Cops, Courts & Prisons


Originally published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 61, printed February 17. Reproduced here in for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter 2020 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

In a new Department of Corrections policy, Virginia’s roughly 38,000 state prisoners are now allowed no more than 10 people on their visitors lists.

The policy, described as a way to reduce drugs and other contraband from being smuggled into correctional facilities, went into effect this past Jan. 15.

Further, prisoners will only be able to change who is on their visitation list twice a year. Under the previous policy, they could change their visitation list at any time.

As of last September, between 4,000 and 5,000 prisoners had a visitor’s list, according to secretary of public safety and homeland security Brian Moran. Of those, just 363 had more than 10 people on their list.

According to the Virginian Pilot newspaper. Moran said exceptions to the 10- visitor rule would be made for people with large families. Children, reporters and lawyers are excluded from the new limit.

According to the figures quoted in the above news item, fully 87 percent of all Virginia prisoners have no one on their visitors list.

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