TSCI Family Council Meetings

TSCI Family Council Meetings

WHO:  All TSCI-approved visitors

WHAT:  TSCI Family Council Meeting

The purpose of the Family Council is to provide an avenue for participants to communicate directly with members of the TSCI administration, identify areas that may be in need of improvement and to get feedback on those ideas. While it is important to remember that change will not be immediate, this forum gives us an opportunity to discuss the aspects of change. The meeting will last up to one hour. 

WHERE:  TSCI Visiting Room 

WHEN:

Meetings will last up to one hour.

SMU/ISDP Wednesday April 25, 2018 4 p.m.
Housing Unit 1 Thursday April 26, 2018 4 p.m.
Housing Units 2 and 3 Friday April 20, 2018 4 p.m.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION:

Issues of general concern – relative to visiting
Suggestion for improvement – relative to visiting



GROUND RULES:

Meetings will begin and end on time
Dress code for meetings will be the same as visitation dress code
No one inmate will be discussed
No one staff member or group of staff members will be discussed
Interruptions of staff and other attendees will not be allowed

Items to be added to the next agenda will be determined through discussions at each meeting
Meeting minutes will be taken and available for participants at the next visiting session and posted on the bulletin board in the lobby waiting area

**Individual inmate's programming needs or transfer requests will not be discussed at this meeting. 


MEETING MINUTES:

1/20/18 -- 2/2/18

Facilitator: Associate Warden Bulling-June

Recorder: Unit Administrator Secretary L. Schmidt and Administrative Assistant II A. Wright

Welcome: AW Bulling-June welcomed everyone and gave a brief overview, explained expectations and purpose of the meeting.

  • Visitors are allowed to come in for the Family Council meeting even if they chose not to visit the day of the meeting.
  • Visitors are not allowed to bring change to the meeting.

 
Issues Discussed:

  • Thursday Visiting for Housing Unit 1:
    • There was an error on the NDCS website. The TSCI Visiting Schedule has not changed. The error was corrected on the following Monday. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused.
  • Change to Visiting Dress Code—effective February 22, 2018:
    • Are the rules negotiable? For example sweater/sweatshirt, the visitors want to keep warm. Even the staff in the visiting room wear sweaters and sweatshirts, there is no empathy.
      • The memo states exceptions to a sweater/sweatshirt are a blazer or suit jacket
      • The changes effective 2.22.18 will not be altered
      • All shirts must be tucked in
      • AW Bulling-June read the policy for the new dress code and explained NDCS is attempting to unify dress codes at all facilities.
    • Are button shirts allowed?
      • The policy does not indicate, button up shirts if tucked in are allowed.
  • Implementation:
    • Implementation of the policy was inconsistent and horribly executed. Rules do not seem to apply to males the same as females. Staff act in an unprofessional and dehumanizing manner. Visitors will make it past the gatehouse just to be given warnings by the visiting staff. A child was not allowed to wear light up shoes.  
      • Administration has apologized for how the Visiting Dress Code Memo was released on Friday January 19, 2018. We have taken steps to correct and prevent further issues. The Pass Clerk has the discretion to make judgment calls on what is and what is not appropriate within policy. Staff will also be provided with pictures to exemplify what is appropriate and what is not. Light up shoes are not allowed no matter due to the electronics in them.
  • Communication:
    • Visitors have driven several hours just to find out they cannot visit their inmate because their housing unit is on lockdown and the website didn’t say anything.
      • The website is controlled by Central Office; we are not able to make changes to the website however we notify Central office of any cancellations as soon as we able.
    • Staff members treat visitors with disrespect forgetting we are all human and the visitors have done nothing wrong.
      • AW Bulling-June encouraged visitors to report such behavior.
    • Staff members treat inmates with disrespect and immediately use discipline  
      • AW Bulling-June explained NDCS trains staff in Crisis Intervention and Conflict Resolution during multiple levels of their training and employment with NDCS. This class specifically addresses communication between staff and offenders.
  • Accountability:
    • Is there a grievance policy for visitors?
      • No, NDCS does not have a formal grievance policy for public citizens.
    • Emails are not being acknowledged, not even a reply that the email was received.
      • Administration attempts to return all emails in a timely matter.
    • Inmate Interview Request forms are answered but the answer has nothing to do with the request or it provides old information that is no longer applicable, i.e. “you received your meds on this date” and provides a date that was a month before the appointment where the meds were prescribed.
      • Inmate Interview Requests are responded during business hours and staff are encouraged to provide an accurate answer in a timely matter.
  • J-Pay/GTL Tablets:
    • Are pictures allowed through emails/phone?
      • We are still in contract negotiations
      • Once installed we will see what our system can tolerate
      • There is no time frame due to the equipment still being installed
      • The weather has pushed the contractors back two (2) weeks
      • One (1) hour of phone time can be used at any time throughout the day when the phone system is implemented.  

Closing:

AW Bulling-June has put together a slideshow with various classes, programs, graduations, and other activities held at TSCI for the public to view in the gatehouse.
Next meetings will be held in April 2018, look for dates on NDCS website.