Friday, December 31, 2010

Inmate visits - where and by whom?

When you visit an inmate at the McHenry County Jail, what's the procedure?

For most of us, you go in the front door on the north end of the west wall of the building. You approach a safety-glass window (probably bullet-proof) and state your business. You present ID. You'd better not be wanted, even unknowingly.

You are told to sit down and wait, and to put your valuables in a locker. (Remember, take the key.)

You don't get to talk to the inmate in person. When your visiting time comes, you pass through an electronic screener (No, it's not like TSA uses; it's not a full-body scan (yet)). You proceed into a room and find a booth with your assigned number. Pick up the phone and wait for your inmate to be directed to the phone from which he will talk with you.

No chance to shake hands or hug your family member or kiss your spouse (or child or parent). Certainly no chance to pass contraband. No cakes can be delivered... with or without sawblades.

If you are an attorney, I suspect it's different. My guess is that you enter through a different door, and you get to sit down in a room with your client. You know; like on TV.

Now, disregarding medical calls and court-ordered contact visits, is there any other way to meet with a prisoner?

Is it possible to go in "the back way" and to be able to meet face-to-face with a prisoner? Is there a way to do that which might be "off the books"? Could someone with special privileges (not an attorney) be allowed to meet with inmates? Could someone "with connections" be allowed into the jail for a face-to-face meeting with an inmate?

I began hearing about this well before December 15.

There should be written records of every contact with an inmate by anyone, but would such a visit be entirely off the records, and therefore not FOIA-able?


Anonymous said...

We know what you are refering to Gus. Jose Rivera is allowed back door access to the jail and is allowed private meetings with Latin King gang members and illegal immigrants. Why? It's not hard to figure out now, is it? Just read those court transcripts and talk to Milliman.

Gus said...

Is the back door monitored by CCTV? Are the images saved for any particular period of time?

Are such visits arranged by Department telephone or email, or by personal cell phone calls?

The CCTV images ought to be subject to FOIA, and then entrance and exit could be compared with written records of inmate visits.

Anyone with information is invited to contact me directly, if you prefer not to post here. Confidentiality is assured.

DirtyNed said...

Let me understand this logic. Jose Rivera, a grocery store owner, is going to Bogart his way into a secure jail so he can meet with Mexican gang members? For what purpose, to stock shelves or smuggle Avocados? CCTV or not, they have jail logs and I'm sure this jail is like others requiring a written log if someone meets with a prisoner. Sounds like some cry baby jailer off their med's.