P.O. Box 340371Sacramento, Ca. 95834
To: California Department of Corrections and
Fax #: (916) 341-7366
Date: July 30, 2007
The UNION (United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect) strongly objects to the proposed change by CDC(r) to the Title 15 Subsection 3173.2 to lower the standard of the constitutionally understood and clearly defined term of "Probable Cause" to a lower unclear and ill-defined term, "Reasonable Suspicion." This change defies logic and puts both visitors and staff in potentially dangerous situations. The stated purpose of the change is to prevent introduction of "contraband" into the institutions, and the CDC(r) claims that "no alternative considered would be more effective."
The standard of “reasonable suspicion” will invite inexperienced guards to conduct more frequent strip searches of visitors. A strip search is a degrading and traumatizing experience that rarely turns up any contraband. Even in those extremely rare cases where drugs are found on members of the public, the quantities have been miniscule. The extreme embarrassment and indignant intrusion of a strip search by guards, who by definition do not meet the qualifications of police officers, is inviting confrontation and lawsuits.
Further, there are guards, such as Sgt. K. Nuckles at Salinas Valley Prison, who have been known to be extremely rude and intimidating. Sgt. Nuckles has had numerous complaints filed on her but is still allowed to terrorize visitors, and she is but one who will predictably abuse this discretion to the maximum. Clearly, CDC(r) cannot control the guards in visiting even with the current stronger standard of “probable cause” in place. Female guards are rarely feminine women with whom the visitors feel comfortable, and there have been numerous reports to the UNION about inappropriate touching and comments made during strip searches. Having dogs at the check-in for both guards and visitors is a better idea.
This rules change does not address any real problem. It is very widely known and documented that vendors and guards bring in the large quantities of drugs and other contraband, not the friends and family members of prisoners. The focus should be on a solution to this problem. The proposed change in basis for strip searches clearly sidesteps the real problem and goes off in a wrongheaded and punitive direction.
The metal detector machines are intimidating enough and so sensitive that they pick up a bra hook; so it is impossible to get a cell phone or weapon past the current screening process. The new metal detector at Salinas Valley is not large enough to accommodate overweight people. It gives off a “beep” that only the guards can see. This encourages arbitrary enforcement of a “three-beeps-and-you’re-terminated-for-the-day” policy.
The Supreme Court has ruled in cases concerning Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion and seems to have resolved it to everyone's satisfaction years ago. Simply put Probable Cause protects the officer if the party is found not guilty and Reasonable Suspicion does not. The Supreme Court has addressed its concerns to police officers as a caution to not go beyond the degree a court-ordered warrant provides. An untrained guard, who has no authority to arrest, does not have such protection and risks being brought up on charges when visitors -- civilians who do not leave their constitutional rights at the prison gate -- feel violated by a thorough strip search for a vague "suspicion."
As far as the claim that "no alternative considered would be more effective," it takes little imagination to provide a few for consideration. First and foremost, all packages and personnel, including prison employees and packages addressed to them, should be subject to search. Recently, 1,000 cell phones were discovered inside prison walls. A CDC(r) spokesman said how they got in was a "mystery." Since visitors are screened through a metal detector that is sensitive enough to detect the miniscule amount of metal in a bra hook, it is highly improbable these phones came in through visiting. They also could not have come in through quarterly packages or special purchase since these only come through third party companies. The discovery of caches of drugs recently at a woman's prison revealed the fact that unless a package is addressed to an inmate it is not searched.
The UNION demands an answer to why prison staff with lunch boxes and packages can simply sail into the prisons when it is a known fact that the majority of contraband comes in through prison employees and packages sent to them, not through visitors or packages sent to inmates. We also demand that the reasonable standard of Probable Cause be maintained and that visitors be guaranteed their civil rights unless there is Probable Cause to engage in anything beyond the normal visitor screening process.
Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
CDC Inmate Visiting Number: 800-374-8474
Visiting Lawsuit Visiting Class Action Lawsuit planned when and if enough people will support it.
