Who may visit
Approval process – Family and friends who wish to visit an inmate must first complete a visiting questionnaire and be added to the inmate’s approved visitor list.
- The visiting form must be filled out completely and accurately.
- Applicants 18 years and older must submit separate questionnaires.
- Children less than 18 years of age must be included on the same questionnaire as their parent applicant or court-appointed legal guardian. The applicant must answer all questions for each person on the questionnaire. Once approved, the inmate’s children may visit if they are accompanied by any adult family member on the inmate’s visiting list.
- Mail completed forms to:
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
- All visitors are subject to criminal background checks.
- Visitors may be on only one inmate’s visiting list at a time, unless an exception is granted because both inmates are members of the same immediate family.
- Within 30 days of receiving a questionnaire, a staff member contacts the inmate in writing to let him know whether a prospective visitor’s application has been approved. A disapproved applicant may appeal the decision by:
- filling out the appeal section on the disapproval form they receive from the inmate
- mailing it to the second shift captain within 14 days of the postmark on the notice.
- Approved visitors must notify MSP of any changes to their name or address. Visitors must notify MSP visiting staff of their updated information at their first visit following the change.
Conditions of visiting
Work crews – Inmates on work crews are expected to arrange their visits after work hours.
Number of visits – Inmates in the general prison population may have four visits each week.
Number of visitors – No more than five people (including children) may visit each inmate at one time. A visitor may visit no more than one inmate at a time unless the visitor has the prior approval of the second-shift captain.
Visiting room capacity – When a visiting room is at maximum capacity, no more visitors are allowed in.
- As more visitors arrive at the Wallace Building, those in the visiting room are allowed one hour and then visits are terminated for local visitors (those within 45 minutes driving time of MSP).
- If this fails to address the waiting list in the Wallace Building, ongoing visits for visitors from further away are terminated.
- Visits will not be terminated less than one hour from the start of the visit because of overcrowding of a visiting room.
Special visits based on unusual circumstances may be approved for immediate family members traveling from other states who visit infrequently. Family members not yet on an inmate’s approved visiting list may be granted a single visit prior to approval, provided they have a photo I.D.
Legal Visits – Attorneys need to call the MSP mail room supervisor at (406) 846-1320, ext. 2258, 2503 or 2228 at least 24 hours in advance to arrange a visit and are expected to arrive on time or the visit may be denied due to institutional time constraints. Attorneys must present proper credentials, including photo identification, to entrance post staff. They are subject to search and all other Department of Corrections’ institutional rules and regulations.
Attorney visits are scheduled Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Every effort is made to have attorneys and their clients visit in a room/area that allows privacy. All reasonable precautions are taken to preserve the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship.
- Officers visually observe attorney visits, but attorney-client conversations are not recorded or listened to.
- Attorneys and inmates may exchange written material without it being read.
Visits in the infirmary or hospital – Inmates admitted to the MSP infirmary or a hospital and considered to be in the late stages of the dying process may be allowed to visit with immediate family members or their attorneys at the visiting rooms, the infirmary, or the hospital where the inmate is staying. Arrangements for infirmary and hospital visits must be in writing from the shift commander.
Martz Diagnostic Intake Unit – Inmates are only allowed visits with their attorneys and law enforcement officials.
Inmates with visiting restrictions – Restrictions may be imposed on visiting if it is in the interest of visitor safety, the security of the prison or an inmate’s rehabilitation. Visiting restrictions may result from factors such as disciplinary actions, specific court orders dealing with incarceration, or behavior displayed while in visiting.
Entering and leaving the prison
- Visitors are processed through the checkpoint post at the appropriate time and proceed to the Wallace Building parking lot.
- If a visitor is escorted by a person(s) who isn’t visiting, the person(s) must leave prison grounds after dropping off the visitor. They are not allowed to wait for visitors in the lobby, parking lot or on prison grounds.
- Motorhomes and tractors are allowed, but must be parked at the rear of the parking lot. Tractor-trailers are not allowed. If a visitor is towing a passenger vehicle behind a motorhome, they must leave the motorhome elsewhere and drive the passenger vehicle to the prison.
- Any type of trailer that is typically pulled behind a passenger vehicle is not allowed to park in the prison parking lot, including U-Haul trailers, stock trailers, ATV trailers and campers.
- Visiting staff issue each visitor a “Visitor ID Badge” at the visitor processing desk. Visitors must wear their issued badge as instructed at all times.
- Visitors waiting to visit may not leave the lobby or visiting entrance until told to do so, and those on the same pass must remain together.
