LIFE SUPPORT ALLIANCE
* * publisher of CLN * *
TOP 10 QUESTIONS ON FAMILY VISITS FOR LIFERS
1. Yes, family visits for lifers (and LWOP) have been reinstated after 20 years.
2. No, they have not begun yet, prisons waiting for the official memo that tells them how to proceed, and how to qualify for visits. Memo due any day.
3. Yes, you must be legally married or immediate family to qualify, girl friend or fiance is not immediate family; parents (step parents too), spouse, siblings, etc. qualify.
4. You must fill out a family visiting form that the prisoner must get from the prison and be approved for family visits; some counselors are handing out the forms but not yet accepting them back (see #2 above) and some are not--try to be patient and keep asking.
5. Yes, there are some crimes or in-prison behaviors that will be screened out, waiting for those guidelines now.
6. Even when visits begin there will be a waiting period, as there are only a limited number of family visiting units, already a waiting list for visits and we've just thrown several thousand more participants into the mix.
7. Yes, we are positive this is happening--this was confirmed by and discussed with the Undersecretary for Operations and the Director of Adult Institutions, at CDCR in Sacramento, face-to-face..we don't make this stuff up.
8. No, I can't tell you why some counselors and prisons are still denying it, but remember, we're dealing with CDCR here; when was the last time they made anything easy.
9. No, I can't tell you if your individual prisoner will qualify due to his past or crime--we can only guess.
10. As we find out more details and solid info we'll post it--please don't continue to email asking if there is anymore word...when we get it, it will be posted ASAP.
FROM LIFE SUPPORT ALLIANCE
BIG NEWS! WOW!! Better than we hoped! (Posted Friday, July 1)
Just left a meeting at CDCR with the Director of Adult Institutions--here's the huge and wonderful news. She expects family visits for lifers to begin 'soon,' hopefully as soon as the next few months, and LWOP IS included in family visits. There are some exclusions--no close custody inmates, no one with a 290 conviction or history of domestic violence.
Availability will also be an issue, as the budget does not have any funds to rehabilitate, reclaim from other uses or build new family visiting units, so family visiting will be prime resource, as many of the former family visiting areas are now used for other purposes.
But lifers and families will soon be able to have real family time.
Not sure how long in 'soon' but the intent is certainly to get things moving. An official memo outlining procedures and policies is expected within a week and we've asked for a copy.
For the first time--we're saying spread the gossip! It's real!!!
(Posted Thursday, July 7) UP DATE ON FAMILY VISITING FOR LIFERS AND LWOP--YES. Family visits for lifers and LWOPs are coming. We've had several messages saying these have already been 'enacted' and wanting to know why not at every prison..the answer is that they have been 'enacted' only in that the budget containing money for restoration has been approved and signed, but they have not yet begun to happen.
As to when--after meeting with the Undersecretary for Operations, the Director of Adult Institutions and the Deputy Director of DAPO today the word is...dunno yet. CDCR legal has not yet concluded whether this can be done via policy/memo (about 3 months) or must be a regulation change (about 6 months), but the prevailing opinion at present is that it will be a regulation change.
As for whether or not your inmate will qualify...that will be on case-by-case at times, but basically the requirements for family visiting are set out in Title 15, Secton 3177 especially Section 3177 (b) (1). Immediate family members including children, step-children, parents, siblings and grandparents are included in FAMILY visits as well as spouses. And yes, you must be legally married or a registered domestic partner.
This is the preliminary criteria, which will be evaluated in each case and can be modified, as things progress.
All counselors and wardens are now aware of this change and should be ready shortly with forms for you to fill out If you are in doubt about whether or not your inmate will be eligible, submit the form, if the answer is no, begin the 602 appeal process and make your case.
We can't stress enough that this will be a time consuming process, as there is already a wait of 2-3 months for family visits because of few facilities, and now there are suddenly several hundred/ or thousands of inmates eligible. So you won't be getting your visit next weekend, or the next or the next--but it WILL happen. Everyone at CDC Headquarters is fully and completely behind this new move and it will be system-wide--no prison or warden will be allowed to opt out.
There are more changes coming regarding custody levels and points and as these changes roll out we'll post what they are and when effective.
And now a word from the sponsor--we are a donation-driven non-profit staffed by full-time unpaid volunteers---any donations are greatly appreciated and help us maintain the level of work we do on all things lifer!
Bottom line, yes, lifers AND LWOP will see family visits, by the end of the year is the target date, if not sooner. It's real, it's happening and it's coming your way.