BazzettavMcGinnisrevised - Page 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT...

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Page 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION Michelle Bazzetta , Stacy Barker, Toni Bunton, Debra King, Shante Allen, Adrienne Bronaugh, Alesia Butler, Tamara Prude, Susan Fair, Valerie Bunton and Arturo Zavala, through his Next Friend Valerie Bunton, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, No. 95-CV-73540-DT v . Hon. Nancy G. Edmunds Kenneth McGinnis , Director of Michigan Department of Corrections, Dan Bolden, Deputy Director of the Correctional Facilities, Michigan Department of Corrections, Marjorie VanOchten, Administrator of the Office of Policy and Hearings of the Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan Department of Corrections, Defendants. _________________________________________/ FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW INTRODUCTION Plaintiffs, inmates of the Michigan Department of Correction and their prospective visitors, brought this suit against the Director of the Department challenging various restrictions on visitation. Specifically, Plaintiffs challenge restrictions which 1) prohibit visits by siblings, nieces and nephews who are under eighteen years old; 2) prohibit visits by children whose prisoner parents have had their parental rights terminated (even when that termination is voluntary); 3) prohibit visits from former prisoners who are not immediate family; 4) require visiting children to be brought by a Page 2 2 parent or legal guardian; and 5) impose a permanent ban on visitation for any prisoner who has been found guilty of two substance abuse misconducts. With respect to claims 1 through 4, this Court issued two previous decisions, affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the restrictions in the context of contact visits. Thus, the only remaining issue on claims 1 through 4 is whether the restrictions are constitutional in the context of non-contact visits. Claim 5 was not ripe at the time of the earlier decisions and is addressed here for the first time. In support of their claims, Plaintiffs presented testimony from a number of MDOC officials, present and former inmates, and from several experts and family members. Marjorie VanOchten was the MDOC administrator of the Office of Policy and Hearings until January 2000; she drafted the rules at issue in this case. Although she had been an executive level official of the MDOC for over twenty years, she was critical of many aspects of the visitation restrictions, including the exclusion of minor siblings, nieces and nephews, the requirement that a minor child be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and the permanent ban on visitation following two substance abuse misconducts. She testified about her own concerns, concerns raised by the public, and about the procedural history and problems related to the restrictions. Suellen Scarnecchia, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2011 for the course CJ 471 taught by Professor Christophersmith during the Fall '10 term at Michigan State University.

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BazzettavMcGinnisrevised - Page 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT...

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