Both convicted offenders and persons in custody have the right to short-term visits at least once a month. Short-term visits take place on the basis of a written request by the prisoner or the visitor, or on the basis of an oral request by the visitor, if the prisoner agrees to the visit.
Both a prisoner and a visitor may file a request for a short-term visit. The application must be filed in writing.
The application must include the applicant’s forename and surname, personal identification code, date and place of birth, address, and details of the identity document (number and place of issue), the forename and surname of the person they want to see, desired time of visit, and relationship to prisoner (family member, friend, unmarried partner etc.). It must also be noted if the visitor wishes to bring along a child. Wishing to visit a person in custody, the reason for the visit must also be noted. The application must be signed and equipped with the date on which it was filed.
The Deputy Director of the prison, the head of the imprisonment department, decides whether an application is satisfied. Based on a satisfied application, a visit schedule is prepared and the parties are notified of the visit time. A decision concerning the possibility of a short-term visit shall be made within ten working days.
A prisoner may meet with a maximum of two visitors at a time. If an adult visitor wishes to bring along minor children, the number of the children must be coordinated with the prison beforehand.
Both the prisoner and visitor are searched prior to the visit. Visitors must be sober.
Visitors must bring an identity document as the visitors’ identity is verified before they are allowed to visit a prisoner. Visit rules are also explained. For the duration of the visit, visitors must hand over to the prison any objects not allowed for prisoners for safekeeping. The prisoner and visitor may not hand things to each other.
If a visitor refuses to hand objects over for safekeeping or refuses to be searched or exhibits clear symptoms of alcohol or narcotic intoxication, the visitor is not allowed to visit.
A prisoner who is committed to a punishment cell is not allowed to receive short-term visits.
Short-term visits are regulated by § 24 and § 94 of the Republic of Estonia Imprisonment Act and § 31 – § 39 of the November 30, 2000 No. 72 of the Minister of Justice ʺInternal prison rulesʺ. Both pieces of legislation are available in the electronic version of the State Gazette (Riigi Teataja; The Imprisonment Act in Estonian and English, and the regulation in Estonian only).