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Visitation, A Right, Not A Privilege

So, after the Department of Corrections finally figured out the conundrum they had on their hands, the drug epidemic, they've decided to make modifications to our visitation policy in Virginia's prisons. Took quite a while... Sad!

Prior to the modifications, friends and family could go to the website and apply to visit with any offender in the state of Virginia. What is now being implemented is what is called AFOI, or "Assisting Families of Inmates." Video visitation basically. Of course, nothing in this state is ever a simple process, so restrictions do apply.

Restrictions, as well as a price, of course. Literally. The cost is approximately ten dollars for a thirty minute visit and twenty-two dollars for one hour. Just another hustle by the state no doubt! The other cost: figuratively, the limitations placed on offenders who have a crime against a minor.

Sadly, whether the crime was of a sexual or violent nature, they must all register as Sex Offenders. How is this fair? These two are different offenses, so why must they be grouped together? Classified and labeled as such? Where's the sense in it? The problem lies in the fact that they do not qualify for video visitation.

I have permission from one of my best friends, Mrs. Andrea Petrosky, to quote what she sent on a request form. Mrs. Petrosky pleads:

'Please help... I am not allowed video visits at this time! However, I get contact visits. Unfortunately, I'm in the database for crimes against children. My son's in Heaven and I sooo would appreciate being able to visit with my daughter and my four-year old granddaughter. Also, I have friends and family all over the world who'd like to visit with me. Thank you, Andrea.'

The response she received was:

'Mrs. Petrosky, video visitation does have rules about which crimes exclude offenders from participation. I can understand your frustration. You could write Melissa Welch at Atmore and ask if there is any appeals process.' Signed Porterfield, M.A./CHAP

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