At this time, we have about 1289 names on the list. No money is being collected until we find 2600 people who are tired of being victims by not being organized and filing lawsuits. Take the flyers out to the prisons and collect names, mail them inside to inmates. http://www.1union1.com/union_flyer.html
Our television show focusing on prison, jail and criminal justice dysfunction is Cayenne Common Sense, it is airing in the following time slots. Make certain that you call a friend with cable and ask them to record and circulate the shows.
Every Thursday on Channel 17 at 8:30 p.m., Sacramento County
Channel 19 Time Warner Cable, San Diego May 8 9:30 May 15 9:30 May 22 9:30
Channel 20 In Santa Clarita (Newhall, Saugus, Valencia,
Canyon Country -- with
access to Lancaster, Palmdale, Castaic, Acton, Agua Dulce.) Every Thursday at 3 p.m.
Channel 25 San Fernando Valley every Tuesday at 9:30 pm
Comcast Channel 26 May 19 7 PM
May 26 7 PM.
Now airing in Novato! Channel 27
9pm Every Wednesday
Cayenne Common Sense: Revised Schedule/ONLINE Prisoner TV show STARTING Monday, June 14, then Wed. June 16. 10:30 a.m. and p.m. Same time slots.
Prison TV Show starts airing Monday June 14 ONLINE!
Is on Streaming Video on Internet -- Pasadena56.TV website
Go to http://www.pasadena56.tv/ click on the top television set
Each show will be aired four times: Mon/Wed then Mon/Wed for a two week block.
The series is now seven shows long so this at least a fourteen week
run, be certain to tune in. It will also air on regular television
on Channel 56 Pasadena
No Minor Visits If Guilty of these Penal Codes
New Regulations Posted Here - Title 15, section 3173
Text of Visiting Regulations
Los Angeles Times Commentary - Don't Cut Off Prisoners From Their Families
Orange County Register - Limiting Prison Visits
Letters to CDC About Visiting
U.N.I.O.N. Alerts Old
April 10, 2002 - Alerts Letter
1996 Senate Bill 2601
Senate Bill 1221 - 1996 - Civil Rights
Inmates' families rip rules proposal
Harsh new rules threaten public safety
v. McGinnis, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
New prison plan would reduce visits
Visiting Letters and E-mails
California Code of Regulations
Title 15, Crime Prevention and Corrections
Division 3, Department of Corrections
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Director of the Department of Corrections (CDC), pursuant to rulemaking authority granted by Penal Code (PC) Section 5058, in order to implement, interpret and make specific PC Section 5054, proposes to amend Article 7 (Sections 3170 through 3179) in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Division 3 relating to Visiting.
Date and Time:March 8, 2002,9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
of Water Resources Auditorium
Purpose:To receive comments about this action.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:
The public comment period will close March 8, 2002 at 5:00 p.m.Any person may submit public comments in writing (by mail, by fax or by e-mail) regarding the proposed changes.To be considered by the Department, comments must be submitted to the Department of Corrections, Regulation and Policy Management Branch, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001; by fax at (916)322-3842; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org before the close of the comment period.
Please direct any inquiries regarding this action to:
the event the contact person is unavailable, inquires should be directed
to the following back-up person:
regarding the substance of the proposed regulatory action should be directed
Division, Institution Services Unit
This action imposes no mandates on local agencies or school districts, or a mandate which requires reimbursement pursuant to Government Code Section 17561.
FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT:
·Cost or savings to any state agency:None
non-discretionary cost or savings imposed on
·Cost or savings in federal funding to the state:None
EFFECT ON HOUSING COSTS:
The Department has made an initial determination that the proposed action will have no significant effect on housing costs.
COST IMPACTS ON REPRESENTATIVE PRIVATE PERSONS OR BUSINESSES:
The Department is not aware of any cost impacts that a representative private person or business would necessarily incur in reasonable compliance with the proposed action.
SIGNIFICANT STATEWIDE ADVERSE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON BUSINESS:
The Department has initially determined that the proposed regulations will not have a significant statewide adverse economic impact directly affecting businesses, including the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states.
