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Correctional Facility Visit Essay

Visiting Charleston Correctional Facility

Scheduling Visits

  1. All visits are by appointment only. Appointments are only made on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 09:00 a.m. and 02:00 p.m. for the following week. The dedicated visit telephone number is:  207-285-0816.
  2. All visitors must have an appointment regardless of age. There will be no exceptions to this pre-appointment process. If there is a change needed to a visit, it can be made by calling during the next appointment time.
  3. Visiting hours beginning 1/1/2017: Adults
    Thursdays Medium Unit - 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    Thursdays Minimum Unit - 7:30 p.m. -9:00 p.m.
    Saturdays & Sundays at Mountain View Medium Unit - 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Saturdays & Sundays at Mountain View Minimum Unit 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  4. No more than three (3) visitors may visit a prisoner at any given time. A fourth person may visit, but must be under the age of (6).
  5. Only visitors who are on the prisoner’s approved visiting list will be permitted to visit. Any person wishing to visit who has not previously been an approved visitor must submit a visitor application.

    Prisoners will be notified if their potential visitors are approved or denied visitation.
  6. Visitors may visit only one prisoner at a time, unless they receive prior approval in writing from the Director.
  7. Former prisoners of the Charleston Correctional Facility or other Department of Corrections facilities must have been released a minimum of one year before being considered for visitation. Former prisoners who have been released for at least one year must obtain advanced approval in writing from the Director before a visit will be allowed.

    Special consideration for visitation will be given to relatives of prisoners who are former prisoners regardless of their release dates.

    Anyone on Probation/Parole must obtain written permission from his/her Probation/Parole Officer as well as the Director in order to schedule a visit.
  8. Visitors will not be allowed through the traffic gate until fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start of the scheduled visiting period.

    Adult visitors shall be required to present government issued photo identification upon admittance (such as a driver’s license).

    Minor visitors may be required to present government issued photo identification, such as a State of Maine identification card or other government issued identification, such as a birth certificate, upon admittance to the facility.
  9. All visitors are to remain in their vehicles until the Visiting Room door is opened.
  10. The Facility reserves the right to search any visitor and vehicle it deems necessary under the authorization of the Director or designee. Prisoners may be subject to a search for contraband at any time, during or after visits if the need is indicated by any of the officers on duty or the On-duty Sergeant.

Attending Visits

  1. Visitors must be properly attired.
    ACCEPTABLE DRESS: Jeans and slacks, skirts and dresses knee length or longer. Tops and shirts that are loose fitting and completely cover the upper torso.

    UNACCEPTABLE DRESS: Gym shorts, boxer shorts, short-shorts or any items of clothing with revealing holes. Clothing which makes reference to drugs, alcohol, sex, violence or with vulgar or obscene language. Bare midriffs, half shirts, halter tops, tank tops, pajamas, lingerie, or see-through clothing of any kind. No bare feet.

    Dress code rules may be waived in cases where children (0-10) and senior citizens (60 and over) are involved.

    Officers will use common sense, respect and discretion. In instances where clothing worn by a visitor comes into question, the Visiting Desk Officer will notify the Duty Sergeant. Following a visual inspection, the Sergeant will make the determination if the visitor will be permitted to visit.

    If the visit is not allowed, the visitor will be advised to leave the property. There is no appeal.
  2. Prisoners will be properly dressed for visits. This includes a shirt buttoned up and tucked in, boots/shoes properly tied. Jackets and hats will not be worn in the visit room.
  3. A prisoner and visitor may embrace or kiss briefly at the beginning and end of the visit. Prisoners and visitors may hold hands during the remainder of the visit. Petting or sexual contact may be considered reason for ending the visit. The hands of the prisoner and visitor must be visible at all times. Unless otherwise restricted, prisoners may hold their minor children in their laps. All conduct during visits must be within proper limits of decorum out of respect for others.
  4. The on-duty supervisor may choose to assign seating.
  5. Visitors will keep their children under close supervision at all times. Visitors will not be allowed to bring food or drink into the visiting room with the exception of infant’s nutrition.

    All children must be seated within the immediate vicinity of the parents or guardians. They may not sit unsupervised. They may not climb on furniture or disturb other visitors in any way, which includes yelling, screaming, throwing things.
  6. Nothing will be passed between the visitors and the prisoner unless it has been cleared by the Visit Officer.

    Contraband for the purpose of this section is defined as "a dangerous weapon, any tool or other thing that may be used to facilitate a violation of Section 757 (Escape), or any other thing which a person confined in official custody is prohibited, by statute or regulation, from making or possessing.

