Welcome to the Prison Talk Online Community! Take a Minute and Sign Up Today!






Go Back   Prison Talk > U.S. REGIONAL FORUMS > CALIFORNIA > California Prison-Specific Forums > Valley State Prison (VSP) - California
Register Entertainment FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Valley State Prison (VSP) - California Topics, Discussions and Information relating to Valley State Prison (VSP), located in Chowchilla, California.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:52 AM
pj663's Avatar
pj663 pj663 is offline
5'3 High And Rising

Staff Superstar Two Time Winner Staff Superstar Winner 

Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: I.E. Cali
Posts: 6,726
Thanks: 3,696
Thanked 5,642 Times in 2,921 Posts
Default VSP Inmate Family Council Q & A

Ladies and Families,

This thread is for IFC meeting discussions, questions and concerns.

Thank you!!!

Tips for Building a Productive Inmate Family Council

· Start with one rep from each yard, if possible. The council will grow later.
· Choose people who are proactive, talented, committed and willing to learn. Complainers will only hurt your cause.
· Study the IFC by-laws, Title 15, and the DOM. Knowledge is power and you must know where to find the information that you need.
· Follow your by-laws and be sure that each person knows their role and responsibilities.
· Insist on full participation of your members. No free rides, personal agendas or fluff. You may not get paid, but make no mistakes, this is a job. If someone is not pulling their weight, let them know. If they can’t or won’t…vote them off. They are wasting time and space on your council.
· Insist on respectful, professional relationships for all concerned. This means for staff and each other. No name-calling, finger-pointing or other ill will allowed.
· Know who is who and use proper titles at all times! Warden is not “Joe” to you, no matter how well you two get along professionally. If someone has earned the title of Chief Deputy Warden, then they expect you to use it. Likewise, your appropriate title should be used, e.g. Dr. Anderson, Mrs. Lata, Rev. Jones, etc.
· Designate a main contact person for your council to work with your prison’s AA/PIO regarding weekly updates. Ideally this is a member that visits each weekend and can provide real time feedback. Each member should provide weekly updates to this member, who shall in turn, report to the AA/PIO.
· Document, Document, Document! If it’s not in writing, it did not happen. Especially in actual council meetings. Be sure to record everything.
· IFC Secretary should take detailed notes in IFC meetings, but members should as well. Generally, people record different things and you will get more accurate recording of notes this way.
· Be positive and proactive. No one wants to deal with woulda, coulda, shoulda. Learn and move on.
· Bring solutions, not problems. Example: “We have noticed that elderly visitors often suffer physically from the extreme heat conditions in summer. Please consider the following solutions…XY or Z.”


· Use “I” Statements and refrain from blame. It is not useful to point the finger. Instead, try the following:
Ø It is descriptive word for us when we see/hear/notice the issue, because it effects on visitors.
Example:
Ø “It is disheartening to hear of an Officer being rude and demeaning to a visitor, because it is unprofessional and damages staff/public relations”.
Ø “We were frustrated to be informed of the fact that Labor Day will no longer be a visiting day, because time with family is essential for inmate rehabilitation”.

· Do it yourself! If you want action, then you must take initiative. If your council notes the need for new games and toys for the visiting rooms, develop a flyer and submit it for approval for posting.
· Keep Visitors Informed. You and prison staff will have many less complaints and questions if you simply keep visitors informed through proper posting of minutes and informational flyers. Use electronic media as well like facebook, pto, yahoo groups, etc.
· Listen. You can not represent a group of people that you do not speak with. Make yourself visible. Ask questions. Get feedback and ideas from your fellow visitors.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf IFC Bylaws.pdf (145.2 KB, 10 views)
__________________
[B][COLOR=pink][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/COLOR][/B]

Last edited by pj663; 02-19-2013 at 12:12 PM..
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-19-2013, 12:04 PM
pj663's Avatar
pj663 pj663 is offline
5'3 High And Rising

Staff Superstar Two Time Winner Staff Superstar Winner 

Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: I.E. Cali
Posts: 6,726
Thanks: 3,696
Thanked 5,642 Times in 2,921 Posts
Default Please welcome Brigitte VSP IFC!!!

