SIFC Quarterly Meeting Minutes – May 2019

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 p.m. by Connie Gipson, Director.

There was a brief overview discussion of changes to Prop 57 credits and RAC credits to clarify the difference, including which are retroactive and which may have excess earned credits banked for the future. That information is to be posted on the CDCR website and on the SIFC site. (Handout attached to minutes)


Programming Yards – Status Update

All minimum yards and all Level II yards (with the exception of those with shared services, primary medical and EOP) have transitioned. 41,000 inmates are currently programming on NDPFs.

Inmates that refuse to program are being removed from the NDPFs. These seem to be inmates who do not want to give up gang/racial structure and younger inmates. Any violence is cause for immediate removal.

Some facilities have slightly modified the integration process to prevent altercations.

A number of incidents are still being reported to IFC and SIFC members.


California Out of State Correctional Facility (COCF)

Approximately 750 inmates remain in Arizona. No inmates remain in Mississippi. The remaining AZ inmates are currently being returned to CA and that movement is expected to be completed by July 1, 2019.

Level II inmates are being considered for transition to NDPF yards. Level III inmates are being classified for appropriate housing.


Enhanced Drug Interdiction

Lack of consistency in the removal of shoes and belts during processing was discussed. Direction will be given to staff that all visitors’ shoes and belts will be removed for processing. Staff are not required to removed shoes or belts due to time constraints but do process through the scanner. SATF is the only institution at which staff is allowed to wear their vests on the outside of their uniform to expedite processing.

There are two types of scanning processes. Items being brought into the institution are processed through a “baggage scanner”. People are processed through a “millimeter wave” scanner. To protect privacy of the images those scans are viewed in a separate, adjacent room.


Family Visiting

All training has been completed for the new regulations. Inmates should be submitting applications to their counselor to be reviewed on a case by case basis. They must be discipline free for 5 years if they were a minor at the time of the commitment offense and ten years if they were an adult at the time of the commitment offense. They must be participating in self-help programs. Once reviewed it goes to committee for approval. The process is expected to take approximately 30 days. If denied it can be appealed.

The specifics of the new regulations may be found on the CCDR website under Recently Adopted Regulation.


Food Sales

Twelve facilities are still actively doing food sales with the use of volunteers and some staff donating time before/after their work hours. Five or six additional facilities have food sales scheduled for the next 30 to 60 days. Food sales are not prohibited, but self-help sponsor funds are not allowed to be used for them. (Memo attached to minutes)

There will be a CRM (Community Resource Manager) conference call in the near future to share ideas and what has been working to get volunteers and creative coordination.

Local IFC participation was disallowed for safety and security reasons, but that may be revisited for the transportation of some items.


Update on Training of Visiting Staff

A finalized “Lesson Plan” will be submitted by this next Friday. Approval and any changes should be done in approximately a week. The training will take place on a Saturday (date to be determined) for all Visiting Staff. It will include visitor processing as customer service, more consistency in the visiting processing statewide and using visiting as a positive force in rehabilitation.

Part of the training will be education on the IFC: what is the IFC, who are your IFC members, IFC member identification to visitors and what the IFC can do to resolve problems and issues that affect visitors and families.

CDCR would like to include video/voice vignettes of visitors talking about their visiting experiences, both good and bad, and will send out a questionnaire to solicit participants.


General Visiting Concern

Visiting remains a key to good family relations. Over 700,000 visits are processed annually. A key aspect to be emphasized to staff is to remember that visitors are civilians and are to be treated with respect. Part of the training mentioned above will include how to handle difficult situations with patience, understanding the other side and de-escalation.

The Visitor Handbook will be going through a revision and updating to provided current information to visitors on regulations, rules and expectations. SIFC will be reaching out to local IFCs to get more useful info posted in processing areas.


Facility Repair/Upkeep

There is currently a study in progress on the “Original Twelve” prisons and what repairs and maintenance needs to be done to them. The study includes a comparison of relocation/refurbishment costs.

There are current budgets set aside for facilities and improvements (i.e., roofs, fire systems). Facility maintenance is under consideration for all prisons. Inmate labor is used for the repair and maintenance as part of the Prison to Employment program and the apprenticeship programs for plumbers, construction, electricians and plant ops. These programs are available in both men’s and women’s prisons (varies from facility to facility). Wardens will have information on what repairs have been approved.

Currently no additional funds are being sought to refurbish existing family visiting units or construct additional Family Visiting units since most inmates in Work Group/Privilege Group A1A have access to a Family Visit approximately every 90 days.

*** The following information was provided by Dean Borg, Deputy Director, Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division after the SIFC meeting***

Due to the age of our prisons, many have structural issues that need to be addressed; some much more serious than others. 

Regarding prioritization of funding, the main focus is addressing regulatory concerns (notices of non-compliance) and repairing conditions that are impacting housing or the provision of services such as rehabilitative programming, health care or kitchen/dining.  The chart attached shows large, multi-building roof replacement projects and the prioritization for these projects.  CDCR is actively seeking funding so that these projects can be completed. Roof Replacement Chart

In addition, there are other one or two building roof replacement projects currently in design or construction at a wide number of prisons.


 SIFC Communication

Interaction with the local facility IFCs will expedite the dissemination of information from the state level. The SIFC is expected to act as a conduit of valid information and to communicate systemic local issues to headquarters. Solutions to issues should be proposed. The expected resolution will be considered and the responses should be, No, with reason/explanation or Yes, with the ability to move forward and take action.

If there is an ineffective or non-functioning local IFC, it can be requested that the SIFC intercede to improve the IFC/Facility relationship. The Ombudsman may be asked to sit in to facilitate communication between staff and members.

SIFC is planning on rolling out regional seminars. Dates and locations are being worked on so that guests may be asked to present informational topics.

SIFC requested that minutes from SIFC meetings be approved and posted within 30 days.


Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) of Inmate Deposits Vendor Presentations.

Both JPay and Keefe/Access presented information on depositing funds to inmate trust accounts through their systems. Both companies have a variety of ways to add funds to an account including online website, phone app, toll free phone number and MoneyGram. JPay also accepts money orders. Both have sliding fees schedules depending on the amount of money deposited. Informational flyers should be posted at all prisons.

Meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.

A brief “roundtable” discussion took place after the meeting lead by Amy Miller addressing topics which may be brought up in upcoming work groups and SIFC meetings.