Quarterly Minutes

SIFC Quarterly Meeting Minutes – May 2023

May 5, 2023, 1 p.m.

SIFC members in attendance: Beth Hall, Allison Walters, Clara Garcia, Cindy Jackson, Hannah Yang, and Staci Phillips.

Meeting was brought to order by Deputy Director Jared Lozano.  Meeting was facilitated by Associate Warden Dan Ross. In attendance: Associate Director Jennifer Benevidez, Correctional Counselor II Michael MaGee, and Lieutenant Theresa Ross.


CDCR work groups are currently updating Form 7385. The goal is to eliminate the expiration date as soon as possible. Dr. Bick said once the form is ready, they hope to circle it back to SIFC for review prior to finalizing.

Prostate cancer screening: The reason this screening is not automatically done is because doctors evaluate the person to see if the screening would have a benefit that outweighs the potential harm that the screening could cause. Prostate cancer screening is controversial amongst the cancer and urology experts who feel the potential side effects could be more damaging to the body than the treatment. For this reason, Dr. Bick feels it should be a conversation between the clinician and the patient. It should be an individualized decision. The clinician should explain the process, take the patient through all that is available including possible side effects and risks prior to making any decisions.

Institution Water Concerns

Water quality in the Stockton area is in question. CHCF representatives spoke about recent and past water concerns. In 2019, CHCF had two confirmed cases of legionnaires disease. CDCR performed hyper chlorination on the water system, put filters in and started monthly testing along with monthly flushing of the water system. In January of this year, the Stockton water district said the water had heightened levels of trihalomethanes, (THMs), after again testing they found the hot water still had traces of legionnaires. It was decided to continue to pass out a gallon of water per day per person, to both incarcerated and staff. CHCF is currently holding town-hall meetings with the IACs and allowing them to ask questions and to keep them informed. People were informed not to use the tap water to wash their face or brush their teeth. No one is turned down for asking for extra water, if someone requests water, it will be provided. Water is filtered in visiting. The water for the prison is not well water, but rather from Stockton’s water source.

ARCAID Presentation

ARCAID, (Automated Rehabilitative Catalog and Information Discovery). The purpose for the ARCAID app is to have a plethora of resources gathered in one place for those who are recently released and those getting ready to be released out into the community from an institution. CDCR interviewed many people including incarcerated folks to see what they needed and what type of resources should be gathered. Currently ARCAID is on 3.0 version and it is in its infancy. They plan on partnering with DAPO. It is currently available on the CDCR website and available to the public. Vendors can post jobs or resources on the website. Transitional housing is also listed. There is a link for common forms and documents in English and Spanish when available. Under the identification tab they can look up how to get a Social Security card. The link takes them to the SS website to print and fill out the application form. ARCAID is or will be available in the institution’s library, education department, and on the tablets. All resources have been vetted and will continue to be vetted as time goes on to have current information available. They are looking into adding a resource for California ID. Currently there is no filter to make sure all the job listings will hire felons. The goal is to add this type of filter in the future.

Headphones and Microphones

The incarcerated population would like the ability to purchase replacement headphones with a microphone for tablets. CDCR reported they will become available in the package catalogs in January 2024.

VSA Video Link Issue

It has been reported that actual appointment times have conflicted with the appointment confirmations for video visits. It is something that has happened sporadically at the local institutions and CDCR believes it has been fixed.

GTL Issues

Visitors say when they call GTL for problems, they are put on extremely long holds. Families are told by GTL that their problem is an institution issue but the institutions claim they are GTL issues. SIFC needs to know whose job is whose, so we can give guidance to the families that come to us for these issues. CDCR informed that if the problem is regarding tablets and connectivity, it is a GTL/ViaPath issue. If the issue is with VSA and visiting appointments the institution is to contact headquarters and they will work directly with ViaPath. Incarcerated people can also report issues with the tablets at the kiosk and submit a ticket. As far as visiting goes, go through the institution. Visitors that need to report tablet or phone issue should go through the Getting Out phone line, 866-516-0115.


The visiting appointment confirmation notices still state that proof of vaccination is needed. This is currently being removed.