Ladies and Families please welcome Brigitte to the VSP Forums!!! Brigitte is part of the IFC for VSP so if you have any questions or concerns please ask her.
Anyone who is interested in joining the IFC can pick up an application from the Visiting Sergeant at Visitor Processing. She will receive the application and the council will review it at the next meeting, which is April 5.

Brigitte is currently working on an IFC website and it will be up in the next week or so. That will provide a lot of information for the families here. More information to share in the coming days so please stay tune Thanks again Brigitte
__________________
[B][COLOR=pink][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/COLOR][/B]
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to pj663 For This Useful Post:
sidewalker (02-21-2013)
  #3  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:50 PM
Brigitte Brigitte is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Here are the minutes from our first IFC meeting held on February 8. We will get these moved into a better location soon, but I wanted everyone to have the update.

VALLEY STATE PRISON
INMATE FAMILY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

Friday, February 8, 2013
Executive Conference Room, Administration Bldg.

MEMBERS PRESENT
Chairperson Barbara Scott,
Vice Chair Frances Vasquez,
Secretary Yesenia Martinez,
Elinore Cottrell,
Debra Kinninger


ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS:
1. Introduction of IFC members and VSP staff.
2. Review of the VSPW IFC meeting process by Lt. Bergersen
3. IFC By-laws were distributed by Lt. Bergersen

II. OLD BUSINESS:
1. None

III. NEW BUSINESS:
1. Purpose of this first meeting was to establish the new IFC, get acquainted, and set a schedule for future IFC meetings.
2. Lt. Bergersen gave on overview of the former IFC procedures. Meetings were held on the first Friday of even numbered months. The IFC met privately in the conference room at 12:00 noon, followed by a full IFC meeting with the Administration at 1:00. Meetings generally last about an hour. The agenda was provided by the IFC Chair 10 days in advance of the meetings so any concerns/questions could be addressed during the meeting. A reminder was given that IFC members represent the families and inmates as a whole and are not to use the IFC for personal grievances.
3. Visiting Process
a. There are 2 visiting rooms. 1 visiting room is filled up first, then the 2nd visiting room is opened. Visiting rooms are not yard-specific.
b. Appointments are made on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:00-3:00 by calling 559.665.6100 extension 8950. Appointments can be made up to 4 weeks in advance.
c. VPASS will be implemented in April. Some IFC members are coming from VPASS pilot institutions and offered to provide feedback to Lt. Bergersen on things that worked and things that did not work during the pilot.
d. VSPW did not have issues with termination as the women are generally not as supported as the men are. Terminations will be made by first asking for volunteers, then by first in, first terminated. The 250 mile/30-day rule will be applied when necessary.
e. The published standards will be followed for dress code. Occasionally there may be some questions about this and those issues should be brought to the attention of the Visiting Sergeant (Sgt. Frede) or the Visiting Lieutenant (Lt. Bergersen). This is likely the result of having an officer who is working in visiting infrequently and doesn't understand the standards.
f. Donations to the visiting rooms are always welcomed. Lt. Tony Martinez (Community Resource Manager) is the point of contact for donations to the visiting room. Donations can include toys and games for children such as Candyland, Checkers, Chess, etc. Also, Bibles, Qurans, Books of Mormen, etc., can be donated.
4. Programs coming for VSP
a. VSP is designated as a reentry hub. There are new programs coming up this year.
b. List of new vocational programs includes: Building Maintenance, Carpentry, Computer Literacy, Cosmetology, Electronics, HVAC, Masonry, Plumbing, Small Engine, and Green Technology.
c. Education Proctor is in place.
d. Self help programs for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will be starting next week.
e. VSP is trying to convert many of the former programs by adapting them for men, where possible.
5. Men's Advisory Council (MAC) is currently being established.
a. The MAC is not being determined by race.
b. 3 MAC reps have been chosen from each building.
c. There will also be a Complex Executive MAC for each complex and an Institution Executive MAC. These positions are still being established.
6. Warden Davis explained that at VSP, all the men are completely integrated. No one is housed by race. As men are arriving, they are integrated into existing pods of men and are not left as a group.
7. Food Sales are starting now and will be as frequent as can be supported.
8. Transfers In
a. There are approximately 135 inmates being transferred into VSP each week.
b. Classification is happening within 14 days.
c. Most men will have assigned jobs or education.
9. Warden Davis asked the IFC what they are hearing as men arrive.
a. The feedback that IFC members have had so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
b. One IFC member said that her inmate referred to VSP as "PrisneyLand".
c. The men are saying that the staff is treating them with respect even as soon as they get off the bus.
d. There have been many comments about the large yards and the green grass.
e. The men are praising the food.
f. Warden Davis shared that almost all of the staff at VSP have undergone 40 hours of responsiveness training and he believes this is contributing to the respect by the officers. The staff have been receptive to working with male inmates.
10. Religious Services are being established.
a. Warden Davis is open to having Inmate Ministers as long as they have supervision by staff or volunteers. This is different than when there were female inmates.
b. There were several volunteer organizations who worked with the female inmates. The transition is still in progress as to how to adapt some of these programs to men and to ascertain the commitment of the volunteer organizations to continue to work with the men in this prison.
i. Lt. Bergersen referenced Prison At Peace for conflict resolution and mediation training for inmates.
ii. Warden Davis mentioned Freedom to Choose, which has volunteers from all over who come to speak with the men.
11. Phone signup issues
a. One of the IFC members brought up that they had been told about phone signup issues on B-yard. The issue appeared to be that the signup list wasn't being rotated so each block had a fair chance to sign up. The warden said they would look into the issue.

