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Connecticut Prison & Jail Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail Topics / Information relating to the Connecticut Department of Corrections and local & county Jail visitation, phone calls, mail, inmate care packages, etc.

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Old 07-08-2014, 08:24 AM
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Thumbs down Non-Biological Children and Visits

I was told last night by New Haven Correctional that my eight year old daughter is not allowed to visit even though the visiting form was approved by his counselor. I was told it is CT State Law that non-biological children are not allowed to visit inmates. Has anyone else heard of this? I reviewed the CT DOC website and the visiting policy and I did not see this statement listed anyway. The person we were visiting is the only father figure she has!

The CO said they dont have her biological father's permission for her to visit someone in the correctional facility. I explained that I am her sole guardian and if I bring the paperwork down, would that be ok and she said NO. CT state law is that non biological children are not allowed to visit. She said the only way for her to visit him is for us to get married. What?!

Has anyone else heard of this?





How is this supporting family ties?!??!
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:31 PM
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I do not believe this is accurate. For one thing, there are many family relationships that do not include the incarcerated person being the parent. You could be bringing his siblings, niece/nephew...it does not make sense to limit the visiting relationship only to biological children. The CO made even less sense by suggesting marriage as a way to resolve the problem--marriage will not change the legal (or biological) relationship to the children--it will only impact the two of you.

I would definitely follow up. You can go to his counselor as one possibility. DOC also has an email address for questions, found here.

If you find that the issue is much more convoluted than it should be, and you need some help tackling the system, try the Office of the Child Advocate. They can deal with the systems issues and are charged with doing the right thing for kids. This issue impacts a lot of kids, so it may not be a bad thing for them to get involved (if the CO is right). Web page is here.

Please let us know how this is resolved. I can only hope this is the incorrect information of a CO. Good luck!!
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:35 AM
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Wow Insomnia - Thanks for the info. I called the CT DOC and they had no answers so I sent an email. They said this is not state law, but an Administrative Directive and said I can write to the warden so I did however I am not expecting a favorable response. I think this is unfair for any kids that may be involved and I will definately follow up on the Office of the Child Advocate. The man I spoke with over the phone at DOC said he works in Northern and in Northern (which is max security), they do not allow child visitors under 18 unless it is biological children. Then when I went to visit, I found out the warden used to be the warden in Northern. Regardless, I do not think this makes and sense at all and will def follow up . Thanks for the resources.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:56 AM
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This defies logic and good sense.

Unfortunately I know Northern well, as this is the prison my man is located. Does it make sense in a prison where ALL visits are behind glass that they would be more restrictive about children? I mean, it isn't like they are put in danger by proximity...

DOC bemoans recidivism, and places that, usually, entirely on the shoulders of the men and women who return. Why is it a surprise?? There is virtually no programming...this should be an opportunity to prevent career criminals. Help people with employment skills, give vocational training; provide real mental health care for the men and women who need it, have intensive drug and alcohol treatment, and for the love of God, help them with cementing relationships!

We take people out of their homes and communities for X amount of time to serve their sentences. We make it VERY difficult to maintain reasonable and intimate communication. Phone calls are prohibitive. Visiting is inconvenient as most prisons are not accessible with our substandard mass transit. In our infinite wisdom, we have stopped the extended family visits--so we can watch the trailers go to waste on the grounds. People come home--if they are lucky--to strained and difficult family relationships. Prison can actually be an opportunity...IF we used the time. If there was actually family therapy that helped couples communicate and helped parents parent--mean and women would have tools to help them be truly successful. Instead, we further marginalize them and isolate them. We make the gaps in relationships even more pronounced. If we reinstated Family visits--and tied it into mandatory family (or couple) therapy--we could see some amazing future results! Maybe it would not help some of the incarcerated (although if you give someone something that is truly a perk they will fight like hell to maintain whatever level or behavior is required), but even if they did not benefit--the kids would. Kids are more likely to have problems with criminal behavior if their parents did...wouldn't it be nice to prevent this?

Sorry about the rant. But I am also tired of rigid bureaucratic systems define who my family is, without any respect or deference to how I determine my family members. I can actually understand some of this, as there needs to be some guidelines and parameters...but I am sure we can do this better.

I really wish you the best. If you get stuck, come back & we can problem solve! We have some pretty crafty and experienced members.




Did you get the Administrative Directive reference??? I would definitely suggest it (particularly as I cannot think where it is. It could be I missed it....). It is important to review all policy and quote it when following up. Don't forget, you MUST exhaust ALL administrative options prior to filing suit. You may not go that way, but best to keep options open! Once you have the policy and their decision (or before depending on timeframe) he may be best served by filing a grievance. This is part of the administrative options.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:04 PM
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Thanks I am actually sitting here googling becoming more and more angry. It doesnt make sense at all and I am totally in agreement with your rant!!

