SIFC Quarterly Meeting Minutes – February 2019
Statewide Inmate Family Council Meeting Minutes Friday, February 1, 2019
The SIFC meeting was brought to order by Connie Gipson, Director (A) at 1:00 p.m.
Introductions were made of CDCR staff and SIFC members. One SIFC member has resigned and two were absent for excused personal reasons.
Director Gipson introduced the representatives from GTL, Michael Patterson and Christopher Ditto.
GTL has recently been added as a contract provider for Trust Account deposits. GTL staff explained the change in name to ConnectNetwork, presented their new website and showed the features available to add funds to inmate trust accounts (https://web.connectnetwork.com/trust-cdcr).
GTL staff discussed how third-party vendor offers frequently seen online solicit families to sign up for cheaper/unlimited calling plans to inmates. The vendors usually have very similar names to the authorized providers. GTL staff explained that these plans assign a phone number to receive calls but do not pay for the billing of the actual call itself.
GTL staff responded to questions regarding cut-off calls and poor transmission. GTL staff also explained which portions of the phone equipment GTL is responsible for and which portions CDCR maintains. GTL stated they respond promptly to maintenance requests after receiving work orders. Inmates should report any problems immediately to building staff so a work order may be generated.
III. Programming Yards
Dennis Halverson presented the current status of the NDPF transition. There are 33,000 NDPF beds available and 31,000 NDPF inmates. In the last three months, the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) has completed transition and Avenal State Prison (ASP) transition is ongoing. Four (4) more facilities will be transitioning by March or April. This will impact approximately 6,000 inmates.
At this time there is no figure for the number of inmates who have been transferred back out of NDPFs because of violent/predatory behaviors.
The possible transfer of LWOP inmates to NDPFs was clarified. If an LWOP is given a behavioral override they may be sent to a Level II NDPF with a secure perimeter fence.
The transfer of inmates from out-of-state facilities back to in-state facilities is currently 2 underway. There are 500-800 Level II inmates that will be evaluated for transfer to NDPFs.
IV. Enhanced Drug Interdiction
At this time the randomization factor at SATF is set at 30%. The scanner used to process
visitors/staff is a Millimeter Wave scanner similar to those used in airports. It does not seem to be affecting visitor processing times. This is a two-year pilot program and no expansion is expected until the pilot is completed.
SIFC asked why staff keep belts and shoes on going through the scanner and questioned the possibility of contraband not showing a description of what the operator sees on the initial pass was given and when a secondary scan is required, a more detailed view is provided to the operator.
SOMS access and provisioning is granted to staff according to their job requirements. Information accessed on SOMS is recorded and linked to the staff’s login information.
V. Family Visiting (FV)
Amy Miller, Associate Director, FOPS will request copies of FV menus and allowed items at all facilities so that they may be compared and a standard list established for all prisons. The practice of buying FV food from local markets may require contract negotiation which may affect the availability of fresh foods.
SIFC will create a proposal for “facility–provided” strollers for visiting. Possibilities include umbrella strollers or the bases that baby carriers fit on.
The SIFC noted some family visits are canceled due to insufficient funds for lack of a small amount in the inmate’s trust fund. There was discussion about identifying a, amount of money that could be set aside and act like a small overdraft account.
The SIFC believes the Trust Withdrawal (Form 193) could be improved by the addition of two (2) check boxes on the form indicating what funds should be used for family visiting. (see attached)
B. Is FV Approval Transferable
An inmate must reapply for Family visiting after a transfer to a new facility. This is primarily done to review any changes in the inmate’s case factors since transfer. However, this is also necessary because of the differences in security features at each institution.
C. Family Visiting Regulations
Family Visiting is offered on a first come/first serve basis. There may be some variance in individual scheduling due to the ability of the family members to be there on certain 3 dates. Applications should be date stamped by the FV staff to indicate the order they are received. Per the DOM there is no standby visiting. Under normal circumstances, an inmate in Privilege Group A should be able to get a family visit approximately every 90 days.
An implementation memorandum regarding the family visiting regulation changes went out to staff February 1, 2019. Training is expected to be completed within thirty (30) days. These changes afford some inmates a case-by-case review for family visiting privileges. These changes also include loss of family visits for some rule violations, including possession of a cell phone or a weapon. In addition, previous inmates with previous rule violations for distribution of a controlled substances inside a correctional facility will be allowed to apply for family visiting and future violations will result in loss of family visiting privileges for the first and second offense, with permanent exclusion after a third offense. A copy of the regulation changes is attached for your reference.
VI. Milestone and Rehabilitative Achievement Credits and Matrix
Beginning May 1, 2019, six (6) months of Milestone credit will be given for passing the GED. This will be applied retroactively. Inmates will continue to get six (6) months of Milestone credit for other degree programs such as AA, BA, etc.
There were no major changes in the Rehabilitative Achievement Credit (RAC) matrix. The next expected update is in June. However, an inmate will soon be credited ten (10) days for every fifty two (52) hours of participation in a RAC approved program, equating to forty (40) days per year. Any hours in excess of 208 will roll over into the next year.
Credit earning will be automated in SOMS with notification sent to the inmate as the credits are awarded.
VII. Food Sales
The Wardens would like to see these brought back and are working on possible solutions to the requirement they may not be assisted by self-help sponsors while those sponsors are on duty. Other alternatives include CRMs, religious and other volunteers to help inside the facility. There is also the possibility of reaching out to the recipients/beneficiaries of the food sales for help in bring the food items to the prison.
Narcan (Naloxone) is being made more readily available statewide. Effective February 1, 2019, it will be carried by all First Watch Sergeants.
The Medical Workgroup will be meeting on the same day as the quarterly SIFC meeting to facilitate attendance.
IX. Photo Books
A memo was issued January 29, 2019, authorizing the receipt of soft cover photo books through the mail from third-party vendors. 4
X. GTL Phone Interruptions
The thirty (30) second warning notice has been removed. Only a sixty (60) second announcement will be made. The volume of the random recording announcements will be adjusted so there is less interruption of the conversation.
XI. SIFC Communications
The new page is up on the CDCR site, https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/sifc/. Available on this page will be SIFC members with the contact info, minutes and FAQs with links to additional information sources such as Title 15, DOM and memorandums.
Meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.