IV. ADJOURNMENT
1. Meeting was adjourned and the IFC met privately to discuss the schedule for meetings going forward and to elect Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary.
2. Schedule of meetings for the next 6 months will be as follows. April 5, June 7, August 2. After that, the IFC will discuss if meeting on a Saturday following visiting is better or if an alternating schedule of Friday/Saturday is better and make a recommendation to the Warden. The advantage of meeting on Friday is that the Administrative staff will be present to address issues and concerns of the IFC.

V. INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:
Next Meeting: April 5, 2013, at 1:00pm
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Brigitte For This Useful Post:
Mrs.cs1977 (02-20-2013), pj663 (02-20-2013), sidewalker (02-20-2013), Sliccsgirl09 (02-20-2013)
  #4  
Old 02-20-2013, 12:23 AM
Rlsbby4eva's Avatar
Rlsbby4eva Rlsbby4eva is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 657
Thanks: 1
Thanked 100 Times in 77 Posts
Default

I would appreciate more info on family visits.
thank you
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:54 AM
CloaknDagger CloaknDagger is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 179
Thanks: 36
Thanked 61 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Another suggestion is at our previous prisons we have visited to avoid terminations is to double up people at a table. We never had a problem with sharing table with other couple. Another concern is to why the patio is always closed. Thanks for your time!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-21-2013, 12:57 AM
Brigitte Brigitte is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorena0617 View Post
I would appreciate more info on family visits.
thank you
I am gathering more information on family visits and will post it as soon as I have it. Thanks for being patient!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:00 AM
Brigitte Brigitte is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloaknDagger View Post
Another suggestion is at our previous prisons we have visited to avoid terminations is to double up people at a table. We never had a problem with sharing table with other couple. Another concern is to why the patio is always closed. Thanks for your time!
I will add the patio question to our next IFC agenda. Have you been terminated at VSP? If so, which weekend? I have been at institutions where doubling up was allowed and where it wasn't. We will add a question to our agenda about doubling up at the next meeting.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Brigitte For This Useful Post:
sidewalker (02-21-2013)
  #8  
Old 02-21-2013, 10:03 AM
CloaknDagger CloaknDagger is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 179
Thanks: 36
Thanked 61 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigitte View Post
I will add the patio question to our next IFC agenda. Have you been terminated at VSP? If so, which weekend? I have been at institutions where doubling up was allowed and where it wasn't. We will add a question to our agenda about doubling up at the next meeting.
No I have never been terminated at VSP just coming up with some suggestions because I know that the yards are filling up and terminations are in the foreseeable future.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-21-2013, 12:57 PM
Rlsbby4eva's Avatar
Rlsbby4eva Rlsbby4eva is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 657
Thanks: 1
Thanked 100 Times in 77 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigitte

