Just in time for the holidays, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is cutting back on visitation for inmates of the county's six jails.
Both the number of weekly visits and the days available for visits were cut back, as of Sunday.
Before now, inmates were allowed three 30-minute visits per week, which could take place on any day of the week but Fridays.
Effective Sunday, inmates get one 30-minute visit per week, and visitation can only take place on Sundays and Mondays, according to a public notice posted on the MCSO website.
"Additional visits may be approved by the Division Commander on a case-by-case basis," the notice says.
Legal visits aren't affected by the change according to the notice.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's spokeswoman Lisa Allen tells New Times the change is being made "while we switch from one vendor to another vendor to update/improve MCSO's video visitation program."
(Most "visits" are done over a video system that looks like something out of a bad 1980's sci-fi movie.)
"The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office firmly believes that visitation is an integral aspect of the jail system," according to MCSO's own website. "Sheriff's Office facilities receive hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, giving inmates something to look forward to, providing incentive for them to behave appropriately while incarcerated, and allowing them to maintain a necessary bond with family and friends."
In addition to these new restrictions, the Sheriff's Office also has bans "illegal aliens" from visiting anyone in jail, as well as anyone who's been convicted of a felony, or incarcerated over the last year, according to an MCSO document for families of people in the jails system.
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