Statewide Inmate Family Council / CDCR Meeting Minutes February 26, 2021
SIFC members attending:
Beth Hall, Chair, Allison Walters, Secretary, Carol Hinds, Annette DeLaTorre Flores, Beneé Vejar, and Clara Velasco
Rosemary Ndoh, Daniel Ross, Gordon Wong, Marjorie Cross, Peggy Andre and Kristina Khokhobashvili
Meeting was brought to order by Daniel Ross who introduced Rosemary Ndoh Associate Director (A) for the Female Offender Programs and Services/Special Housing Mission (FOPS/SH). Ndoh spoke to her experience with CDCR and expressed that she was pleased to be working with SIFC and getting input from the council. The SIFC introduced themselves and gave their SIFC background and how they have been involved with CDCR and incarcerated people.
VSA is being rolled out in groups. There are twelve facilities currently using it to book appointments. Eight more facilities will begin to using the system on February 27, 2021 to schedule visits for March 6 and 7. The rest of the facilities should hopefully be using the VSA system by the end of March. The last group to roll out will be CHCF, CTF, MCSP, NKSP, PVSP, RJD and WSP.
People that are having difficulties claiming an account need to contact their facilities visiting department to resolve. The problem lies in having multiple IDs, which is often due to a change of IDs or an update of visitor’s personal information in CDCR’s system. Do not call GTL: they are unable to resolve. The webpage will be updated with this information.
Quarantined buildings are not allowed to have a video visit. This is based on the Public Health Department recommendations.
CDCR is aware that third parties have been reported on video visits. Monitoring of calls is allowed by investigative and visiting officers in the course of their duties, but not allowed to be disruptive.
An increased number of visits have been requested both for the facility and for individuals. This is being researched for those facilities that may have the capability of additional time slots. VSA will be able to configure the number of visits based on the institutions capacity and allowed for individuals.
Family Visiting will resume when institutions resume with the “new” normal programming.
The video visitation program will not be continued after in-person visitation is resumed due to use-of-space requirements. It is possible it will be a part of the new tablet program.
The appointment window time on VSA is consistent across all institutions. It is a four day period. The exact times will be verified and communicated back to SIFC and made clear on the CDCR site.
Individuals who refuse the vaccine are classified as “unresolved.” CCHCS uses “resolved” to indicate those who have had Covid-19 and are no longer infected or infectious to others. Vaccination is recommended for those who have had Covid-19 or are considered resolved. Individuals who refuse the vaccination are considered high risk for infection if exposed. The term ‘unresolved’ is not used.
If an inmate has tested positive, had Covid-19 and recovered are they eligible for the vaccine? Is it necessary?
They are eligible as soon as they have recovered from the acute infection and are no longer in isolation.
Some individuals have received the second vaccine and vaccination is continuing as scheduled. The highest risk population is being prioritized.
In person visiting resumptions will be determined by Public Health, CCHCS and DAI. The protocols are being worked out by a task force for that.
CDCR received feedback from Wardens, CRMs and visiting staff on the applicants chosen by the SIFC. After review, different candidates were proposed by CDCR to fill some of the vacancies. Discussion of the selection will continue.
Revision to the local IFC by-laws were previously requested. There is no update on this yet.
More frequent meetings between Wardens and local IFCs were requested to improve the flow of information for families. The need for a better information process will be emphasized.
The deployment schedule for the tablets was proposed by GTL but is still being reviewed and revised based on institutional needs. VSP will be the first to receive tablets by mid-May. It is projected that all facilities will have tablets by the end of the year. The rollout schedule will be requested from the mission responsible.
The GTL tablets are capable of video calling, but this feature has not yet been approved for activation at this time. It may be a pilot program to determine best practices. There are many features available on the tablets, but it has not yet been determined which ones will be made available and when.
SB 132 The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act
How is classification being done for transfers?
Only four transfers have been made. No complaints have been received from the population regarding these transfers. It is a lengthy, in-depth review to receive a transfer which is requested by the incarcerated person.
The medical department has a process for those who wish to have gender affirmation surgery.
Good conduct credits. At this time, Classification Services is working on filing regulations with OAL for implementation. The Regulations Branch and OAL will post this information for review and public comment.
Positive programming credits. An additional twelve weeks is not being considered at this time.
Laudatory chrono for LWOPs. This has been drafted and is awaiting approval.
Conversions continue with the following yards being scheduled in the coming months. Conversion has already taken place at Ironwood State Prison.
CTF FAC A and B Level II, SNY to NDPF, scheduled for April, 2021.
PBSP FAC D, Level II, GP to NDPF, scheduled for May, 2021.
SCC FAC C, Level III, BLD 1, 3, 4 & 5 SNY to NDPF, scheduled for May, 2021.
Level I, Level II and camps can still purchase MP3 players through approved vendors.
One package vendor in particular has delayed sending out packages.
It will be researched.
Current tablets which were part of a pilot program are a different platform and will not work with the new tablet platform.
Inmates are directed to submit a 1040 IRS tax form. Packets including directions and forms are available to inmates.
There is no information yet if incarcerated people will be able to qualify for the California stimulus payment.
Tablet failure and sharing
CDCR is not to that point yet.
When will New SIFC members be joining?
Selected applicants will be notified immediately upon selection by Headquarters.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
The next meeting will be held: TBD