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Prison Visitation Rule Draws Protest

April 3rd, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda

For three hours this morning, state officials listened to angry family members upset over proposed changes that would make Florida the most restrictive state in the country to visit a prison inmate. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, family visits could be cut from as much as 12 hours a weekend to as little as four hours a month.

“Visitation, when do we want it, every damn day” chanted protestors.

As many as two hundred people, mostly wives, girlfriends and children, showed up to express their anger over a proposed new rule that would restrict prison visitation.

“Florida is about to lead the way to be worst and least accessible visitation in any state prison system” they were told by organizers.

Currently, families can visit as long as six hours a day on weekends and holidays. The D-O-C says short staffing and an increase in contraband are forcing the change, which  would limit visitation to as little as two hours, twice a month.

 

Krystal Lago of Spring Hill nearly broke down.

“My kids look forward to spending time with their father… excuse me” she said as she wiped her face. Others nodded in agreement.

 

Sarah Chancery made the trip from Plant City.

“I think it will increase violence. I think it will not affect the proposed issues at all” says Chancery, who had a young daughter in tow.

And a plan by the department to create video chats is raising big concerns.

Many fear the video chats are the beginning of the end of in person visits.

 

Shirley Reed came from Jacksonville. Her grandson is in prison and she visits regularly.

“We need that hug. We need that kiss. We need for our family members that’s locked up to see us, hold on to us, kiss us” says Reed.

The prisoners families are expected to challenge the change if and when it is implemented.

“Visitation! When do we want it? Every weekend!” Chanted those who waited for buses home.

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