**This featured case is one example of the concerns people have brought to us. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved.
Darcy very much wanted his children to be able to visit him while he was in jail. Like other inmates, when he first arrived, Darcy was asked to provide two visiting lists: one of friends and the other of family members.
Darcy had provided his ex-wife’s name as his next-of-kin and assumed that she would be granted visiting privileges, even though he did not actually put her on either list. He did not particularly wish to see her, but believed that she would be able to bring their children for visits. He later learned that, for this to happen, he would have had to put her on his friend visiting list because she would not automatically be considered and in fact did not qualify to be added to the family visiting list – plus, the friend visiting list could only be updated every six months.
He did not want to wait so long to see his children, so he asked for an appeal of the decision. When he did not receive a reply after three weeks, he contacted our office.
We checked with the correctional centre and were informed that the response was on its way. The answer was no. Darcy’s ex-wife would not be considered family and he could not add her to his friend list until the six months had passed.
While this response was correct according to policy, it meant that Darcy would not be able to see his children for six months because he misunderstood the rules. We contacted the visiting officer, who acknowledged Darcy’s predicament and provided another option. Based on the visiting officer’s advice, Darcy’s ex-wife submitted a guardianship paper, permitting his sister, who was already on his family visiting list, to bring the children with her.