In-Person Visits COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The Michigan Department of Corrections will resume in-person visiting of prisoners effective March 26. Specific guidelines regarding these visits are outlined in Director's Office Memorandum 2021-26R6 which can be reviewed by clicking here. The In-Person Visits During COVID-19 web page can be found here. Below are frequently asked questions related to the policies and procedures of in-person visiting during COVID-19. 

This page will be updated with additional FAQs as they arise. Please be sure to check back frequently.

 

Question:  I scheduled a visit but was not able to keep it, why was my loved one charged with this visit, i.e., one of the monthly allotted visits was taken?

Answer:  When a visit is scheduled in the GTL Scheduler the time slot, visiting location, and visiting equipment are allocated to the visit.  Other visits cannot be scheduled during that time, even if the visit is not used.  For that reason, if you are unable to keep the appointment, you must cancel the scheduled visit, or it will be counted against the prisoners monthly allotted visits.  

  • In-person visits must be canceled no more than 72 hours before the scheduled visit.
  • Video visits must be canceled no more than 48 hours before the scheduled visit.
  • Visiting no-shows that are not canceled within the identified time frame will result in the reduction of the prisoner's allotted visits and you will not be refunded the money you have paid for a video visit.

     

Question:  GTL will not allow my me to schedule a visit; and says I do not have MDOC approval to visit.  How can I get approval so that I can schedule a visit?  

Answer:  GTL can schedule visits only for those persons who are approved by the MDOC to visit.  You must get MDOC approval before you can schedule a visit in the GTL Scheduler.  Before scheduling a visit, please make sure:

  • That the prisoner you wish to visit has added you to their Visiting List.
  • That you have submitted a completed Visiting Application to the
    warden's office at the facility where the prisoner you would like to visit is housed.  A visiting application may be found on the MDOC Website at www.michigan.gov/corrections.
  • Please note the application must be completed fully; include a valid copy of your government issued identification and mail the completed application and supporting documents to the warden's office at the facility you would like to visit.

Please note that this process is the same for both video visits and for in-person visits.


Question:  Why do we have to wear masks and have a plexiglass barrier between us, if I am vaccinated and the prisoner I want to visit is also vaccinated?

Answer:  Unfortunately, the Covid virus remains very active and continues to mutate, one of the mutations the Delta virus, is very contagious and health officials have confirmed that even vaccinated people can carry the mutated virus and spread it to others.  The Covid precautions and barriers are in place to help prevent the spread of the Covid virus within MDOC facilities. 


Question: Will I be subject to antigen testing if I was COVID-19 positive within the last 90 days?

Answer: Yes, antigen testing is required for all visitors even those who were previous positives. If you test positive on the antigen test you will not be allowed to visit.
 

Question: How many people are permitted to visit a prisoner?

Answer: In-person visiting parties are limited to two approved visitors. If children are included in the visit, the visiting party is limited to one adult and one child.

 

Question: How will the COVID-19 test be administered?

Answer: The Antigen test will be self-administered. MDOC staff will observe the test but will not be performing the test on visitors. 

 

Question: Will antigen testing and the wearing of masks be required of children?

Answer: All visitors age 2 and up must be antigen tested. Children will be tested by their accompanying guardian/parent. All visitors age 2 and up will be required to wear a mask.

 

Question: Can we bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or of a COVID-19 vaccination, or do we have to get the test at the facility?

Answer: The Rapid Antigen Test must be completed at the prison prior the scheduled visit. Reports of tests taken prior to arrival at the prison will not be accepted.

 

Question: If a visitor who tested negative traveled to the facility with another person who tests positive, can the person who tests negative visit?

Answer: No. The visitor who does not poss the COVID screen criteria who tests positive would be a close contact of the visitor who tested negative. Neither of the visitors would be permitted to visit. Note: Visitors must pass all COVID screening criteria, must test negative to the antigen test, and must sign the liability waiver to be permitted to visit. The liability waivers will be provided at the facility, but you can preview them here.

 

Question: What if a visitor cannot wear a mask?

Answer: A staff member will politely ask anyone who is not wearing a mask to put one on. If the visitor declines, the staff member should ask the visitor if they meet one of the mask exemptions put out by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If the visitors says yes, the staff member should notify the visitor that the MDOC is accommodating individuals who cannot wear masks by providing video visitation. Staff members must not ask for documentation or why the visitor cannot wear a mask.

 

Question: How will deaf and hard of hearing prisoners and visitors be accommodated during in-person visits?

Answer: Transparent masks, vocie amplifiers and earbuds will be made available for these prisoners and visitors. If communication is still not possible, the visiting party will be given the opportunity to use a non-contact visiting station.

 

Question: Are visitors allowed to hug prisoners?

Answer: During contact visits, one embrace between the prisoner and their visitors is permitted at the beginning and end of each visit. No other physical contact is permitted.

 

Question: Will visitors be permitted to bring a bottle into the visiting room for a baby who is visiting?

Answer: Yes. A transparent bottle (or transparent sippy cup) will be permitted if a baby or toddler is part of the visiting party. Also allowed are a pacifier and a single layer blanket.

 

Question: If a visit starts late through no fault of the visitor or the prisoner, can the visit be extended to permit the entire two hour visit?

Answer: No. All visits must end at the scheduled time. This is necessary to accommodate the sanitation of the visiting room between visits and so the next group of scheduled visits can start on time.

 

Question: Will people that are coming long distances and from out of state be limited to one two-hour visit?

Answer: Visitors who travel 200 miles or more one way from their home address to the facility may schedule more than one two-hour visiting session for the same day if space permits and with prior approval of the Warden. Each two-hour session that is scheduled will count towards the number of visits the prisoner is allowed per month.

 

Question: Are there going to be vending machines so we can buy food for the prisoners we are visiting with?

Answer: No, vending machines will not be operational. Visitors are not permitted to bring money or prepaid vending cards through the gate. Visitors are also prohibited from bringing food and drink items through the gate. Water will be available for prisoners and visitors in separate locations.

 

Question: Can you provide information regarding the number of in-person and video visits by custody level per month?

Answer: Please review the table below.

In Person Visits by Level Number of Visits Video Visits by Level Number of Visits
Level One Four Level One Four
Level Two Three Level Two Three
Level Four General Population and Protection Two Level Four General Population and Protection Two
Level Five and STG One Two Level Five and STG One Two
Segregation and STG Two One Non Contact Segregation and STG Two One