How to Visit, Write, and Support our Jailed Occupy Friends

March 26, 2012 in Legal

By J.T. Colfax, March 30, 2012

VISITING

Below you will find all the specifics on supporting jailed comrades at least as it concerns them being in the Van Cise jail. At the time of this writing the COUNTY JAIL has not really entered into the picture (yet). The absolute main thing to learn, know, and spread to others about the process is that it is EASY. The Van Cise building is only a few blocks walk from Civic Center Park, The Capitol, The Library, etc. You walk in the building, and 20 feet in front of you are a few deputies behind glass. The line to talk to them forms to the left. You do not need the inmate’s booking number, charges, or to be related.

They want TWO THINGS from you:

  1. A valid ID (can be a passport)
  2. The name of the inmate you wish to visit.

You should also know that many of the Occupy inmates have been visited by people they are not very familiar with, and they very much appreciate it. For instance, I visited an inmate who I had only spoken with a few times, and I witnessed a fellow Occupier introduce himself to an inmate he had never met at all. The visits occur right there in the waiting room via Video Phone. You can actually see the inmates leave their cells as their door is buzzed open, and walk over to the corresponding video phone in their pod. Since this is the method of visit, a visitor is not searched, and if you are carrying cameras or a bag full of belongings it makes no difference. You have 25 minutes to chat with the inmate. I have heard visitors telling the jailed Occupiers jokes to pass the time. Some inmates are in isolated conditions and a visit can mean the only time they have been out of their cell all day. Like anything involving technology there can be glitches. It’s possible some of the video phones in the pods are not working well, and in this case you have to wait for other inmates to finish visits. I was lucky to breeze right through, and was sent to a video phone right after they ran my info, but the deputies are able to give you a general time frame if a wait is to be encountered. It’s certainly BEST to bring something to write with and on, in case they wish you to contact someone or send a general Facebook message to the community.

VAN CISE DOWNTOWN DETENTION CENTER
490 West Colfax Avenue between Elati and Delaware
(Across the courtyard from the Lindsey-Flanigan Court House.)

WALK-IN VISIT TIMES (for inmates within the first 10 days of booking):
7:00am – 9:00am, 12:00pm – 2:00pm, and 6:00pm – 8:00pm

You can’t walk in and get a visit when it’s say, 7:50 pm even though that is technically in the time covered. You must arrive at the very least 25 minutes before the close of your intended visit time. Only one person can visit at a time, unless it’s a group of family members. A friend can wait only a few feet away in the lobby. Bathrooms are available.

BE AWARE AT ALL TIMES that everything is recorded, so do not ask any specifics. Do not talk about the event that led to their arrest.
Often times you will see in social media, calls to support inmates at court appearances and this same address will get you there! If you want to learn if the inmate is still there call the Sheriff’s number at 720-913-3600.

APPOINTMENT VISIT TIMES (beyond 10 days):
7:00 A.M., 8:00 A.M., 9:00 A.M., 6:00 P.M., 7:00 P.M., 8:00 P.M.

  1. Pick up a visit form at the jail and drop off in person
  2. Call 720-913-3791
  3. Online visit request form

A WORD ABOUT PUTTING MONEY ON THE BOOKS

Putting money on books (aka commissary) is money that inmates can use to buy extra food, stamps, paper and personal hygiene items. There are three ways to do this.

  1. You can add money by a machine located in the jail itself on the back left wall of the visiting room, which is at the very entrance to the jail. Simply follows the instructions. Punch in the inmates name and go from there. You are able to use credit/debit cards or even put in cash. You don’t even have to talk to anyone to walk in, do this, and leave.
  2. Online at https://www.accesscorrections.com/. You will need to create an account.
  3. You can also send the inmate a money order/cashier’s check. Do not send cash in the mail. Note that sending a money order though the mail takes longer and may be subject to additional delays.

ABOUT WRITING GOOD OLD FASHIONED LETTERS TO INMATES

Unlike with VISITING: for this you DO NEED the inmates CD number.
For CD’s numbers see names below, or call 720-913-3600 for anyone not listed.

Personally, as someone who has done over 3.5 years of time, I can’t stress how much I enjoyed LETTERS, even compared to visits. Letter Distribution time causes a certain Pavlovian salivating and hope which is often met with disappointment. I will give the address and other rules and info about all these subjects just below, but be very aware that the address is not the same of the Van Cise building’s Colfax Ave, address.

Obviously pure simple common sense is needed as far as what to say and send, and what not to say and send. Do NOT expect an answer, as they may not have the money to buy stamps. The best thing you could do would be to put in ENCLOSURES, and this is where pure common sense comes in. Do not send anything of a sexy nature. As I write this, I have a pile of Westwords and Onions I am going to clip up to send to the various detainees now. I will not be sending Dan Savage’s column for instance, no matter how funny it might be. Why risk nothing getting through because I would send that?

On the flip side, be aware that they have no reading materials, but in most cases they do have access to huge flat screen TV’s (which you can see from the video phones hung high on the walls in the pods), so it would not be of much use to send news clips about what might be the THING in the WORLD right now…say a huge celebrity death, earthquake etc, because they would likely be aware of that. It’s also not necessarily wise to send them Occupy Articles.

Do not send photographs, as in glossy developed pics. Many jails have an issue with this for various reasons…too many photos, photos being saturated with substances etc. This does not apply to a photo as part of a news clipping.

As for WHAT TO SAY personally, common sense being the key, there is nothing wrong with telling them some type of story which sounds so dull especially if you don’t know them well. For instance, if you went to see a movie last night, they will gladly read your babble about how that went, and the idiot on the cell phone in front of you etc,, the stuff of life.

The above concludes all the info I have on the subject, and it is hoped this info stays current if needed for a good long time. HOWEVER: in late March when this post is being made here are some cd numbers you can use to write letters to inmates right now. With any luck, this particular info will be out of date soon. Fit these names and CD numbers into the mailing template below and send them something to amuse them:

MAILINGS to VAN CISE and Denver County Jail:
Here is how your addressed envelope should look:
Inmates Name. CD number
PO BOX 1108
Denver Co, 80201

Caryn Sodaro – CD 0000768747
Daniel Newman – CD 0000770988
James Stacey – CD 0000735309 (please note for commissary you might need to use “Stacy” as they booked him with the incorrect spelling previously)

Kenneth White – CD 0000774150
Taylor Gordon – CD 0000769816

Amelia Nicol, CD 0000762401
Denver County Jail
P.O. Box 1108
Denver, CO 80201

MAILINGS TO Jefferson County Jail
Callie Sue Bohlen
PO Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700

Callie can be visited every day between 9-10:30am, and between 1-4:00pm and 7-8:30pm. There appears to be a weekly visitation limit. Call 303-271-5444 to visit. She has no upcoming court dates and is not bondable. Projected release date is April 29, but this is subject to change.


Legal information is constantly changing. Please email any updated information to legal@occupydenver.org.