I am gathering more information on family visits and will post it as soon as I have it. Thanks for being patient!
Ok no problem thnk you
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-15-2013, 03:14 PM
Joy Juego Joy Juego is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: May 2009
Location: ca united states
Posts: 766
Thanks: 182
Thanked 523 Times in 240 Posts
Default Ifc

Need update on the IFC, the one that is posted is way outdated!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-15-2013, 03:36 PM
Brigitte Brigitte is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Do you have a specific question? The last IFC minutes are posted. The next IFC meeting will be April 5, and the minutes will be posted after that.

Our new VSP IFC website is up and running. Please visit us at www.vsp-ifc.com. You may be able to find answers to many of your questions there.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Brigitte For This Useful Post:
sidewalker (04-14-2013)
  #12  
Old 04-02-2013, 10:22 PM
Rlsbby4eva's Avatar
Rlsbby4eva Rlsbby4eva is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 657
Thanks: 1
Thanked 100 Times in 77 Posts
Default

Please don't forget about family visits..i have no info being a new mans prison thank you
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-03-2013, 04:33 PM
Joy Juego Joy Juego is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: May 2009
Location: ca united states
Posts: 766
Thanks: 182
Thanked 523 Times in 240 Posts
Default

Does anyone know how many bungalows/family visiting houses were initially set up when VSP was fist opened?
I see just about 4 of them are up and running for family visits and the other family visiting houses are now converted over to offices, this may put inmates and their families waiting for a long time because CDCr decided to take away these bungalows to suit themselves for some badly needed office space from the bungalows which were designed to be for the family visits.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-20-2013, 12:49 AM
mrsbaldizan mrsbaldizan is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: California
Posts: 175
Thanks: 530
Thanked 307 Times in 80 Posts
Default

Does anybody have any information on what's going on with the mail? It seems as though even mail the inmates are sending out aren't getting to anybody. I know that my husband and a few others have all said they sent out mail this last week, and nobody has received anything from the guys...plus its been taking them almost 2 weeks to get any mail that we have been sending. Is this normal for this prison???
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-21-2013, 12:36 AM
Joy Juego Joy Juego is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: May 2009
Location: ca united states
Posts: 766
Thanks: 182
Thanked 523 Times in 240 Posts
Default IFC MInutes from April

Has anyone seen the minutes from the IFC meeting that was held on April?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-27-2013, 01:11 AM
jlainnocence jlainnocence is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: California
Posts: 54
Thanks: 4
Thanked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Default IFC Minutes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy Juego View Post
Has anyone seen the minutes from the IFC meeting that was held on April?
The website has all the new minutes posted with the latest being May. The url was already posted and I am unable to post it but if you go to their website you can find all the minutes.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-14-2013, 08:37 PM
jlainnocence jlainnocence is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: California
Posts: 54
Thanks: 4
Thanked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Default

I went to visit this past weekend and was disappointed there was no coffee at all. It would be nice to either have a coffee machine or single coffee servings in cups available in the vending machines.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-07-2013, 01:00 AM
Karren Ann's Avatar
Karren Ann Karren Ann is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Stockton CA
Posts: 344
Thanks: 8
Thanked 122 Times in 93 Posts
Default More than just coffee needed in visiting rooms

