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California Limits Participants for Extended Family Visits

The California Supreme Court held that only family members as defined in Title 15, § 3174., California Administrative Code (CAC) are eligible for "extended family visits." A San Quentin prisoner serving a life sentence was denied "extended family visitation' with a woman who was not his wife, and her daughter who was not his child. The prisoner alleged the three of them had long-standing mutual emotional, psychological and financial commitments as a family for seven years prior to his imprisonment. The prisoner filed for Habeas Corpus relief seeking to invalidate the D.O.C.'s regulation and allow him "extended family visitation" with the woman and her child.

The Court held that CAC was enacted to help preserve the "family unity" of prisoners', those established by, "blood, marriage, or adoption." Allowing "alternative" relationship visits could and would be delving into semantic quicksand. The petition for Habeas Corpus was denied. Since the ruling, the prison has tightened its visitation rules to be more restrictive. See: In Re Cummings, 30 Cal.3rd 870; 640 P. 2d. 1101 (Cal. 1982).

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