When setting up an account and after making a deposit the first message won’t go through. The prompt states there is no money on the account. When families call the Getting Out phone number they are required to go through a verifying process before their money is usable. The process is different for each caller. Some are asked for their name, phone number, and email address, and then the problem is fixed. Other people are asked for their name, phone number, email, and then asked for an unfiltered photo of themselves, a picture of the person’s ID, front and back, and the last 4 digits of their SS number. Why is such sensitive information being asked for and collected? Ken Martin asked for specific instances so they can investigate why that is happening. SIFC said this is not a onetime happening, it is happening everywhere. CDCR will take that back and work on the problem.

Pending photos and pending messages 1st watch staff have has been tasked with approving the photos and messages in the institutions. SIFC asked if there is a better way we can try and make our photos to go through. Some have reported screen shots work when photos do not. Why do some receive notification sounds on phone and some do not CDCR will ask ViaPath to look into this.

Refunds for photos are not being received. Some people have received small amounts of money without explanation, and these people are assuming they are refunds. GTL decided to give out a flat rate refund because they can’t figure out how much should go to each person. That flat rate was not disclosed.

New high quality printers will be sent to each prison soon, no eta as of now.

Incarcerated people can see their tablet balance, but not their trust fund balance on their tablets.

Tablet hours of use. Who decides and sets the hours of use for the tablets? CDCR said the Wardens set this. This includes the video chats. Concerning the video chats, SIFC asked why some families can’t have a video chat on Saturdays. After checking, CDCR/GTL found it is because of an error on GTL’s side and it has been fixed. There should not be a problem with scheduling video chats on Saturdays now.

An inactive account will cause the family member to lose their money. GTL put out a notice that if you do not use your account for 180 days, the account will be closed and you will lose your money. CDCR said GTL told them the family member only has to call them to reopen the account and ask for a refund. SIFC asked why can’t the account stay active for as long as the person is incarcerated? In some instances distant family members may not use the feature unless it is the loved one’s birthday, Christmas, etc… Why would they have to call to reactivate and get a refund? CDCR / GTL will look further into this.

Dropped calls. Various things happen, silence without any speaking at all until GTL finally kicks in, family members get other people on the line, not their loved one, the call drops completely, etc. This happens more as the ‘busy’ hours happen, when many people are on the line. When the tablets are first rolled out, this happens as well. GTL is in the process of augmenting the service and this action should help with these types of problems.

The incarcerated may not have access to their tablets or content 24 hours a day. When problems occur the population should put a request, (Ticket), in, at the kiosk. Different institutions have different problems. There is supposed to be 2 GTL people at each prison, however, that is not always the case. Once a case is reported to GTL, they create a case and that is the first part in fixing issues. They then have a support group that vets issues, they decide if the problem is fixable, what type of fix, IT, hardware, physical issue, etc. Once it is determined how to fix it, then they move forward to correct the problem.

Do the tablets work in family visiting? Negative, due to needed infrastructure not being put into the family visiting units.

Prison Closures & Yard Deactivation Updates

Deuel and CCC have been closed. California City will close by the end of 2023 and Chuckawalla will close by end of March of 2025. There are six additional facilities/yards that are deactivating on schedule.

Level II Movement

Families are concerned that all level II’s are going to be moved into NDPF. CDCR said currently Folsom and CAC have level II GP’s. SIFC asked if all level II’s will be forced to go to an NDPF, CDCR responded, not at this time. SIFC asked if there is any tracking on the violence that has resulted from these moves and/or from NDPF yards? CDCR said the NDPF yards are the least violent. SIFC stated the violence has increased in Avenal, SCC, and Mule Creek. CDCR had no comment.

Storm Damage Update

Visiting areas at institutions with flood/roof damage are doing hybrid visits with another yard so everyone gets visits. The visits are shorter. Some roofs had such severe damage they are still being worked on.

Central valley prisons flooding updates. Corcoran and SATF- CDCR is working with the local Wardens and local authorities in Kings County and Office of Emergency Services concerning possible flooding and there is a plan set in place should flooding becomes a reality.

Olsen Review Concerns

There is concern that an incarcerated person could possibly view their visitor’s personal information during an Olsen Review. CDCR assures SIFC this would not happen. No incarcerated person can see this information. They would not be allowed on any computer that has the function to access SOMS.

CDCR Requests SIFC’s Input On Increasing TransMetro Ridership

CDCR wants to increase ridership on TransMetro buses for visiting. They have posted schedules and information to the webpages and added flyers at the institutions. SIFC suggested also sending the information to the incarcerated population via their tablets. As problems arise concerning the bus trips they are being addressed. CDCR’s goal is to bring more families to visiting.