January 27, 2023 9:00 am
SIFC members in attendance: Beth Hall, Allison Walters, Clara Garcia, Kari Arzate, Cindy Jackson, Mary Gonzalez, and Staci Parish.
Meeting was brought to order and facilitated by Dan Ross. In attendance: Michael MaGee and Christopher Siino.
Introductions all around. New SIFC members welcomed. New members have been added to the SIFC website.
New guidelines for hospital visits and phone calls for inmates. SB 1139 was passed and covers inmate calls from hospitals, release of information CDCR form 7385, power of attorney form and hospital visits amongst other things. Budget for compliance will be affected and is currently being worked on. Go to leginfo.legislature.ca.gov and search SB1139 for more details.
Local IFCs choosing their members and staff holding applications
Several institutions are having difficulties in choosing their IFC members, these institutions have been said to hold applications and vet applicants prior to IFC seeing some applications. Local IFC’s should pick their own members. Once members are chosen the institution will look for any disciplinary issues, suspensions in visiting, things of this nature prior to approval of IFC choice. This is being investigated including specific institutions that have been noted for possible training opportunities. CDCR wants consistency in processing.
Time frames for staff to complete applications
Expected time frame varies due to such things as applications hard to read, time it takes for various databases being checked, and confusion in information given on applications. Time frame is different with each person. With the goal of consistency amongst the institutions, the process is being investigated. First time applications take longer, and there really is no concrete set time, but for updates it should be ASAP.
Many institutions stopped the visiting application update process during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should be updated every 2 years according to Title 15. Some institutions have denied people for inconsistencies and other various reasons on their updated application even though there is a history of visiting in good standing for years. Another question being investigated; do family members need to fully fill out the update application if the information has not changed since the last update. Again, consistency is the goal and it is being investigated.
Institutions requiring background checks for FV
The process of family visiting does not include background checks, as they have already been performed to be an approved visitor. CDCR is clarifying this to institutions.
Numbers are down. CDCR was hoping for a better turnout. CDCR is looking into what else can be done to promote and advertise the service. Flyers with information should be in every visiting hall.
Minor visiting form update
Notary will not sign minor visiting form because there is no box around the signature space. CDCR is following up on this to fix the problem.
Some institutions’ metal detectors seem to be overly sensitive. Question concerning the calibration, can it be turned down and how often is it checked. The machines are not really checked yearly, but rather when needed or when they act up, however, a call into maintenance has been made to clarify this. If the detector acts up or fails during processing, the visitors are to be wanded by a same sex officer. Complaints of strip searches happening due to a metal detector going off when walking through it. CDCR is looking into the policy and will get something out when finished.
Lubricant is not allowed in several institutions. The item is clear and you can see through it so Statewide is asking for clarification. Every institution has the option to adjust the list, lubricant should be allowed and CDCR is updating the procedures. CDCR is trying to standardize the list of approved items that can be brought in, they will look at blankets and sheets as well. Statewide asked for the general list of allowable items.
CDCR is looking into certain cases of family suspension of family visits due to questionable contraband due to possible employee oversight.
SIFC requests ‘standby visit’ line on family visit form be removed because it is nearly never done. CDCR cannot remove lines off any form without proper protocol being met. Statewide IFC would like clarification between the verbiage ‘wait list’ and ‘standby’.
SAC is still down with no visits due to the water damage during the last storms. The damage was major and it is being worked on. Visiting is important and CDCR wants to get visiting back to normal as soon as possible.
Some facilities do not have walk-in visiting. CDCR said all institutions should have walk-in visits, and it is being investigated.
Statewide requests future training opportunities for local IFCs. CDCR agrees that it would be a good idea.