---- — ALBANY — New visitation regulations are in place at all 60 New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision prison facilities.
The updated protocol includes new guidelines for the possible suspension of visitor and inmate visitation privileges should either violate procedures, according to statement from the department.
“Visitation is a very important aspect of ensuring that inmates remain connected to their families and loved ones, and we know that it can help them to adjust to their incarceration, serve their time productively and prepare for re-entry into the community,” DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer said. “These updated visitation regulations will enhance this important program, while also strengthening the safety and security of our facilities.”
The new rules went into effect Oct. 1 following a 45-day public comment period on the proposed changes.
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Under the new rules, visitors may have visitation privileges suspended for up to one week while the superintendent makes the decision to reinstate, limit, suspend or indefinitely postpone their rights to visit an inmate.
A maximum penalty of an indefinite suspension of visiting privileges is now likely to be imposed in response to violations.
While there is no predetermined end date for a suspension, visitors may request to have their case reviewed annually by the superintendent at the facility they would like to visit, the department said.
Inmates may also have their visitation rights taken away if they are found guilty of misbehavior before, during or after a visit.
“Certain types of misconduct, such as smuggling contraband or sexual misconduct when other visitors are in the area, can result in a loss of visits with all visitors,” the new guidelines say.
An inmate found guilty of a drug-related charge, under any circumstances, will also be subject to loss of all visitation privileges for six months for a first offense and one year for a second offense.