SIFC Quarterly Visiting Workgroup – November 2019
SIFC Visiting Workgroup, November 1, 2019
Visiting Funds Update:
Starting the weekend of 11-2-2019 and 11-3-2019, visiting funds are increased to $70 per visiting adult and $40 for each visiting child. Thank you to CDCR Administration for approving this much needed increase.
At prisons where vending cards are used, up to $350 per card (5 visiting adults) will be allowed.
Visiting Handbook Update:
Revisions to the Visiting Handbook have been made and will be submitted for administrative review. SIFC submitted suggestions for that revision but have not reviewed the new document. During this meeting, the SIFC and CDCR did discuss several issues:
- Layered clothing is acceptable as long as it does not present an escape risk.
- Leggings are allowed if worn with a long tunic or dress that extends long enough to cover contours of backside.
- Children under 36 inches tall are not restricted to color and material restrictions visitors over 36 inches are subject to. However, the clothing still needs to be appropriate for the visiting room setting.
- Clothing colors:
- Blue chambray and blue denim are not allowed; clothing can be navy blue.
- Clothes that resemble correctional officer uniforms is not allowed.
- Solid orange clothing is allowed as long as solid orange tops and solid orange pants are not worn together at the same time.
SIFC expressed concern that although clothing standards have been established, some prisons continue to have their own rules. This is a work in progress with turnover of visiting staff and different understandings of the requirements. Administration requested names of specific institutions who continue to have restrictions in addition to statewide standards so that those institutions could be addressed individually.
SIFC requested CDCR make standardization easier by using a poster with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) as well as photos of clothing that is allowed and not allowed. CDCR will work to create a new poster for all institutions that can be posted in the visitor processing area as well as on all bulletin boards, websites, etc. for everyone’s reference.
CDCR is working with Business Enterprise (BEP) to discuss vending prices and quality. CDCR is also hoping to change the contract language so that price gouging cannot occur.
Increased Visiting Hours:
SIFC, among other groups, has requested an increase in visiting hours particularly for heavily visited prisons. CDCR is currently evaluating the cost associated with increasing visiting hours to determine what would be feasible. SIFC requested updates as the process progresses and thanked Administration for recognizing the value of visiting for family reunification.
Family Visiting Questions:
- Frequency of family visits
CDCR strives to afford family visits for eligible prisoners in Privilege Group A at least once every 90 days. Eligible inmates in Privilege Group B can request a family visit once every 6 months.
- If a prisoner is cleared for a family visit but has a pending CDCR 115 Rule Violation Report, will the scheduled family visit still take place?
A pending CDCR 115 Rule Violation Report may effect an inmate’s eligibility for family visits. If a guilty finding for the pending CDCR 115 Rule Violation Report would result in a loss or restriction of family visiting privileges or would result in an inmate being made close custody, then the family visit may be canceled pending completion of the hearing. If a guilty finding would not impact an inmate’s family visiting privileges or increase their custody status, then the visit should be allowed to take place even if the hearing is not complete.
- If an inmate is approved for family visiting privileges at one institution, but then is transferred to another institution and has a CDCR 115 Rules Violation Report pending, will the inmate be able to have family visits at the new institution?
Whenever an inmate is transferred to a new institution, they have to be re-evaluated for family visiting privileges. Refer to the answer to letter B above regarding family visiting eligibility when an inmate has a pending CDCR 115 Rule Violation Report.
- Can institutions have a stand-by list for family visiting so that if there is a last minute cancellation, another family be scheduled?
Currently, institutions are not authorized to maintain a stand-by list for cancelled family visits. CDCR is considering adding a stand-by procedure when a family visit is canceled more than 30 days before the date. One of the biggest concerns with implementing a “stand-by” family visiting process is purchasing food, which requires adequate funds in the inmate’s account and time for the grocery store to fill the order. CDCR will keep the SIFC updated on any decision to add a “stand-by” process.
- Photos during Non-Contact Visiting:
SIFC requested that photos be allowed during non-contact visiting statewide. CDCR will take this request into consideration.