First they need to reduce the prices of the food there, or at least get better quality food for the price we are paying - $7.00 for what they call a Bacon Lover's Cheeseburger that has one small little piece of bacon on it - please. McDonalds has better food.
Along with cheaper prices we need paper plates and maybe some plastic knives to cut some of that food up with so they/we don't look like animals trying to bite through any of the bread items after they go through the microwave.
I know a lot of the guys get coffee in their packages, so having coffee in the visiting room would be more for the visitors (I think anyway) but it still would be nice to have coffee, a variety of tea and hot chocolate available for those that want them.
There is so much wrong with the visiting there at VSP that it's almost impossible to cover them all.

No handicapped accessible tables for inmates/visitors in wheelchairs or mobility issues is another big problem for me. Upsets me every time I go in there and see people trying to make do at tables below knee level who can't reach them comfortably to eat, write or play cards.

Another issue is overcrowding. I know a lot of you won't agree with me on this but I have to say it anyway: At all prisons I have ever been to, when the visiting room becomes overcrowded they make the first visitors leave to make room for the new ones coming in. (Yes, I have been one of them who had to leave, and it upset me like you can't even believe). But at VSP they are asking inmates and their visitors if they will share a table with another inmate and their visitor.
For the most part that would be fine - as long as the inmates know each other and get along. But I have seen them put inmates together at a table that do not even know each other - I have seen them introducing themselves.
To me this seems like it could be a dangerous situation. Conversations will have to be closely guarded because if one of the inmates overhears something about the other inmate it could prove fatal.

Maybe it's time for VSP to do like the other prisons - each yard have it's own visiting room and not just throw everybody in together and have them share tables with complete strangers.

I could go on and on about visiting issues - but I won't - at least not yet.

If these could be brought up at the next IFC that would be great - and let us know what the outcome is on any discussion.

Thanks,
Karren



Quote:
Originally Posted by jlainnocence View Post
I went to visit this past weekend and was disappointed there was no coffee at all. It would be nice to either have a coffee machine or single coffee servings in cups available in the vending machines.
__________________
You come to love not by finding the perfect person,
but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Karren Ann For This Useful Post:
mrsbaldizan (09-07-2013)
  #19  
Old 09-07-2013, 02:53 PM
CloaknDagger CloaknDagger is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 179
Thanks: 36
Thanked 61 Times in 54 Posts
Default

I totally agree with you when it comes to the price of the food but as long as we continue to buy the food there will be no changes.

As far as the doubling up of tables, I drive 4 hours to visit my husband and I can put up with sharing a table for a few hours if that allows me to get my whole visit. The guards do ask you before they double up if you want to share and if you feel that uncomfortable then you do have the choice to end your visit.

I thank the IFC who worked with the staff to allow the doubling up of tables and allow us to have the complete day with our loved ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karren Ann View Post
First they need to reduce the prices of the food there, or at least get better quality food for the price we are paying - $7.00 for what they call a Bacon Lover's Cheeseburger that has one small little piece of bacon on it - please. McDonalds has better food.
Along with cheaper prices we need paper plates and maybe some plastic knives to cut some of that food up with so they/we don't look like animals trying to bite through any of the bread items after they go through the microwave.
I know a lot of the guys get coffee in their packages, so having coffee in the visiting room would be more for the visitors (I think anyway) but it still would be nice to have coffee, a variety of tea and hot chocolate available for those that want them.
There is so much wrong with the visiting there at VSP that it's almost impossible to cover them all.

No handicapped accessible tables for inmates/visitors in wheelchairs or mobility issues is another big problem for me. Upsets me every time I go in there and see people trying to make do at tables below knee level who can't reach them comfortably to eat, write or play cards.

