Are you fascinated by true crime stories and/or serial killers? The true crime genre has exploded in recent years thanks to shows like Making A Murderer and the Serial podcast. Serial killers have always fascinated large groups of people because there’s something intriguing about a person who lives their life ignoring laws and societal norms.
In the past few months, I’ve watched both The Ted Bundy Tapes, Extremely Wicked, and Shockingly Evil and Vile. I’ve also binged season one of Mindhunters (I haven’t had the chance to see season two…yet).
Serial killers are truly evil or damaged humans, and they deserve to spend their life in prison because they are a true danger to society. While some of the most infamous serial killers in history have already been executed or died in prison, there are still some who are sitting behind barsーlike BTK Killer Dennis Rader in El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansasーand that leads me to today’s topic: can you visit serial killers in prison?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
Most people are not allowed to visit serial killers in prison. Serial killers are usually housed in Max or SuperMax facilities, and when you are at a high custody level, the visiting rules are much more strict.
Some facilities don’t allow inmates at the highest custody levels to have contact visits. Instead, their visits are in a room with plexiglass between the visitor and inmate. They might go as far as requiring the visit to be done via video.
All prisons require their inmates to have an approved visiting list, and to get approved, you have to fill out an application. Depending on the facility, an inmate can have between ten and twenty people on their visiting list. The rules vary on how many of those people have to be family, and how many can be friends, business associates, or others.
As a rule, if you don’t have a prior relationship with an inmate before their incarceration, you will not be allowed to visit with them. There are exceptions to this rule, but it is at the discretion of the warden.
Like I said earlier, you have to have a prior relationship of some kind to visit with a prison inmate. If you are immediate family, it’s pretty easy to get approved, unless you have a criminal history and/or are on parole or probation.
The rules for visiting vary by facility, but if you want to visit an inmate, you will need to fill out the proper applicationーwhether state or federalーand send it to the prison for approval. For more detailed visiting instructions for a specific facility, click on the “Find A Facility” icon on PrisonInsight, and then click on that specific state facility or federal prison.
In our different prison listings, we give you detailed visiting information, like approved hours, rules, dress code, etc…
The process for visitation approval usually takes between 30 and 90 days, and once you are approved, you are allowed to visit during visiting hours.
Both adults and children must fill out an application to visit. When you are approved and you arrive at the facility, they will require you to provide photo identificationーlike a driver’s license, state ID card, or passportーbefore you are allowed into the visiting room.
While the specific rules of the visiting room do vary by facility, generally there is a conservative, modest dress code for visitors. You can’t wear see-through or low-cut clothing, no shorts or short skirts, no spandex or anything tight. You get the idea.
You will also be searched quite a bit: pat searches, medical detectors, K-9 inspections, property searchesーexpect them all.
Inmates can’t touch money or vending machines, so visitors must bring money for vending machines and purchase the food.
Some prisons do allow games and puzzles, some have playgrounds for kids, and others don’t allow anything like that.
One thing that is universal with prison visits is the issue of contraband. You are only allowed to bring in money for vending machines, a car key, your ID, and life-saving medication. If you have an infant, you are allowed to bring bottles and diapers. Other than that, you are not to bring anything into a visit.
No electronic devices, tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. If you are caught trying to bring contraband into a correctional facility, you will most likely be arrested and prosecuted. It’s not worth it.
The answer to today’s topic is a quick, “no!” While you are not going to get approved to visit a serial killerーunless you are a family member or have a prior relationshipーyou can visit friends and family who are incarcerated. Visits are so important, I highly recommend you give it a try, even if the idea of visiting a prison is scary.
Are the visiting rules in prisons too harsh? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: El Dorado Correctional Facility Visitors Handbook https://www.doc.ks.gov/facilities/edcf/visit/handbook 10 Craziest Privileges Serial Killers Enjoyed In Prison https://listverse.com/2018/10/11/10-craziest-privileges-serial-killers-enjoyed-in-prison/
Natalie earned her Bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas, and has worked in television and radio during her career. When she was a 19-year-old sophomore at KU, she got her first on-air job as a sports reporter for a CBS-TV affiliate. In 2013, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the possession and production of marijuana. She was released in 2017. We've kept her last name off of our website so that she does not experience any professional hardship for her contributions.
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