I tried to contact Families in Crisis out of Hartford but they arent answering and my email was returned. I will absolutely fight this because I think he is in for a long haul and it is important for her (and him) that she is allowed to visit. This just doesnt make any sense at all.

I am going to wait until I hear back from the warden before I do anything. I will definately follow up in this thread.


LOL @ the policy - please explain how this situation goes hand in hand with the policy.


The Department of Correction recognizes the beneficial role of visitation in the rehabilitative and reentry process. Further, the Department believes that positive social ties can help reduce recidivism. Therefore, it shall be the policy of the Department of Correction that all reasonable efforts are made to encourage and facilitate family and social visiting, and that unnecessary barriers to such visitation are identified and eliminated.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:16 PM
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Families in Crisis will be limited in their ability to help. For one thing, they are a service provider for DOC and I expect receive a substantial amount from them in grant dollars. It is difficult to fight with an agency that supports you financially...

In terms of next steps, get the policy reference & he should get their "final answer" on visits. They are hard-pressed to say there is policy forbidding it when they have also approved her on the visiting list! If they maintain denial, he should file a grievance. Go through the directives for time frames, etc. The directives are all on line so that makes it easier. Here's another GREAT resource; CT children's advocacy. In a sense, it is your daughter that needs representation as she is the person being denied. I wish there was something I could do to help.
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:10 PM
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You have helped a lot with all of your useful information!! Thanks and I will let you know what happens. I didnt realize Families in Crises was funded by DOC so I wont be trying them any longer! I did contact CT DOC via email again to ask where I can read this Administrative Directive but I have not received a response yet. I cant find it anywhere on their website. I have read and re-read the Administrative Directive on Visiting and also the visiting policy and I do not see anything about "biological children" listed anywhere.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:45 AM
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Hey Insomnia - Just wanted to give an update that I have made ZERO progress but I am still working on it. The warden did not answer the letter that I wrote (somewhere I thought I read he had 14 days to respond) so I sent a second letter last week with no response. I have since been in touch with the child advocates office as suggested and just left a message this morning.

The Administrative Directive the DOC office in Wethersfield gave me is 10.0 however I still dont see in there that a child needs to be a biological child. I did get a copy of his visiting list but she is not on it so I am not sure if she was removed after this happened or if he gave me incorrect information.

My boyfriend thinks the only way to handle this is to sue the DOC. I dont have the money for that nor do I think that should be necessary! Not even sure where to start with that one!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:37 PM
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HIS next step should be to file a grievance for having denied her visits, a lawsuit cannot be considered until ALL administrative options are exhausted. And it really needs to be your man to pursue this, as it his rights which are being denied. I would beg to argue that your daughter's rights are being denied, as they are blocking the parent-child relationship.

While all of this goes on, what is he doing to perpetuate the relationship? Is he writing to her--specifically? Does he have telephone conversations with her? If I were DOC, or the child advocate, I would look to see what he is doing to continue the relationship. Sure, visits are ideal, but if he is not allowed to have them, will he give up on maintaining the relationship? If he is, then I (if I am DOC) might continue the denial. It would be important for him to maintain this contact, and for both of you to document everything he does. Keep a log of letters, calls, cards, hankies or gifts sent... In your letters and calls, do you discuss the kids? Remember, they have the ability to listen. Do your letters discuss all of the kids? Does she mail things to him 'on her own'?

I will review the directives and see if I can guess where they are coming from.

Send him the directives for grievances and pay close attention to timelines!! You must respond to everything exactly as mandated (keep copies and notes!). She hasn't actually been denied, though, has she? You may need to re-start the process by applying for her to visit. If the deny, they are required to notify him of the denial and the reason. This will then be the start to your grievance. He could actually start by raising the question of why she is not on the list, when he has received no notification of a denial. They need to fish or cut bait & give a firm answer and the reason. Is he still at New Haven Correctional or did they move him?

Lastly, please spend time with your daughter to make sure that she knows this isn't her fault and that her 'dad' is making this an issue in Jail, as it is important for him to see her. She may need some reassurance that he loves her, it isn't her --or his--fault that this is happening & that you all are family, no matter what anyone else may say. You may want to pull all the kids together, and get one of those wonderful children's books about families looking different from one another, and how sometimes they are about the people we choose. Sorry to go off on that, but kids develop issues that can really surprise us, and we may not find out until much later. I would not want her, or her siblings, to struggle with this. Be careful, though, about not painting them all as assholes. She needs to still have respect for the authority, but know it has its flaws. She could understand that they enforce the law, and sometimes laws are made that need people to change them, as nobody was able to anticipate the bad parts, or because it was just plain wrong (segregation & racism being good examples).

