Are Conjugal Visits Really Allowed in MN?
In movies and on television, the idea of conjugal visits in prison seems universal, but it’s actually not a reality in a good number of states, including Minnesota.
A petition made the rounds recently online to try to change this fact. A woman requested the state’s Senator, Amy Klobuchar, to help make conjugal visits a right for inmates in Minnesota.
The petition closed and the laws have not been changed, but it does highlight the importance of knowing what types of activities are allowed and not allowed when visiting an inmate in a Minnesota correctional institution.
Here’s what you need to know about Minnesota’s prison visitation policies and procedures and what can happen if they are violated.
Rules of Visitation for MN Corrections Facilities
Visitation is an important part of an inmate’s life. Not only does it serve to help them get through serving their time by seeing people they care about, but it also helps them to maintain and build their support networks outside of prison.
This is an incredibly important endeavor for ensuring a successful transition once they are released. In fact, positive interactions with family and friends during incarceration is believed to lead to lower rates of recidivism as well.
However, there are rules when you visit an inmate in Minnesota. The most important is the fact that you must apply to visit an inmate. You can obtain an application to become a visitor in one of three ways:
- Download it through the prison’s website
- Pick one up at a Department of Corrections Facility
- Have the inmate send you an application
Once you’ve submitted your application and have been approved, then the inmate will be notified and they will communicate the information to you.
How Long Do Visitations Last?
In general, if you travel less than 100 miles for the visit, then you will be allowed to register for a visit that lasts one to two hours. If you travel more than 100 miles one way, then you may be granted an extended visit – but this is up to the discretion of the prison.
The inmate must petition the prison for a longer visit at least 7 to 10 days before the visit is to take place. On weekends, due to crowding, visits may be restricted to one hour.
Are There Different Rules for Minors?
If you wish for a minor to visit the inmate, then an adult applicant must complete the application and list the minor in the space provided on it. You will need to submit a copy of the certified birth certificate of each minor along with the application.
What Items Can You Bring as a Visitor?
You must empty your pockets before visiting with an inmate. A locker will be provided. You can carry the locker key along with your identification with you, but all personal items must be secured. Every visitor is required to pass through a metal detector prior to visiting time.
No one may bring gum, candy, food, or drinks into the visitation rooms under any circumstances.
What If the Rules Are Broken?
If a visitor breaks the rules of visitation while visiting an inmate, then the incident is recorded by prison staff and the visitor will be advised they have violated the rules and sanctions of visitation.
Rule violations can lead to a visitor being barred from future visits as well. Depending on the infraction, a visitor may even face criminal charges.
To be reinstated, they would have to appeal in writing to the administrator of the prison to regain their visitation privileges.
If you have questions about visiting your loved one or about accusations of visitation violations in a Minnesota prison or if are seeking special permission for any activity (besides conjugal visits, of course) during visitation, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.
About the Author:
Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.