    Examples of contraband are: weapons, cutting blades, drugs, marijuana, alcohol, files, money, and tobacco. Persons violating this rule will be suspended from visiting and are subject to criminal prosecution. It is a felony to aide in the escape of a prisoner.
  7. There will be NO LOUD or PROFANE language. Be respectful of others.
  8. Visitors will leave all handbags, suitcases, briefcases and other items not necessary during visits locked in their automobiles. No property will be allowed to be brought in by visitors. Visitors who bring diaper bags into the visit room must leave them with the Visit Officer. Visitors coats/jackets will be stored in the prescribed area. The Facility will not assume responsibility for any of the visitors’ personal effects.
  9. Persons suspected of carrying a weapon, who appear to having been drinking intoxicants, or appear to be under the influence of a controlled substance will be not admitted. Consuming or possessing alcohol or drugs on State property is a violation of State law.
  10. No cameras or cell phones are allowed. Visitors will not be allowed to take photographs in or about the Facility.
  11. Prisoners will remain seated once visits commence except to speak to the Visit Officer. Prisoners and visitors shall not move about the visit room or visit with other prisoners or their visitors.
  12. If there is only one visitor, the visitor and prisoner must sit across from each other. Prisoners are required to sit facing the Visit Officer at all times.
  13. All items purchased in the canteen machines for the prisoners will be consumed in the visiting room.

Conclusion of Visits

  1. All visitors who leave the Visiting Room must go directly to their vehicles.
  2. Prisoners will remain seated at the end of the visit until the Visit Officer directs him to leave. The prisoner will straighten the chairs and clean up his/her visit area.
  3. A prisoner may be prohibited by the Director from receiving a visit from any other person when there is reasonable suspicion that allowing a visit between them would facilitate criminal activity or violation of facility rules and/or would create a risk to the safety of persons, security, or orderly management of the facility.

Other Visit Provisions

  1. The Director may allow special visit accommodations, provided space and staff are available. Some examples of special visits which may be considered are:
    • A visitor traveling from out of state.
    • A family making a one time visit from out of state.
    • And other special circumstances.
  2. Professional visits may be allowed after receiving approval from the Director. Professional visitors may include an attorney, a representative of a legal advocacy organization, Department of Corrections’ staff from outside of the facility, law enforcement officials, clergy, and others, as determined by MDOC Policy 21.4 (.pdf 100K).*
    Professional visits shall be provided in an area that affords an opportunity for confidentiality.
  3. Failure to comply with the visiting policy may result in termination of the visit, as well as suspension of future visiting privileges.
  4. The Facility will provide a private area to accommodate breastfeeding mothers for mothers and children only. Prisoners will not be allowed in these areas

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This dissertation analyzes the effects of two correctional policies on prison misconduct. Chapter 1 briefly frames prison as a policy built environment and provides an overview of mass incarceration in the United States. Chapters 2 and 3 provide causal estimates of the effects of two correctional policies on prison misconduct.

Chapter 2 estimates the relationship between prison visits and self-reported inmate misconduct using the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (SISCF). This paper contributes to the extant literature by broadening the scope of the conversation about the determinants of inmate behavior to include influences from outside of the prison, namely prison visits, as opposed to limiting the discussion to individual or prison-specific influences. By employing an instrumental variables approach to estimating the relationship between prison visits and inmate misconduct the paper is the first to address the threats to internal validity posed by direct estimation of the effect of visitation on prison misconduct. The intuition behind my identification strategy is that distance between an inmate's home and place of incarceration isolates quasi-random variation in prison visitation, in effect assigning prison visits to inmates in a given state at random. The results suggest receiving visits reduces certain types of misconduct and the findings suggest the potential to reduce prison misconduct without resorting to increased isolation.

Chapter 3 estimates the relationship between facility security level and prison misconduct using an administrative data set from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The different levels of prison facility are designed to recognize heterogeneity in the inmate population and to appropriately house inmates during their incarceration to minimize risk of misconduct and escape. Prison facility security levels vary in physical characteristics, average levels of violence and other misconduct and staff perceptions of safety. An increase in facility security level could result in a suppression effect on misconduct and/or a peer effect which could positively or negatively effect misconduct. In this chapter, I employ a regression discontinuity (RD) design that exploits cutoffs in the security classification score to characterize the relationship between security classification and prison misconduct. The results of the paper suggest that inmates placed in a Level III facility are 8 percentage points less likely to incur a RVR than inmates placed in Level II, and that this result is driven almost entirely by a lower likelihood of write ups for Division E or F violations, which are the lowest level of violations eligible for write up as RVRs. I hypothesize that this result may be a result in differences in the priorities of custody staff as opposed to lower numbers of these types of violations at Level III prisons. In contrast to the findings between Levels II/III, I do not find an effect of facility security classification on the incidence of serious RVRs at the Level III/IV cutoff.

Overall, the goal of the dissertation is to contribute to the extant knowledge about the effects of correctional policies on inmate outcomes by describing how certain correctional policies shape the in-prison behavior of both inmates and custody staff. Since the effects of incarceration most likely reverberate to those who interact with inmates during their incarceration and persist after an inmate is released, understanding the effects of correctional policies on in prison behavior contributes to our understanding of how incarceration affects individuals, their families and their communities post-release and, in doing so, contribute, in some part, to a better understanding of what it means to use incarceration so extensively in the United States.

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