Another issue is overcrowding. I know a lot of you won't agree with me on this but I have to say it anyway: At all prisons I have ever been to, when the visiting room becomes overcrowded they make the first visitors leave to make room for the new ones coming in. (Yes, I have been one of them who had to leave, and it upset me like you can't even believe). But at VSP they are asking inmates and their visitors if they will share a table with another inmate and their visitor.
For the most part that would be fine - as long as the inmates know each other and get along. But I have seen them put inmates together at a table that do not even know each other - I have seen them introducing themselves.
To me this seems like it could be a dangerous situation. Conversations will have to be closely guarded because if one of the inmates overhears something about the other inmate it could prove fatal.

Maybe it's time for VSP to do like the other prisons - each yard have it's own visiting room and not just throw everybody in together and have them share tables with complete strangers.

I could go on and on about visiting issues - but I won't - at least not yet.

If these could be brought up at the next IFC that would be great - and let us know what the outcome is on any discussion.

Thanks,
Karren
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to CloaknDagger For This Useful Post:
Sliccsgirl09 (09-21-2013)
  #20  
Old 09-07-2013, 06:47 PM
DeDiana DeDiana is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Europe
Posts: 25
Thanks: 5
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloaknDagger View Post
I totally agree with you when it comes to the price of the food but as long as we continue to buy the food there will be no changes.

As far as the doubling up of tables, I drive 4 hours to visit my husband and I can put up with sharing a table for a few hours if that allows me to get my whole visit. The guards do ask you before they double up if you want to share and if you feel that uncomfortable then you do have the choice to end your visit.

I thank the IFC who worked with the staff to allow the doubling up of tables and allow us to have the complete day with our loved ones.
I totally agree. We are given the choice to double up and they even ask who we want to double up with. I much rather double up than be sent home early.

I also agree on the coffee issue: this is the first prison I've visited that has no coffee or tea available and I'm not happy about that at all.

I wonder too if the patio is ever going to be re-opened?

I also have a question about the Family Visits: what is the exact procedure for letting the prisoner and his visitor know at the end of the visit at what time they will get picked up in the morning? I would really appreciate it if they could let us know at least an hour in advance what time they will pick us up, so we have an idea how much time we have left and we can make sure we are ready when they pick us up. But maybe there is already a procedure in place for this?
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to DeDiana For This Useful Post:
mrsbaldizan (09-07-2013)
  #21  
Old 09-08-2013, 12:04 PM
mrsbaldizan mrsbaldizan is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: California
Posts: 175
Thanks: 530
Thanked 307 Times in 80 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karren Ann View Post
First they need to reduce the prices of the food there, or at least get better quality food for the price we are paying - $7.00 for what they call a Bacon Lover's Cheeseburger that has one small little piece of bacon on it - please. McDonalds has better food.
Along with cheaper prices we need paper plates and maybe some plastic knives to cut some of that food up with so they/we don't look like animals trying to bite through any of the bread items after they go through the microwave.
I know a lot of the guys get coffee in their packages, so having coffee in the visiting room would be more for the visitors (I think anyway) but it still would be nice to have coffee, a variety of tea and hot chocolate available for those that want them.
There is so much wrong with the visiting there at VSP that it's almost impossible to cover them all.

No handicapped accessible tables for inmates/visitors in wheelchairs or mobility issues is another big problem for me. Upsets me every time I go in there and see people trying to make do at tables below knee level who can't reach them comfortably to eat, write or play cards.

Another issue is overcrowding. I know a lot of you won't agree with me on this but I have to say it anyway: At all prisons I have ever been to, when the visiting room becomes overcrowded they make the first visitors leave to make room for the new ones coming in. (Yes, I have been one of them who had to leave, and it upset me like you can't even believe). But at VSP they are asking inmates and their visitors if they will share a table with another inmate and their visitor.
For the most part that would be fine - as long as the inmates know each other and get along. But I have seen them put inmates together at a table that do not even know each other - I have seen them introducing themselves.
To me this seems like it could be a dangerous situation. Conversations will have to be closely guarded because if one of the inmates overhears something about the other inmate it could prove fatal.

