SIFC Quarterly Meeting Minutes – February 2020

Statewide Inmate Family Council / CDCR Meeting Minutes February 7, 2020

“The time is always right to do what is right” Dr. Martin Luther King

Amy Miller has taken another position and will no longer be the SIFC facilitator. Tammy Foss has taken her place and Gordon Wong chaired this meeting. Session was called to order at 1 p.m.

I. Programming Yards Update

A. With policy change will established NDPY continue?

NDPF (Non-Designated Programming Facility) yards will continue as established. Currently 120 facilities with approximately 44,000 inmates are on NDPF yards. They are being monitored and there are no systemic problems. There is no plan to expand the program to the rest of the Level II yards.

When an inmate qualifies for transfer to a lower level that factor is reviewed by committee for placement. A CDCR115 may be issued for refusal to accept the transfer to an NDPF or for not programming once there.

B. Update on Progressive Programming Facilities?
These are still in transition. Currently there are three (3) Progressive Programming Facilities. They include the following: C Yard at CCI with 550 participants, A Yard at LAC with 900 and A Yard at Solano with 880. The next yard to be converted to Progressive Programming will be A Yard (SNY) at High Desert State Prison with 750 participants.

They are actively recruiting for volunteers for these yards. These are Level III yards.

II. Corcoran Modified Program: Update on Resolution

A bifurcated program is being used on 3C. Currently, visiting is being rotated between two groups on Saturday and Sunday. The following weekend this is reversed.

This has heavily impacted visiting with denials, overcrowding and terminations. This is being reviewed to lessen the impact.

CTF is also using bifurcated programs to address similar programming issues.

III. Family Visiting Funds: Update on electronic deposit for funds

Internal processes need to be changed as well as forms. The contract language has been revised and will go out to three (3) EFT vendors for bid. Vendors also need to make technology changes and then test them.

IV. Electronic Devices:

A) Update on Tablets and other devices

The Penal Code must be changed to allow possession.

This is still a trial program and at this point there is no plan to expand it.

Beginning February 19, 2020 there will be access to legal research (LexisNexis)

B) AZTEC Cloud

AZTEC is a virtual environment. Testing is expected to get underway in April. The primary focus will be on rehabilitation and educational programs. There will be continuity across all facilities allowing inmates to pick up where they left off after a transfer instead of having to start over again or wait for a space in a program.

Currently it is accessible to Aztec Lab users in the educational programs. In the future there will be other vendors and their resources will be added. At that time the program will be renamed.

V. Dietary Changes

A) Continued appreciation for more fresh food choices

There has been much appreciation from the inmates for the new food on the menus

B) Any information on new vendor selected for next year

A new kosher contract was in place beginning January.

Sources of food may be by contract or delegation. Facilities may use local sources. Lunch meal may be made in-house or bought (delegation).

The dietary selections are constantly being reviewed for nutritional value and changed to meet likes and dislikes as well

C) Results of Statewide vendor survey   

There have been no negative comments received on the new suppliers.

VI. Telephones

A) Installation of additional 1000 phones update

Twenty-three (23) facilities have been completed with 806 phones installed. Six (6) more facilities in progress with 305 completed so far. There are seven (7) more facilities with an additional 199 phones to be installed.

B) Static and underwater calls have been reported throughout the state, possible solutions?

GTL has been working on upgrading the circuits (three to five a week) and rebalancing the servers. This should reduce the overload on the existing circuits and cut down interference and poor call quality.

Alternative companies using names similar to GTL are still soliciting families to switch to a third-party service. This adds additional costs  to the families

C)  Out of state rate decrease.

With modern technology and digital equipment calls to an out-of-state area code should not be three times the in-state rate. There has not been a decrease in those type of calls in a number of years. GTL should also be showing the tax percentage that is added to a call on their information sheets. It is currently almost 25% which adds a considerable amount to your bill.

CDCR states that 95% of the calls from California prisons go to California area codes. The last decrease was negotiated to affect the most people. The taxes are set by local phone calls with the exception of the Universal Service Fund (this quarter, 21.2%) which is set quarterly on a national basis. This accounts for most of the tax portion added to the bill.

The current GTL contract ends May 30, 2021 and interstate rates will be reviewed at that time for a possible reduction.

VII. Institution Repairs

A) Update on repairs

A handout was provided and is attached to these minutes (PENDING).

An augmentation was made to the budget for facility maintenance.

This is to include preventative maintenance. Much of the emphasis has been on needed roof repairs. Repairs are prioritized according to urgency and most are being or have been done this fiscal year. Much of the labor is being done by inmates in programs to provide skills and experience. Some amounts have been budgeted for the next several years and additional amounts have been requested for the rest of the repairs.

B) Avenal Reports of no hot water and water shortage

Water use and shower restrictions were lifted February 5, 2020. There was a contract issue there that affected this. There is hot water again.

VIII.  Budget Update

This item was not addressed. Removed from agenda before the meeting.

IX. Item 1170(d)

A) Proposed new regulations are out excluding the LWOP Population, why is CDCR changing the way the law was written?

The part of the Penal Code which addresses the exclusion of LWOP inmates is 1170(a)(3) which states, “Nothing in this article shall affect any provision of law that imposes the death penalty, that authorizes or restricts the granting of probation or suspending  the execution or imposition of sentence, or expressly provides for imprisonment in the state prison for life, except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d).

A multi-page handout was given, Recall & Resentencing Recommendation Program (Penal Code section 1170 (d)(1) which explains the process for inmates to be referred to this program. (See attached handout – PENDING)

A handout was also given listing the different credits that may be applied under Proposition 57. (This will be available on the CDCR SIFC site- PENDING).

B) Update on cases pending review

There have been 1,408 referrals for review. There have been 882 court responses. Of these, 399 have been rejections.

Of the changes granted there has been a reduction of more than 1,747 years in time to be served.

X. SIFC Updates

A) Update Bylaws – Local IFC Bylaws have not been updated since 2008

This was addressed in the Visiting Workgroup meeting. SIFC will submit proposed language changes for approval.

B) We appreciate receiving current contact information for local IFC’s

IFC membership is constantly changing and we continue to need updates.

C) SIFC should be considered primary communication line for information coming from headquarters to families and other visitors as well as those incarcerated.

We shouldn’t be getting info second or third hand.

Information will be sent to SIFC members for distribution to local IFCs and other groups.

The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.
The next meeting will be held May 1, 2020.