EFFECT ON SMALL BUSINESSES:
The Department has determined that the proposed regulations may not affect small businesses.It is determined that this action has no significant adverse economic impact on small business, because they are not affected by the internal management of state prisons.
ASSESSMENTS OF EFFECTS ON JOB AND/OR BUSINESS CREATION, ELIMINATION OR EXPANSION:
The Department has determined that the proposed regulation will have no affect on the creation of new or the elimination of existing jobs or businesses within California, or affect the expansion of businesses currently doing business in California.
CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES:
The Department must determine that no reasonable alternative considered by the Department, or that has otherwise been identified and brought to the attention of the Department, would be more effective in carrying out the purpose for which the action is proposed or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the proposed regulatory action.
AVAILABILITY OF PROPOSED TEXT AND Initial Statement of Reasons:
The Department has prepared and will make available the text and the Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR) of the proposed regulations. The rulemaking file for this regulatory action, which contains those items and all information on which the proposal is based (i.e., rulemaking file) is available to the public upon request directed to the Department's contact person.The proposed text, ISOR, and Notice of Proposed Action will also be made available on the Department’s website http://www.cdc.state.ca.us/.
AVAILABILITY OF THE FINAL STATEMENT OF REASONS:
Following its preparation, a copy of the final statement of reasons may be obtained from the Department’s contact person.
AVAILABILITY OF CHANGES TO PROPOSED TEXT:
After considering all timely and relevant comments received, the Department may adopt the proposed regulations substantially as described in this notice.If the Department makes modifications which are sufficiently related to the originally proposed text, it will make the modified text (with the changes clearly indicated) available to the public for at least 15 days before the Department adopts the regulations as revised.Requests for copies of any modified regulation text should be directed to the contact person indicated in this notice.The Department will accept written comments on the modified regulations for 15 days after the date on which they are made available.
Informative Digest/Policy Statement Overview:
Penal Code Section 5054 vests with the Director the supervision, management and control of the prisons, and the responsibility for the care, custody, treatment, training, discipline, and employment of inmates.
Penal Code Section 5058 authorizes the Director to prescribe and amend regulations for the administration of prisons.
This action will adopt revisions to Title 15, Subchapter 2, Division 3, Article 7 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) governing the processes, approvals, and requirements authorizing inmates to receive visits from their family, friends, and legal representatives at California Department of Corrections (CDC) institutions and facilities.The primary objective of this action is to standardize visiting procedures system-wide, provide more specificity and define terms in areas where needed, remove procedural material in the existing regulations more appropriately placed in the departmental operations manual, and incorporate updated references to the Penal Code.
These regulations repeal the entire Article of the CCR governing visiting (Sections 3170 through 3179) and readopt a new reorganized Article that has been rewritten for clarity and easier reference by staff, inmates, and visitors.While many specific regulatory provisions are retained in virtually unchanged form, a complete repeal and amended re-adoption of the regulations was selected to facilitate public review and understanding of the visiting process in total from beginning to end.This approach also includes recognition that the extensive reorganization of the material and numerous clarifying edits would be very difficult to follow if the changes were made retaining the original text.
While a complete rewrite of the current visiting regulations also presents some challenges, our goal is to clarify current policy and standardize procedures system-wide while presenting the regulations in sequential order to facilitate maximum visiting process understanding and compliance by all users.In this regard, several previously referenced regulatory sections are incorporated directly into the visiting section and the regulations within the visiting section are now organized in sections that group all similar process provisions (i.e. application, approval/disapproval, visitor processing) in one place for easy reference.
CDC’s commitment to the value of visiting for establishing and maintaining meaningful family and community relationships is retained in the initial paragraph of the new regulations, as well as the desire to be as accommodating as possible while operating a safe, secure, and orderly inmate visiting program. These regulations incorporate identified program needs and the security that will be required for each program - inmates with Administrative Segregation and Security Housing Unit status will be most restricted while those involved in work and academic programs, with no disciplinary infractions, are least restricted. In adopting these regulations, CDC seeks to standardize many processes that were formerly subject to local interpretation, while retaining some appropriate flexibility of benefit to individual institutions and facilities and their visitors.