Maybe it's time for VSP to do like the other prisons - each yard have it's own visiting room and not just throw everybody in together and have them share tables with complete strangers.

I could go on and on about visiting issues - but I won't - at least not yet.

If these could be brought up at the next IFC that would be great - and let us know what the outcome is on any discussion.

Thanks,
Karren

I would have to agree with this on many levels. Even though given the option to double up at tables is not a bad thing...the officers give everybody an option as to whether or not they want to double up. But do to the fact that all the inmates are now in visiting with other inmates they normally do not see is extremely stressful on them. I personally think that one of the reasons why visiting gets so crowded is because you have 4 yards squeezing into 2 visiting rooms. Not only that, but whether visitors want to recognize it or not, it has created a hostile environment for our LO's.

As much as we the visitors want to spend as much time as possible with our LO's, we have to remember what is also going to be best for our husbands/boyfriends/sons/brothers...etc. This is why my husband and I decided to cut our visits back. I know longer go every sunday....now because of the visiting situation I go every other sunday. Yes it sucks....but it's what has to be done to help my husband have a better peace of mind.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:32 PM
Karren Ann's Avatar
Karren Ann Karren Ann is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Stockton CA
Posts: 344
Thanks: 8
Thanked 122 Times in 93 Posts
Default Doubling up during visits

Let me play Devil's Advocate here for a bit:

An inmate refuses to share a table with another inmate. Once back in the pod tension runs high because the one who was not allowed to share the table feels "disrespected". Could prove deadly back in the pod.

Second scenario:
They decide to share a table. During the course of the conversations going on one hears something about the other that they don't like. Once again back in the pod things could get ugly between them.

There are plenty more scenario's that I could list, but those 2 will have to do or I will end up with a full length novel here


I do agree that having to choose between sharing a table and leaving are tough choices, ones we shouldn't have to make. (I would leave the decision up to my friend should this ever happen with us)

I myself am constantly looking around, watching for any sign of trouble while in the visiting room - and I see many others doing the same thing. There are just too many men of opposing prison political situations crammed into a room together. While most of them wouldn't jeopardize their visits by having confrontations while there, the day will come when someone feels they (or their visitor) was looked at wrong, or they feel they are being pointed out and talked about by another inmate and their visitor. Too many aspects of the visit (high cost of food, overcrowding with no real room to even walk around comfortably, the heat, the noise, etc) are all conducive to trouble (I worked with developmentally disabled men for 25 years and it happened there all the time under stressful conditions so I know how easy and quickly it can happen).

VSP needs to follow the same protocol as the other prisons: a separate visiting room for each yard. Only then will the possibility of trouble be lessened (I know there will always be the possibility - but a much smaller possibility).

As for the food prices - about the only thing that would work is to boycott them - not buy any food for a weekend. But then again, that could even backfire. Instead of lowering prices so that we would once again buy things they could raise the prices to recoup their losses from the previous weekend, and leave all the "spoiled" stuff in the machines.

I guess we will have to rely on the IFC to continue to bring up the cost of food and hope that something will be done about it. $7 for a "Bacon Lover's Cheeseburger" that has one tiny little piece of bacon on it is basically robbery (and they call our guys the criminals). You could get a whole meal, with fries and a drink for less than that outside the fence. (I purposely don't eat while there, choosing to spend the money on him. And he feels bad that I do that, but I can always stop at Jack in the Box down the road and get a meal for the drive home).

The other issue is the handicapped tables. I have seen way too many inmates and visitors trying to adjust to being at a table that is below knee level, making it impossible for wheelchairs to be placed close enough so that the table can be utilized comfortably.

I hope IFC can bring this issue up as well, as it is not only a violation of ADA regulations, but just a matter of time before somebody falls out of a wheelchair from leaning over too far to reach the table. A lawsuit just waiting to happen. (This is the only prison that I know of that does not provide ADA tables).

