By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications
On Aug. 10, visiting at all institutions will be suspended for one day as staff undergoes training to help standardize and improve the process, giving it a more customer-service focus.
In a July 11 memo, Division of Adult Institutions Director Connie Gipson explains the importance of the training.
“This one-day closure is the best means to ensure visiting staff receive this important training,” she writes. “I assure you, CDCR recognizes the value of inmate visitation as a means of maintaining family and community ties and preparing inmates for successful release back into society. However it is also our responsibility to ensure adherence to all policies, procedures, the safety of personnel, and institutional security. This mandatory visiting training will provide staff the tools necessary to ensure inmates and their visitors enjoy a safe and positive visiting experience, facilitated with professionalism.”
According to Correctional Counselor II Marjorie Cross, statewide visiting coordinator, those in charge of overseeing staff at visiting programs will receive master training so they can in turn pass along the information to their staff.
“A variety of Visiting-related topics will be discussed, including: Understanding the importance of the peace officer’s role and responsibilities when working in the Inmate Visiting Program; Review of the visitor application process, approvals, and disapprovals; Determining appropriate identification of visitors, dress attire and allowable items; and Reasonable accommodation,” she said. “This training is necessary to ensure consistent and fair staff interaction with the public and visitors. CDCR visiting staff should be prepared to maintain safety and security with a customer service approach to ensure visiting is a welcoming environment for inmates and their loved ones. Staff, inmates, and visitors will all benefit greatly from this training, as will the Agency.”
The training will improve statewide consistency in the area of visiting and help make visiting a positive experience for staff, inmates and the public while maintaining order, the safety of persons, and institution security, she said. The course will count toward staff’s required annual training.