Attire Restrictions

There are restrictions on what you may wear to a prison. In general, there are four rules to remember:

1. Do not wear clothing that resembles the clothing that prisoners wear

  • Blue denim pants;
  • Blue chambray shirts;
  • Orange jumpsuits or Orange tops with Orange bottoms;
  • Red tops (Pleasant Valley State Prison only); or
  • Dresses that resemble prisoner muumuu (female institutions only)

2. Do not wear clothing that resembles what custodial staff wear

  • Forest green pants;
  • Tan shirts; or
  • Camouflage

3. Dress conservatively and modestly; and

4. Do not wear any item that cannot be taken off and will not clear a metal detector (such as an underwire bra or clothing with metal buttons). There are specific restrictions:

  • No blue denim, blue chambray, orange jumpsuits or orange tops with orange bottoms;
  • No forest green bottoms with tan tops;
  • No camouflage unless identification shows active or reserve military personnel;
  • No strapless, halter, bare midriff, sheer, or transparent clothing;
  • No skirts, dresses, or shorts that expose more than two inches above the knee;
  • No clothing that exposes the breast, genitalia, or buttocks area;
  • No very tight, form-fitting attire;
  • No wigs, hairpieces, extensions, or other headpieces except for medical reasons and with prior approval;
  • No hats or gloves, except with prior approval or in inclement weather; and
  • No shower shoes.

Prisons sometimes have their own local rules regarding visiting attire that is deemed unacceptable (i.e., “excess” jewelry, layered outfits, shoes without straps around the heel). It is wise to check with your local institution prior to your visit.

Most prisons have a Visitor Center that will lend you used but clean clothing if the clothing you wore is rejected by staff. The funding for these Visitor Centers is not always secure and thus the centers may not always be open. For these reasons, it is good practice to bring an extra set of clothing in the car in case you need to change.

If an officer tells you that your clothing is unacceptable but you feel that you have complied with the rules and your clothing is acceptable, you may ask to speak with the Visiting Sergeant or Lieutenant, who will make the decision about your clothing.

Although a minor must clear the metal detector, children under 36 inches are not subject to the restrictions related to colors of clothing or types of material.