With all the moves happening, I am waiting to see if my friend will be endorsed for a transfer. If it appears that he will be staying there at VSP for any length of time then I will apply to be on the IFC - I have no problem speaking up and trying to better the conditions our men have to live in, and we are subjected to in the visiting room.

Oh, one other fact: the patio. They say they can't open it because they don't have the staff to monitor it. Bull crap. I visit another prison (level 3 and 4 inmates) where there is one C/O in the visiting room, and the patio is open. There are tables out there that are assigned on a first come basis, and the rest of us are allowed to go outside and walk around - without a C/O standing guard outside. (The tables even have umbrellas over them to provide shade).

The inmates and their visitors appreciate this little perk and I never notice any stress at all during visits.

I know, I'm long winded, but CDCR gets me so riled up at times I just can't seem to help it
__________________
You come to love not by finding the perfect person,
but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Karren Ann For This Useful Post:
mrsbaldizan (09-11-2013)
  #23  
Old 09-09-2013, 08:12 PM
CloaknDagger CloaknDagger is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 179
Thanks: 36
Thanked 61 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Well with this prison being a SNY prison fortunately the same prison politics are not as rampant here and there are many lifers at this prison who are trying to get dates to come home.

And again it is the families decision to share the table or go home which again I am a regular visitor and have not seen anyone refuse to share. The visitors here at VSP are pretty regular and are all familiar with each other. But I know we can't make everyone happy and it is YOUR choice to leave.

The system works well at this prison so hopefully it will continue to flow nicely to avoid terminations.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to CloaknDagger For This Useful Post:
Sliccsgirl09 (09-21-2013)
  #24  
Old 09-10-2013, 06:24 AM
DeDiana DeDiana is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Europe
Posts: 25
Thanks: 5
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Karren Ann: I agree with you that it would be much better if every yard had its own visiting room. But as long as this is not the case, I do prefer doubling up instead of leaving and so does my husband. He has no problem with it at all, actually. I come all the way from Europe to visit, and I for one would be very disappointed if they would make me leave after a few hours.

I also agree with you on the patio: I have also visited at level III prisons that had a patio with tables and no extra guard on the patio. It does make the visiting room less cramped and crowded if we can also walk or sit outside on the patio. I guess it was open before when it was still a women's prison, so why did the women get to enjoy this privilige and the men don't?

About the food prices: I hope too that the IFC will keep bringing up this issue. I see many of the same products they sell in other prisons (for instance the cheese cake, the drinks, the salads), but the price is doubled. How come this vendor has to ask twice as much for the same product? For the vendor the price of buying the product should be the same, so this means they just make a lot of profit on all of us. And the choice is poor as well: no fresh advocados, oranges, no coffee or hot beverages... With these prices the maximum amount of dollars we can take in hardly covers the cost of snacks and beverages for two adults.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to DeDiana For This Useful Post:
mrsbaldizan (09-11-2013)
  #25  
Old 09-11-2013, 01:41 AM
Brigitte Brigitte is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Your best source of information regarding VSP is on the IFC website at www.vsp-ifc.com. This site maintains the IFC agendas and minutes as well as regular updates about visiting and other family issues.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Corcoran State Prison (COR) Inmate Family Council (IFC) Q & A Lady Bull59 Corcoran State Prison (COR) - California 29 01-16-2015 08:30 PM
CIM IFC (Inmate Family Council) Q&A Whaatevverr California Institution for Men (CIM) - Chino 38 08-28-2009 02:39 PM
CMC Inmate Family Council Soluna26 California Men’s Colony (CMC) - San Luis Obispo 15 08-24-2008 11:39 PM
Inmate Family Council (IFC) at CCI ???? Keepinitreal California Correctional Institution (CCI) - Tehachapi 8 12-16-2007 07:24 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:07 PM.
Copyright © 2001- 2017 Prison Talk Online
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website Design & Custom vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media
Message Board Statistics