Capitol Alert

Local jails can continue to bar in-person visits

Melissa Yoscovitch, 17, touches a video screen while visiting her husband at a jail in Reno, Nev., in 1999.
Melissa Yoscovitch, 17, touches a video screen while visiting her husband at a jail in Reno, Nev., in 1999. San Jose Mercury News

Despite expressing sympathy for advocates’ underlying goal, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed a bill prohibiting the exclusive use of video visitation at local detention facilities.

Senate Bill 1157, by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, would have required county jails to maintain in-person visits, even if they install video systems. Supporters said at least five California counties, including San Diego and San Bernardino, have at least one jail where families can only see inmates through a computer screen, and three more, including Orange, are planning to renovate or build new facilities without space for in-person visits.

In his veto message, Brown said the bill did not provide adequate flexibility.

“Nevertheless, I am concerned about the recent trend of making jail facilities unavailable for in-person visits,” he wrote. “This practice could have an adverse impact on achieving rehabilitative goals and might affect in a negative way the families and loved ones of those incarcerated.”

Brown added that he is directing the Board of State and Community Corrections to address the issue.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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