CA Classification Process (Receiving) Flow for Women and the Effects Part One
By Blogger Voice (Husband)
I wasn’t really sure how the process worked after sentencing in CA. But, I do know this. After sentencing, you are held (well, for my Wife) at county jail. The length of time at County can vary. It can be determined by any other local court dates to even just waiting for a seat in the van. We were told by a deputy, that CDCR tries to move the male inmates first. So, the wait time might be longer for females. Then you are sent to classification (receiving). All women serving prison time in CA, go through Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) before being sent to their mainstream prison. There, you are tested medically, mentally, your education is tested, and your “work” abilities are determined. County>Receiving>Mainstream Prison.
When you get sent to Receiving from County, you will not know until maybe 2 hours before you are taken to the van. So, once you’ve made your phone call to family or friends that night, you could be notified say around 10pm and you are packing up and leaving at midnight. You are not allowed to call anyone to let them know (For security reasons. You know, for those of us that are in say a “Fast and the Furious” type group with all the movie type stunts to rescue our loved ones). So, the next morning or day your family doesn’t hear from you, they are left to figure out what happened. Calls to County and hearing that your loved one is no longer in their custody is what they will say. Not much else. So, you have to just wait until they have been processed (24 hrs) at CCWF and show in the “Inmate Locater” on the CDCR website. Your loved one, will then make the drive to Chowchilla, CA. From Las Colinas Detention and Re-Entry Facility in San Diego, the drive is 375 miles (approx 6.5 hours). Way out in the middle of nowhere. During their stay there, which could be up to 4 months, there is no contact visits or phone calls. They do allow emergency phone calls. But, your main communication with your loved one will be via letters and postcards. Originally, we heard that the mail took 4-6 weeks to get through. But, I believe that was around the holidays. Letters to us took 5-7 days. Postcards to us were 4-5 days. Our postcards sent, took 7-8 days. I still don’t know how long letters take to get through. The fact that they have to be opened, adds time, due to the already short staffed prison. The staff isn’t supposed to read the letters, just scan for keywords like drugs, gun, kill etc. But, who really knows. Postcards are definitely the way to go to make initial contact. They also tell you to not have any art or drawings on the plain postcard you’re sending. So, having the inmates child draw them a picture on the postcard isn’t allowed. Might signal something. Crazy. These are all things that I have run into. You may have gone through something different, but this is what I have seen.
When they first get into receiving, they are put into a 2 inmate cell (depending on overcrowding). Praying you get a decent bunkie. They will eventually be moved into an eight inmate cell. That’s where things might get interesting. You aren’t dealing with one other personality anymore, you’re dealing with 7 others. Remember, inmates are being “classified”. There are all different security levels there mixed in together. I did hear of fights. I mean, there were fights in County too. You just never know.
What’s really tough is, when your loved one runs out of paper or envelopes, she has to wait for commissary. Which in receiving, is once a month. Her books can have money on them, but it won’t matter until that once a month visit to commissary. As far as putting money on her books, the company we had to use was JPay. Total ripoff. Their processing fees for your deposits are ridiculous. Can range from 10% to 20%. You can send a money order to JPay, but the processing takes forever, Trust me, they (JPay) encourage you to use your credit or debit card for “Immediate deposit”. Gee, I wonder why ? JPay is just one of the many companies that profit from the incarcerated.
So, the communication between inmate and family can be very tough. I was very surprised that there wasn’t any type of program that would allow a child of an inmate to see their Mother while in receiving. I even called CCWF and asked why that was. While they were courteous, they gave no reason. It’s just the way it is. The information on the CDCR website, doesn’t give much info regarding family during receiving. There was this:
The intent of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Visiting Program is to develop and maintain healthy family and community relationships.
This is for mainstream prison visitation. Receiving seems to be the “black hole” of the process. The lack of communication for children with their Mothers is devastating. We will wait and wait for that letter to come. We, as adults, are equipped to deal with this separation, though it hurts like hell, we can deal. Children ? No way. Confusion, pain, sadness, depression, separation anxiety. It’s all there. It’s brutal on them. They can receive letters and write. That’s it. That’s not anywhere close to relieve what they are going through. Yes, there are programs and groups that will help with the feelings of a child of an incarcerated parent. But, they need that contact. At least a phone call.
I would love to see this “rule” changed. I’m sure there would be overwhelming support for this change.
Stay tuned for Part Two..Blogger Voice
Website For Receiving in CA