The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that it will suspend most inmate visitation the last weekend of June due to the state’s fiscal crisis.
Cancellation of visiting at each of California’s 33 adult prisons for a single weekend – June 26 and 27 – will save $400,000 in overtime to help resolve budget concerns as the fiscal year comes to an end. Legally mandated visiting, such as attorney visits, will continue uninterrupted.
CDCR also is implementing other cost saving measures to address the state’s fiscal crisis including: redirecting custody posts to essential positions when employees call in sick or there are other vacancies; a departmental hiring freeze; reducing costs and staffing at headquarters; delaying or canceling purchases and contracts unless to do so would create a health or security risk; and canceling all non-critical travel and training.
The department plans to return to a full visiting program beginning July 1, which is the beginning of the new fiscal year.
“Due to the state’s fiscal crisis, we have to make difficult choices to reduce operational costs this fiscal year in a number of areas, including the last weekend of visitation statewide,” said Terri McDonald, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Operations. “Because visitation impacts families directly, I have directed CDCR staff at the institutional level to ensure that inmate families and staff are notified of this decision.”
Wardens statewide also have been directed to cut costs by increasing the number of vacant posted peace officer positions from an existing three percent to five percent of all positions at each institution. This will result in staffing changes, including some exercise yards being temporarily closed. Inmates at yards that are closed will be allowed access to other yards at different times to ensure access to outdoor activities.
CDCR is making efforts to inform families about the canceled visitation. Visitation phone lines will be updated with the new information.
Posters in both English and Spanish are planned to be posted at each institution. Notices will be placed on the closed circuit inmate television as well as postings throughout each institution. The institutional management team will discuss the planned closure with the inmate family councils and inmate population to ensure awareness.
The visitation cancellation on June 26 and June 27 does not include Division of Juvenile Justice facilities, terminally ill inmate visits and Community Correctional Facilities.
For more information on CDCR visiting policies go to: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Visitors/index.html