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Ga. Dept. of Corrections Torturous Approved Visitation List

The Georgia Department of Corrections policy on Visitation, Sending Money, and Ordering Packages. I am describing my situation in supporting Ky, but this applies to all GDOC residents.
I get messages everyday day from amazing supporters who want to send Ky money or Books, or try to visit. Unfortunately, the Ga. DOC has ridiculous guidelines for contact with their residence. These rules are a form of torture that specifically targets poor families, and prevents them from contacting their incarcerated loved ones.

The ” APPROVED Visitation List “

The DOC allows residents to update their visitation list 2 times per year.  The resident is given a few forms to send to loved ones, which have to be filed out and returned along with a large amount of personal documentation.  This  required documentation list includes; photo ID, SS card, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and more.

Here is a link to the GDOC Application 

While the application itself isn’t terrible, there are 2 things that make this torturous for the incarcerated:

  1. Almost no one is approved. While the GDOC claims that friends may apply, they usually ONLY APPROVE immediate family.  Only about 30% of the population at Pulaski has a person on their Approved Visitation List.
  2.  ONLY people on the “Approved” visitation list are allowed to send money, order packages, and have visits.  If you are not on the list,  you cannot support your loved one. If  the prison runs out of something , like hygiene products, those who do not have support on the Approved List, will go without.

This policy segregates residents from healthy connections in the Free World that is beneficial to their rehabilitation. The  DOC strictly limits communications to the outside world to :

  •  Limit the amount of complaints from the residence, and their families, regarding abuse and neglect.
  • To create a sense of abandonment and despair in the resident. Residents without family contact are less likely to resist if they have no one to speak for them on the outside.

Weekly Commissary, Food, and Clothing Packages

First, lets start out with WHAT the GDOC provides to it’s residence.

  • Clothing – Uniforms , white under shirts, 3 pair of underwear,   3 pairs of socks, one pair of boots,  1 pair of pajamas,  1 winter coat.   Additional clothing items may be ordered from the prison approved clothing package that is provided to residence. They have the option to order sweat shirts, thermals, shorts, and clothing items.  The resident fills out an order form, and sends it home where someone on the APPROVED Visitation List can purchase
  • Personal Items-  Once a week the GDOC calls “Supplies”,  Everyone is given  toilet paper,  travel size deodorant, travel size tooth paste (which residents use to clean the toilet, not their teeth), and a small bar of blue soap (which is excellent for washing whites but extremely irritating to the skin).  In women’s facilities, each resident is given either 30 pads or 30 tampons once a month.  Personal items such as shampoo, REAL deodorant, hair care items (hair is required to be neat and put up), combs, brushes, & toothbrushes can be purchased off of the Weekly Commissary Sheet IF the resident receives money from someone on the APPROVED Visitation List.
  • Food Items-  Here is where the DOC is particularly nasty.  In an attempt to save money, Ga. Prisons do NOT provide lunch on weekends (Friday included) or Holidays.  They serve breakfast every morning around 4:30 am,  and dinner is served around 5:30 pm.  Residents can go 12 hours or more without eating for days … unless they are able to order food from the Weekly Commissary, which again, requires someone on the APPROVED Visitation List.  *Additionally, Ky is housed in a long term facility. Many of it’s residents are elderly or disabled.  Ky will order food for many ladies in his dorm so they will not have to go without.

While the policies make things difficult, they are not impossible to work around. Ky’s mother and uncle are the only 2 people on his visitation list. He receives money through his FundRazr  which is directly linked to an account where funds are sent and packages are ordered in his mother’s name.

“Criminals get what they Deserve”

Here’s the thing that is most disturbing, the US houses more inmates than any other country in the world.  Comments from people regarding prison conditions  are usually something like;

”  Well, they shouldn’t have committed a crime if they didn’t want to go to jail.”   

In a Utopian society, this statement would ring true. However, we live in a country where caging humans is a very big business and the government is making hand over fist money off of this business.

Since money is the motivation factor in the business of “Justice”, many folks who are locked up are innocent and were forced into a plea deal, or were charged with petty, non violent crimes.  Even for those how have committed serious crimes,  being in prison… locked away from the free world, IS the punishment.  Being abused, tortured and neglected by law enforcement is NOT.

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