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Visitation- Zero-tolerance policy regarding contraband

 

TDCJ OMBUDSMAN BULLETIN TO OFFENDER FAMILY GROUPS

 

(Please disseminate to your respective group members

 

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) zero-tolerance policy regarding contraband has been enhanced at all correctional facilities.

 

The following search and contraband procedures have been put in place for all persons entering TDCJ correctional facilities.  

 

All individuals entering a TDCJ facility shall be searched using a metal detection device and then pat searched by an officer of the same gender.  Pat searches of all persons entering a correctional facility have been authorized based upon the reasonable suspicion that contraband has been introduced into the unit.  Should anything suspicious be noted, a supervisor shall be called to determine whether further investigation is warranted.  Should further investigation be necessary, the duty warden shall be summoned to determine whether or not the visitor shall be taken to a private area to resolve the issue.  Any visitor refusing to be searched shall be required to leave the facility grounds.

 

All persons shall be screened/searched inside a sheltered area if inclement weather exists.  Persons with a medical condition which could trigger a metal detector alert shall need to produce a doctor’s note to the warden detailing the condition that causes a metal detection alert. Medically approved items that are removable may be searched.

 

Permissible items:

 

--Visitors shall be permitted to bring into the unit a small wallet or coin purse (if they can be searched and scanned), or a clear one (1) gallon plastic bag.

 

--Visitors may bring coin money in an amount not to exceed $20.00.

 

--Visitors with infants or small children may bring no more than three diapers, a supply of baby wipes and two clear bottles (clear “sippy” cup for toddlers) into the unit.  These items shall be stored in a clear plastic bag.

 

--Visitors are allowed to purchase soft drinks and vending machine snacks for offenders during general and contact visits, but the items must be consumed during the visit.

 

An attorney or designated representative may bring briefcases, attaché cases, computer laptops and personal digital assistance for the visit, however, these electronic devices may not be used to communicate with a third party during the visit.  Attorneys or designated representatives may also bring a tape recorder into the visitation area to be used only for taking notes of the interview with the offender and for recording the conversation between the attorney or designated representative and the offender, but for no other purpose.  Attorneys and designated representatives are prohibited from bringing portable telephones, wireless communication devices, or other electronic equipment not noted in TDCJ rules and regulations into the unit.  The warden may open and inspect any item (e.g., briefcases, attaché cases and tape recorders), but only in the attorney’s or designated representative’s presence and only for the purpose of detecting physical contraband.  Senior wardens may approve additional persons who have a need to bring briefcases on the unit.

 

The TDCJ appreciates the cooperation of all employees and visitors as these new procedures are implemented.

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NEW VISITATION RULES FOR TDCJ UNITS