Mental Health Services
Florida State Hospital
General Visitation Information for Civil and Forensic Services
- Professional visitors are allowed entry on an unlimited basis during established working hours. Prior notification is encouraged if contact with residents is necessary. Residents may be scheduled for activities or events (i.e., medical appointments) which are very difficult to reschedule. Reasonable efforts to accommodate professional visitors after hours will be made by the Security Department and Forensic Services staff or designated Civil Services personnel.
- Facility visitors are allowed entry to the secure areas based on the approval of the Forensic Administrator, Unit Director, or designee and must be accompanied by a Forensic Services employee. Facility visitors for Civil Services should follow the Civil Services Procedure below.
- News media visitors are allowed entry based on approval of the Hospital Administrator or designee.
- Visitors under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs will not be granted visitation privileges. Security should be notified of such incidents.
- Money, credit cards, checks, etc. will not be given directly to the resident. All such items must be given to the appropriate Security or Forensic Services personnel or Civil Services personnel. Specific instructions will be given by the Security officer for items accepted in Forensic. Receipts for funds will be provided to the visitor by the designated Civil Unit personnel. During regular working hours, visitors may directly deposit funds into a resident's account at the Cashier's Office.
- Visitors should be advised that dress attire and grooming must be in good taste. Visitors wearing clothing that is too revealing or too brief will not be permitted into the visiting area by the Security officer in charge of visitation or the Civil Unit personnel. Examples of inappropriate attire are: miniskirts (above mid-thigh length), see-through blouses, tank tops and swimsuits. Women are not permitted to wear sun dresses without a jacket. Shorts will be permitted if they are at least mid-thigh length. Shoes must be worn.
- Upon admission to the facility, the resident, family, and/or representative will be notified in writing of the unit's visiting hours. The notification to the family or representative will include information to address exceptions to the visitation policy.
Civil Services Visitation Procedure
- Each unit will designate areas acceptable for visits within the unit and a sign-in area.
- Resident visitors are allowed visiting privileges seven (7) days per week, unless specific individualized restrictions state otherwise in the resident's chart. Established hours for these visits are 0830 hours until 1100 hours and 1300 hours until 2000 hours. Permission for visiting other than these established times, must be given by the appropriate Unit Director or designee. Written notation of this permission must be made in the resident's ward chart.
- The visiting hours will be posted visibly for residents' and visitors' information.
- Each unit will maintain a record of visitors as well as a list of people the resident does not want to visit. An Approved Visitors' List will also be completed.
- All visitors will be given a visitor's badge. The number of the badge will be entered on the visitor's record. Staff will be responsible for retrieving badges at the conclusion of visits and documenting on visitor's record.
- Prior approval by the Unit Director or Designee will be required for tours of family/significant others' living areas in order to protect the privacy of others.
Forensic Services Visitation Procedure
- Visiting Hours and Days:
- Resident's visitors are allowed visiting privileges on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, unless specific individualized restrictions state otherwise in the resident's chart. Established hours for these visits are 0830 hours until 1130 hours and 1300 hours until 1600 hours. Permission for visiting other than these established times must be given by the appropriate Forensic Unit Director or designee. Written notation of this permission must be made in the resident's ward chart and written confirmation delivered to the appropriate Security Department personnel.
- The visiting hours will be posted visibly for residents' and visitors' information.
- Visiting Areas:
- Resident's visitors are restricted to the designated areas at that service area. In Forensic Central Services, the area designated is the lounge area of the 5 West office area, Building 1053. At Admission and Evaluation Services, the designated visiting area is the lounge located in Building 1451, in front of the Security Control Room. The Forensic Services staff assigned to the respective visiting area should ensure that persons who are not visiting with residents do not lounge around the visiting area during visiting hours.
- Efforts will be made to secure visiting areas for professional visitors which are most conducive to the services. Forensic Services personnel will accompany these visitors while they are within the secure area of the facility.
- Institutional visitors are allowed access based on the approval of the Hospital Administrator or designee. Any specific restrictions will be stated prior to the approval to visit. All institutional visitors must be accompanied by a Forensic Services employee while inside the secure areas of the facility.