- Visitors wishing to leave a visiting room may not leave until a departure is announced by prison visiting officers. The officer usually announces the departure 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time to allow the visitors to prepare to leave. Those visiting on the same pass must leave together.
- Departing visitors are not permitted to wait an extended period for a ride. Therefore, they should make prior transportation arrangements in the event that their visit ends early or they are terminated from visiting. Visitors may be permitted to use the phone to make arrangements with local law enforcement for a ride.
What visitors can and can’t bring with them
Visitor searches – All visitors and visitor property on prison premises are subject to search at any time. If a visitor refuses to submit to a required or reasonable suspicion search, he or she will be turned away.
Service animals – Animals certified to assist handicapped visitors are allowed with the prior approval of the shift commander. Pets or livestock are not allowed on prison grounds.
Medical devices – Visitors with a medical condition, medical device or disability medical device on or in their body should check with their physician prior to visiting MSP to determine if it is safe to be searched with a handheld or walk-through metal detector. You should provide the documentation from a physician with the initial visiting application or prior to the date of visitation.
- Visitors with proper documentation from their physician are subject only to a clothed body search.
Contraband – In accordance with state law, weapons, alcohol and narcotics are prohibited on MSP property. Depending on the nature of contraband found, staff may immediately contact the Powell County Sheriff’s office.
Use of tobacco products is not authorized on Montana State Prison property. Visitors must keep all tobacco products in their vehicle at all times.
Allowed items – Visitors are allowed to bring the following items. All other personal property items (including cell phones, chewing gum and cough drops) are to be left in the visitor's vehicle or in the visitor lockers provided. Montana State Prison is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
- one clear Ziploc-type sandwich bag
- two vehicle keys and a key fob on a bare ring (nothing else on the ring)
- state- or federal-issued identification card with a physical description of the holder, a facial photograph and current mailing address
- no more than $20 in pocket change or cash, with no bills larger than a $1 bill. Pocket change must be loose (no coins in rolls).
- medical and handicap items:
- On a case-by-case basis, prescription medication (inhalers and nitroglycerin) in the original container are allowed in a limited amount during the visitation period. These medications will be kept in a visitor locker and will be retrieved by visiting staff should the visitor need them during a visit.
- Visitors who arrive with wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, etc. will not be permitted to bring them to the visiting rooms. Visiting staff will store the items in the visiting office after providing an MSP wheelchair.
- Jewelry – Once a visitor has been cleared for entrance, he or she must wear any permitted jewelry items and may not remove them until they leave the facility.
- one ring (wedding sets count as one ring)
- one bracelet
- one necklace
- Jewelry items in body piercings are allowed as long as the items are visible to visiting officers. However, visitors are cautioned to refrain from wearing these items under their clothing as they may not clear the metal detection devices, and will necessitate an intrusive clothed body search to verify the source of the item causing the alert.
- Visiting staff may allow visitors to bring in a limited number of checks (for endorsement by the inmate) or legal papers (to be reviewed and/or signed by the inmate). Visitors must take these documents with them when they leave the visiting room. They are not allowed to leave them with the inmates.
Allowed item for babies* – Visitors with small babies may bring:
- one clear empty plastic bottle or “sippy” cup per baby
- one factory-sealed container of baby food (spoons are provided in the visiting room)
- baby formula – one clear Ziploc-type sandwich bag containing only the amount needed for the visit. Breast feeding is allowed with the use of an approved blanket.
- one factory-sealed package of baby wipes
- four diapers
- one pacifier
- one teething ring or toy – must be one piece, hard plastic.
- two blankets, not quilted and no larger than 3' x 3'
*Baby carriers and diaper bags are not allowed.
Appropriate clothing and behavior
- Visitors should review the Visitor Dress Code and Visiting Rules and Regulations online.
- Staff, inmates and visitors may submit recommended revisions to this document through the second-shift captain.
Inmates may have photographs taken of themselves or with their visitors in accordance with the following:
- Each inmate is allowed to have two photographs taken per visit.
- No hugging. Inmates and visitors are allowed to put their arms around one another (above shoulder). Their hands must be visible in the photograph.
- No gang gestures.
- No kissing.
- Inmates may hold their children or have their children sit on their lap for photographs.
- Visitors pay for the photos with the money they are allowed to bring into the visiting room. Only staff will handle these funds. Photos are $2 each.
- Finished photos are forwarded to the housing unit for delivery to the inmate. Photos with questionable or improper content are not delivered and the purchaser’s money is not refunded.