SECTION 1. Section 36C of chapter 127 of the General Laws, as amended by section 92 of chapter 69 of the acts of 2018, is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentences:-
For the purposes of this section, to unreasonably limit in-person visitation of inmates shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) providing an eligible inmate fewer than 2 opportunities for in-person visitation during any 7-day period;
(b) placing limitations on the number of unique individuals who may be eligible to visit the inmate;
(c) prohibiting an individual from visiting more than one inmate in the custody of the Department of Correction, or more than one inmate in the same facility, absent an individual determination that such visitation would pose a threat to security or orderly running of the facility;
(d) requiring eligible visitors to submit more private and personal information to be pre-approved to visit than is strictly necessary for the safety and security of the institution and/or without complying with all applicable statutes, regulations, and orders governing the protection of sensitive and/or private personal information;
(e) limiting inmates to receiving visitors from a pre-approved list without permitting inmates to update their list upon request, or limiting inmates to receiving visitors from a pre-approved list without providing a reasonable process for the inmate to request an exception allowing for approval of visitors where visitation could not have been reasonably foreseen, and to have such requests promptly approved within 10 calendar days absent an individual determination that such visitation would pose a threat to security or orderly running of the facility;
(f) refusing to permit a visitor or visitors who previously visited an inmate without incident or who was on an inmate’s previously approved visitor list to visit that inmate upon his or her admission or transfer to a new facility, absent a specific determination that such visitor(s) would pose a threat to security or orderly running of the facility; or requiring a new pre-approved list of authorized visitors upon an inmate’s admission or transfer to a new facility without permitting at least two adult visitors and any of the inmate’s minor children to visit the inmate pending authorization of the inmate’s visitor applicants;
(g) excluding a visitor from eligibility solely on the basis of their status as formerly incarcerated;
(h) excluding a visitor from eligibility solely on the basis of their role, past or present, as a volunteer in a state or federal prison, jail or house of correction;
(i) excluding a visitor from eligibility unless there is reasonable individualized suspicion that their visitation poses a threat to institutional security, articulated in writing to the excluded person; and further without providing the excluded person the right to appeal their exclusion as well as to have their exclusion re-evaluated after no more than one year has passed;
(j) prohibiting an inmate from holding their minor children, or prohibiting inmates or visitors from playing with or instructing their children, or, where there is a designated children’s area, prohibiting inmates or visitors from playing with or instructing their children within the confines of that area.
(k) prohibiting prisoners and visitors from sitting side by side or from engaging in reasonable physical contact, including but not limited to a brief handshake, hug, and/or closed-mouth kiss;
(l) prohibiting contact visitation wherever such visitation is feasible;
(m) removing contact visitation as a disciplinary measure for more than 15 days;
(n) implementing a dress code that is unreasonable and fails to respect a visitor’s religion, race, class, culture, gender identity, and sexual orientation; “unreasonable” includes but is not limited to barring any clothing or accessory that does not pose a threat to security or the orderly running of the facility or preventing a visitor whose dress was deemed unacceptable from returning during a designated visiting period on the same day with alternate clothing;
(o) turning away a visitor on the basis of a dress code violation without consulting the superintendent, shift commander, or designee, provided, however, that if a visitor is turned away for a dress code violation that the specific reason must be in writing and provided to the visitor upon request;
(r) prohibiting inmates in restrictive housing from having access to the same visitation as prisoners in general population, provided, however, that visits may be restricted for up to 15 days for a disciplinary offense;
(s) failing to provide a separate confidential room for legal visits in each correctional facility;
(t) prohibiting daily access to visitation during all facility or hospital visiting hours should an inmate be transferred to an outside facility or hospital and be in critical condition or in imminent danger of death;
(u) failing to establish a policy that visitation be maximized and as free and unencumbered as possible, provided it is not inconsistent with a facility’s operational and security needs.
SECTION 2. Section 36C of Chapter 127 of the General Laws, as amended by section 92 of chapter 69 of the acts of 2018, is hereby amended by inserting this paragraph at the end: -
Every guard, corrections officer and employee of a correctional institution, jail or house of correction shall be required to attend a training session and receive educational information on; (1) the importance of ongoing visitation to individuals who are incarcerated as related to reducing recidivism, violence and increasing successful re-entry, and (2) the importance of civility and respectful conduct toward family members and other members of the public who visit individuals who are incarcerated so as to encourage visitation on a regular basis while maintaining security. Training materials and educational information shall be developed in consultation with representatives of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, Prisoners Legal Services, ex-prisoners community based organizations, and community based re-entry programs, and prior to implementation shall be submitted to the joint committee on the judiciary and the joint committee on public safety and homeland security.
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