SOLANO PRISON (Level 3 Visiting)
To whom it may concern:
We are families and friends of people incarcerated at CSP Solano in Vacaville, California.
We are having major issues with LEVEL 3 VISITING that are failing to be addressed all the way up the chain of command. Visiting at this facility has become a very negative experience, from the start (scheduling appointments on Vpass), to the end (early terminations due to overcrowding).
The processing staff are becoming more and more disrespectful, oppressive and blatantly unprofessional. They have been making up their own rules and making their own interpretations of the standing rules. We feel that their main goal has been to see how hard they can make it for us to get inside and discourage us from visiting as their unprofessional and harassing behaviors have steadily increased since May of 2016.
Examples of how bad it has become:
Every week is a battle to get inside. There is ALWAYS some new policy or rule implemented by staff for the day.
On 07/4/2016 two little girls (Ages 5&7) were told by c/o Sauder that they can never wear their dresses to visiting again because they have "blue" stripes on them. When he was advised that, "that's not the rule" he replied, "i make the rules"Title 15 clearly states in 3174 (a)(1), "clothing that RESEMBLES STATE ISSUED INMATE CLOTHING worn to visiting; blue denim, blue chambray shirts, and blue denim pants..."
On 10/23/2016 a visitor was questioning the early terminations because the head count in the room was 160 and capacity is 250. C/o Toomer simply responded to the questions with, "you're arguing with staff" and terminated the visit for "agueing" (her spelling on actual document)
On 12/04/2016 c/o Fleshmen and ISU Fox were heard mocking a woman about visiting being overcrowded and terminated early. A complaint was made with IFC
Most recently on 02/12/2017 a woman was forced to change 4 times, and "twirl slowly", in front of EVERYONE, as multiple staff looked her up and down, before finally letting her in wearing the first outfit she had on. 50% of the women coming to CSP SOLANO to visit this day were forced to change by c/o Duffy.
Most of us that frequent Solano visiting have been told to, "empty your pockets and turn around slowly". It is like this every single week, no matter who they place at visitor check-in. Its very degrading and uncomfortable and women are being harassed and discriminated against because they are visiting inmates.
Free staff, counselors, and c/o's are not subjected to this type of harassment and wear pants and shirts that resemble the clothing we wear to visiting and get denied entry for. This delays our visit up to hours at times depending on how many times we are forced to change
The misinterpretation of the rules and the lack of common sense is so extreme that even a 65 year old grandmother was forced to change because her "pants were too tight".Title 15, 3174(b)(3)(B), states, "by design, the manner worn, or due to the absence of, excessively allows the anatomical detail of body parts or midriff to be clearly viewed..."
(Please don't take this lightly as these are only A FEW incidents TO HUNDREDS. Some visitors aren't sure how to file complaints.)
Every staff interprets the rules their own way and there is no constant outside of the consistency of "DO WHAT I SAY, OR LEAVE." It is becoming extremely frustrating, stressful and discouraging and has been voiced to Sgt. and Lt. numerous times with no corrective action taking place. Each week it progressively gets worse and worse.
To further delay our visits the staff sit around gossiping with each other about Facebook and weekly drama, chewing gum, talking on the phone and disregarding their jobs as our visits do not seem important to them. Visitors with 8 o'clock appointments are not being called out until 8:45 or later a lot of the time and as the day drags on the appointments get further and further behind. Visiting is supposed to open at 8:00am but the visit room isn't even set up to accommodate visitors at 8:30am . (Surveillance will support these accusation)
The overcrowding is intense and CSP Solano is UTILIZING ONE SINGLE VISITING AREA (250 capacity) FOR TWO COMPLETELY OVERCROWDED PRISON YARDS (1900+ inmates) and our visits are now being terminated (prematurely before 250 capacity is reached) after 90 minutes which doesn't even give us enough time to enjoy a conversation or eat. Two completely different prison facilities that share one visiting room is unheard of and coupled with the overcrowding has become absurd.
There are many options afforded by the Title 15 to relieve some of the stress and overcrowding underTitle 15 3172.2(1) EXTEND THE NUMBER OF VISITING DAYS AND/OR HOURS ALLOWED TO VISIT.
There are also two doors that open to an outside patio style area that they could utilize to ease crowding, but they refuse to utilize this area after numerous requests.
Over the years the main excuse for not improving visiting has been, "funding is inadequate", yet they've been able to afford a brand new security camera system, ion scanners, body scanners, drug dogs and their new housing, etc. For once we insist that our tax dollars go to the 99% of the inmates families that are trying to strengthen their family bond and not the 1% introducing contraband. We want quality time with our loved ones that are incarcerated to help them cope with the stress, mend our lives and help them make a successful reentry into society.
CDCR's mission statements provides us on the outside one security, affording, "Inmates AND THEIR FAMILIES a value of inmate visitation as a means of increasing safety in prison, maintaining family and community connections, and preparing inmates for successful release and rehabilitation..."
These are real problems that CSP Solano and administration is refusing to address them at any level. We ask for your assistance looking into these issues and make sure we are treated like human beings, with dignity and respect, and also request that an outside agency investigates this prison and its staff misconduct (full spectrum).
PROBLEM: The prison is way too overcrowded to be utilizing one visit room for two prison yards and the only response to ease the overcrowding has been to cancel our visits.
Our SOLUTION: We are requesting the return of Friday visiting and extended visiting hours OR seperate visiting rooms for A and B Facilities OR open the patio area to accommodate another 150 person capacity.
PROBLEM: The staff are untrained and unprofessional In their interactions with visitors and are always applying their own rules.
Our SOLUTION: We are requesting that staff be trained in public relations, Title 15, DOM and instructed on the actual definition of "excessively tight clothing". Cease the harassment of visitors upon entry and stop delaying our visits by focusing on their job.
PROBLEM: The visits are delayed, called late, and terminated early.
Our SOLUTION: Start processing visitors earlier, get visitors out on time and only terminate once its absolutely necessary.
PROBLEM: VPASS is extremely flawed and the new changes and monitoring make it very hard to get visits ESPECIALLY if more than one visitor is attending the visit. Having to add every visitor (including minors) to the pass makes it next to impossible to get an early appointment.
Our SOLUTION: Go back to emails or switch back to the way VPASS ran in 2016. If the prison wasn't so overcrowded or visiting had more capacity or more days, the system would work fine.
stressed out and concerned, families and friends.