Sorry I rambled again. If I can find anything in the directives, or have other ideas I will let you know. I am sorry this is happening.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:45 PM
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wow that is messed up. I have a daughter that is not biologically mine or his but I am her sole guardian because her mother is in prison and her father (my cousin) doesn't want her and I take her to see my love and have no problems. Granted we are in Cali so I don't know if that makes a difference. They should allow visits from children biological or not.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:06 AM
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Yes he talks to her on the phone all the time and writes her letters and she also writes to him. He sends her cards and she sends him drawings and her pictures are all over his cell (from what he tells me). We always talk about her on the phone as he asks about her summer, what shes doing etc.

Yesterday the Child Advocates office called me and of course this was new to them so they need to discuss it in their staff meeting on Friday - I am not sure that they will help me. I also spoke to someone at CCSU who runs a program for Children of Incarcerated Parents and she asked me to send her an email that she can forward on to her contact at the DOC so I did. Interestingly enough, DOC in Wethersfield has still not answered my email.


I didnt think of logging all of the letters, phone calls, etc. And I usually just stick her letter in with mine so I can preserve stamps but she is 8 so she can fill out the envelope herself if you think that will help I will start that and keeping track!!

She knows its not her fault and rules are rules and she also knows we are trying to do something about it so she can visit. Its just frustrating - thanks again for your ideas!
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:43 PM
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The Office of the Child Advocate(OCA) could help, but they tend to be much more involved with DCF and can overlook the other agencies that impact children. While this is very short notice, you might see if you can prepare a summary of them, that you can email for the staff to consider. In that, review the purpose of the OCA and then describe the situation you are dealing. I would use DOC's site to make my points--they discuss the importance of social visiting, family connections and maintenance of relationships. Quote them! They have a harder time dismissing your liberal ideas when it is their own rhetoric.

I don't think that a separate envelope and stamp are necessary. Where she is having something special to him, and he to her, this is what I meant. In terms of logs; keep it simple. You don't need to be overly detailed, just provide documentation of frequent contact, this helps to establish that he has a role more than casual. While I say this, it doesn't seem necessary. In no section of policy could I find anything which stipulates any relationship between child and inmate. They are clear that the child must have parent/guardian permission (and even still, it is only one parent who must consent), they do not specify a biological or legal connection to the inmate. I see no basis for their refusal.

Has your man received a denial for her to visit? I think he should apply for her again, asap. This is important because you need the denial and rationale in order to file the grievance (who knows, maybe they will approve her!). That is better for you because it is likely too late to grieve what happened--too much time has gone by. So file now. Have him read the policy and go by it strictly. If they fail to respond, he should follow the policy, which usually would mean asking for it to be bumped up. In this the policy is everything.

Using the OCA and other advocates is all good and I hope it can be resolved at this level. The only other thing that I can think of now is legal intervention. While your man must use the internal DOC system and exhaust all administrative options (Prison Litigation Reform Act), I am not sure about your daughter. I know that you are acting in both of their best interest and your daughter's interests are primary. I would think that she has the right to be heard, as she was the person denied (or they can say she wasn't denied, since it seems they have not been following their own policy). CT Legal Services may be an option for you. They have to be very discriminating about the cases they select, their funding is pretty minimal. If you do not meet their financial guidelines you will need to retain private counsel.

I am so sorry you are still dealing with this. It really is wrong. I am glad that your daughter can accept the "rules are rules" thing; and at 8 she is being given a great civics lesson. Feel free to PM me if I can be of any help. Good luck--and please continue to update us!
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:33 AM
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Hello - I am posting great news! I got a letter from the warden on Friday that my daughter was approved. She is still not on his active visiting list which is what I am working on now but as soon as she is added, I will be bringing her. I have the letter of approval so its only a matter of time! She is so excited!
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:52 AM
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Oh Honey, I am SO incredibly happy for all of you!! What great news! I am really glad that someone at DOC took a second, and actually considered the request--and made the right decision!!

When you go for the visit, be certain to follow every single rule to the nth degree. Also, make sure to bring her ID and a copy of the Warden's letter!

Yay!!!!
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:17 PM
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congratulations. I know both he and she will be so happy. I remember when I took "our" baby for the first time. He was so excited. He couldn't believe she was actually there. I wish all of you the best of luck.
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