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With the removal of traditional all day visits by children to their mothers at the Emu Plains Prison DCS has systematically begun the breakdown of families and an increase in re-offending. Even Assistant Director of DCS, Mr. L. Grant acknowledged this:
“We believe that people who maintain contact with their families are less likely to re-offend...

With the removal of traditional all day visits by children to their mothers at the Emu Plains Prison DCS has systematically begun the breakdown of families and an increase in re-offending. Even Assistant Director of DCS, Mr. L. Grant acknowledged this:
“We believe that people who maintain contact with their families are less likely to re-offend than people who do not. And we recognise that they types of relationships that people have with their families are very, very important, particularly relationships with children. People, when they come into custody, are dislocated from their families and from their social support network. One of the challenges for people when they return to the community after they have been in custody is to get those relationships operating again and, therefore, the visits process is a very, very important part of that. (General Purpose Standing Committee No 3, 17-11-06 at 9)
However this rhetoric is completely opposite to the actions taken at Emu Plains. Once the facility had a progressive Mother and Children program, which fostered bonding between imprisoned mothers and their children. This however has all but ceased due to the change in the visit protocol, instead of offering all day visits with time for a lunch provided by the local Rotary, the Emu plains officials have changed to two hour block visits which need to be booked in advance.
Under the auspices of the needs of the children, the officials changed the policy without regard for the prisoners or their families. The prisoners were told that this action was being taken in order to allow time for their loved ones to enjoy a proper lunch. Lie number one. In reality, Rotary had been providing BBQ lunches for the families the entire time, something that was stopped once the new policy came into effect. Furthermore, the Emu Plains facility is nowhere close to a take-away or restaurant that would be in walking distance for families to get food from.

Actual practice 2007
The idea of an advanced booking system works - in theory. However, if you factor in the elements of strict, unsuitable allotment times and the possibility of employees who refuse to answer the phone during this time. Bookings for the weekend visits to Emu Plains can only be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2-5pm and Wednesdays 3:30-6:30pm. Clearly, these times conflict with not only work, but home commutes and familial commitments. Even when family members find the time to make the phone call, there have been reports of phones not being answered or bookings being lost in the system. There have been reports, contested by the DCS, that Emu Plains employees feel that taking bookings should not be a part of their job description, and fail to answer the phones. These spiteful actions are more than detrimental to the supposed familial relationship fostering that the facility was once known for.
If a family does make it through the rigorous bureaucratic loopholes and they actually can visit their loved one at Emu Plains the next hurdle is the extensive lines one must wait in to check into the facility. Bearing in mind that visitors are only allotted two hours to visit, most of this time may be spent standing in line. Imagine the level of unsatisfaction that one would incur knowing that the majority of your day was wasted waiting in line for a check in as opposed to spending it with the person you came to see.

 

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