actual process of waiting!
You do basically ALL of your waiting outside. There are two buildings we go into - the first one has a porch (like a car port) - they set up a table at 8:00 there which is your first stop. If I get there by 7:00, there will be anywhere from 8-15 people ahead of me. By 7:15, there will be 30 people ahead of you, by 7:30 it's quite a line. Okay, you go through the first line to get to the table - there you show them your picture ID and tell them the inmate's name and number, and your address and relationship to them. They fill out a carbon form, and give it back to you, and you get in the second line (this ends up forming because they move you through the table station much faster than the computer station). In the second line you're waiting to go inside the building (it's very small, one woman is working behind a desk, and there are bathrooms (they've always been open even I got there as early as 6:45). They're clean enough (?) but there's no soap, no paper towels, usually there IS toilet paper, but last week there wasn't! )
If you get there later in the day, there may only be one line - if so, you can just walk up to the table, and get your paper and then get in the back of the line. But if you're used to it this way, and then you come early in the morning, do NOT just go up to the table - people will let you KNOW that you are getting out of line - in the morning when it first opens there are two lines, as I described earlier. The one good thing is once you have staked your place in line, it's yours, and people will let you have it back if you need to go to the bathroom or your car, or etc. There is a bench all along one side of the building - people get there early to get a place on it - sometimes people will offer their place to an elderly woman or man if they think about it.
One at a time you will go inside the building where the guard looks you up on the computer to see if you are on the inmate's list. It only takes a minute or two (unless the phone rings which she has to answer, so you may be waiting on her to get off the phone). She also has the information about how many places are left open for the visits = a "regular" visit is on the phone behind the glass, and a contact visit you sit across a table from each other - you can hug and kiss when you get there, and we hold hands during the visit, and then hug again when we leave. So, depending on how it is (when I get there as early as I always do, there is no wait on an opening), you either get to go on in, or she'll tell you you have to wait. If you get there later in the day, you actually may have less of a wait in the lines, but you may have to wait at this point until a place comes open (the very smallest amount of time I've been able to make it consistently is 1-1/2 hour - when I used to go in the afternoon, two times I actually walked right in, but then the next two times there was such a long wait that my visit got cut short becuase visitation ended at 5:00 - and i had gotten there with PLENTY of time for a decent wait and then a 2-hour visit. - so, afternoon waits can be short or very long, but it's VERY inconsistent, you can't depend on it. Whereas morning visits if you get there early, are fairly predictable.)
Okay, at this point, if you're going on in, you go back to the other side of the table you were first at, they do the metal detector device - you stand with your feet apart and arms spread - they just wave it around in front and behind you. Then you show your ID to a little machine by the gate, then they open the first gate and you go in, you're between two fences. Then they open the second gate. You walk in to another building. When you first get in there, there is a table set up, and you give your paper and ID to them, they take half of the paper and send you on - if you're going to a contact, you'll go right in the door where they are, and give your paper and ID to the person in there. If you're doing a regular visit, you continue down the hall and the door will be on your right. There is a bathroom in that front section that is not bad - there is usually soap and towels. But I usually go ahead and give my paper to the person first - you may have to stand in line again - not very long, a few people, maybe. You give them your paper, and they'll assign you a table (for a contact visit) or a station (for a regular visit) - they're numbered. You can sit your stuff down and then go to the bathroom if you need to. Inside the regular visiting place, there is also another bathroom down the left hallway - it's okay, sometimes soap, sometimes paper towels. If you want to get food and drink for your inmate (my husband only wants to drink - he wants to talk, not eat, but most people get a LOT of food for their guys, just depends on what yours wants), you buy the stuff, and take it to the guard at the front, tell them what number your station is, and they write it on the stuff and put it through a drawer into the inmate section, and the guard in there passes it out. Of course you can have whatever you want. In the contact place, you just buy it and take it to your table. You can't pass from the regular place to the contact place (like if the machines are broken, which they are sometimes). One thing - if you go on a Sunday afternoon, the food will all be sold out, there will be barely ANYTHING left. The visit is 2 hours, whichever kind you get.
Okay, more than you ever wanted to know about visitation at the Holliday unit!