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UTAH Prison & Criminal Justice Discussions Topics and conversations dealing with the State of Utah - Department of Corrections, Criminal Justice System, Prisoner & Family Support, Visitation, Mail ,News & Information, etc.

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Old 08-25-2015, 10:58 AM
Zebra23 Zebra23 is offline
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Default UT non-relative visitation question

I've established a pen pal relationship with a young lady at Draper and she mentioned briefly in one of her letters that she'd be open to having me visit sometime. It's way premature for me - I want the friendship to develop quite a bit first and that will take some time - but if we eventually become good enough friends I would absolutely do that for her. The relationship is 100% platonic and we have both been up front about that. I'm old enough to be her father FWIW. She only has a couple family members who she talks to - she's broken off contact with her dad's side of the family and her mom may not be able to visit because of a past conviction. Her friends testified against her in the trial so she has no interest in talking to any of them, so that leaves her list of potential visitors very small.

The problem is that I'm a married male and she's an unmarried female. I was looking through the Inmate Orientation Handbook and it says in there that unmarried inmates aren't allowed to visit with married visitors of the opposite sex unless accompanied by the inmate's parents or the visitor's spouse. My wife doesn't have a problem with me having a female pen pal but she'd never be open to visiting the prison with me. And as I mentioned above, the inmate's mom may not be allowed in (although that's not for certain yet). It seems very peculiar telling adults they can't visit with someone without supervision. I totally understand why they do it, but still these are adults and it's not like much can happen in visitation that can't happen through mail anyway.

Does anyone know if that rule is strictly enforced or if it's just something that's "discouraged" but they'll approve it anyway? The strange thing about it is the UDOC visitation rules and the Family and Friends handbook don't say anything about it - it's only stated in the inmate handbook, which makes me think maybe it isn't a hard and fast rule. Again, it's way premature - I don't even plan on applying yet, but it would be nice to know early on if a visit will even be a remote possibility in the future.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:26 PM
Zebra23 Zebra23 is offline
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I think I found the answer. There's an archived article in the Salt Lake Tribue from July 10 2013 that says they changed the policy back in 2013 so it's no longer a problem visiting someone of the opposite sex. Unfortunately I don't have enough posts here to post a link. The inmate handbook still says it's prohibited but maybe they just haven't updated it in a couple years.

Apparently Utah was the only state that had an opposite sex restriction and they finally realized how archaic it was. Not only did the policy overlook same sex relationships, it failed to consider that some people just have non-romantic friends who they'd like to visit with.
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:41 PM
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Hi , I am glad you may be able to visit your friend , opposite sex visitor restriction is also practiced in Alabama DOC. Agreed it may be out dated. but its best to check with the UTAH doc just to make sure.
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Old 08-27-2015, 04:04 PM
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I will definitely check with Utah DOC when the time comes, if it comes. As I said in my initial post I won't be visiting anytime soon if ever, but I'm a plan way in advance sort of guy, and if it's impossible I'd just as soon get the possibility of it ever happening out of my mind now.

From what I read in the article, the reason for the restriction was because some male inmate had two different girlfriends show up to visit on the same day and it resulted in a brawl in the parking lot. The article (in which top DOC officials were interviewed) said they're going to take a more case by case approach now rather than imposing a blanket ban that penalizes people with opposite sex platonic friends.
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