- News media visitors will only be allowed access based on the instructions of the Hospital Administrator or designee.
- Visitation Guidelines:
- A resident will be allowed to visit only the person(s) identified on the "Approved Visitors' List," excluding other Florida State Hospital residents from visitation, unless specific recovery team written instructions state otherwise. Instructions concerning restrictions shall include statements regarding the resident's behavior and/or reasons for the restrictions. The visitation policy will be cancelled on individual residents and those visitors who violate Forensic Services policies and procedures and/or present with potential safety and security issues. If it is determined that a resident should not be allowed visitation or if a particular visitor is being restricted, this information will be entered in the resident's chart, on the "Approved Visitor's List" and the resident advised of this action. The Security Department will receive a copy of the updated visitor's list which notes in the comments section changes and/or restrictions to a visitor that was previously approved on the visitor's list.
- Children under the age of 16 years must be accompanied by an adult immediate family member for the duration of the visit. The adult will be responsible for their actions and/or behavior or possible injury which might occur. Children under the age of 16 who are married will be considered adults and may visit without any other adult family members.
- Packages are not allowed and accepted during visitation in the admission areas. Packages for individuals residing in Unit 21 and 25 long term area will be examined by Security personnel prior to these items being issued to residents. Items in packages which do not meet approval by Forensic Services or Security personnel will be removed from the package. Secured food items will be permitted in the visitor's lounge. Coolers and other such containers are not allowed in the visitor's area. Visitors will be encouraged to utilize snack machines in the visitation area. Food not consumed in the visitor's lounge will not be taken by either the resident or the employee to the ward/pod.
- All residents' visitors will be asked to submit to a personal search by Security personnel prior to admission into the Forensic Services area. All other visitors will be searched in accordance with the Contraband Control Procedure.
- Visitors will not be allowed to visit except with the resident they have registered to visit. Visitors may visit wit h only one resident at a time.
- Residents will be limited to five (5) adult visitors per visit, unless prior approval is obtained from the recovery team. This does not include children under the age of 16.
- Registration of Visitors:
- Upon arrival at the forensic facility, all residents' visitors, 16 years of age or older, must show acceptable identification to Security personnel. Acceptable identification will be a form of valid picture identification. Social Security cards are not acceptable. Admission without acceptable identification may be made in extraordinary circumstances with the Security Shift Supervisorâ€™s approval. Visitors who arrive for a visit one half hour prior to the end of visitation will not be allowed to visit unless there are extenuating circumstances and an exception is granted by Security and the Unit manager on duty.
- All residents' visitors must be signed in on the Resident Visiting Card. The date, visitor's full name, complete address, relationship to the resident, and vehicle information must be included.
- A list of items considered contraband will be given to the visitor on his/her first visit. The visitor will then sign a card stating they are aware of these contraband items and will not introduce them into the facility.
- Subsequent to satisfactory screening of the visitor and his/her property for contraband, the visitor will be issued a temporary pass and given verbal instructions on the wearing of the pass.
- Any items not allowed inside the facility will be secured in either the visitor's vehicle or in a locker provided by the facility.
- Professional visitors who will be visiting with specific residents will indicate on the resident's visitor card who they will be visiting. If more than one resident is to be included in the visit, a card will be signed for each resident visited.
- In addition, professional visitors, along with facility and news media visitors, will sign in on the Visitor's Log kept at each entrance.
- Professional visitors: Persons entering the Forensic or Civil units to perform specific professional services. (Example: Secret Service personnel, legal representatives, Social Security employees, Veterans Administration officers, abuse investigators, contractual maintenance personnel, etc.).
- News media visitors: Persons wishing to enter any unit or department at Florida State Hospital to gather information to be publicized.
- Resident's visitor: Any person seeking visitation on a non-professional basis with a resident who is housed in any unit at Florida State Hospital. (Example: relatives, friends, religious associates, etc.)
- Facility visitors: Individuals or groups who wish to tour the Forensic or Civil Services for specific purposes related to their professional or educational objectives. These individuals or groups must receive appropriate authorization for tours and be accompanied by assigned Florida State Hospital personnel.