SIFC By-laws

By-Laws of the Statewide Inmate Family Council
2013

ARTICLE I
STATEWIDE INMATE FAMILY COUNCIL

 SECTION 1: NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION

The name of the organization is the Statewide Inmate Family Council.

The Statewide Inmate Family Council has sponsorship from the California State Senate, President Pro-Tempore’s Office.  Legislative advocates attend regularly scheduled quarterly meetings between the Statewide Inmate Family Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

ARTICLE II
PURPOSE

SECTION 1: MISSION STATEMENT

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (henceforth CDCR) and representatives of families of the incarcerated are jointly committed to work together to support connections between inmates and their families through improved communication, shared information, issue identification, and problem resolution.

SECTION 2: SCOPE

The scope of the work of the Statewide Inmate Family Council (henceforth SIFC) shall encompass systemic issues regarding the application of CDCR rules, regulations, policies, and practices that affect inmate-family relationships.

ARTICLE III
MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1: MEMBERSHIP

The SIFC shall not have more than eleven (11) members. SIFC members will select a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among members interested in serving in those capacities.

The SIFC shall be composed of a cross section of visitors approved to visit an inmate at any of California’s prisons and meet the qualifications below:

SIFC members

Qualifications

  • Applicants must be available to regularly attend meetings. Applicants must be approved visitors in good standing at the institution where he or she regularly visits. Regularly is defined as at least four (4) times per year.
  • Ability to work cooperatively and professionally with other members.

Applications 

  • Information regarding applications shall be made available in Visiting Processing Centers in a separate, locked cabinet to which local Inmate Family Council Chairperson has a key. This is the same cabinet where local Inmate family Council information is posted.
  • Completed application shall be submitted to the SIFC representative designated on the application.
  • The Chairperson and members of the SIFC will work to ensure that visitors are aware of the existence of the SIFC by posting notices on the website and at various institutions when there are vacancies on the SIFC.

SECTION 2: SELECTION/APPOINTMENT

The Chairperson and current members of the SIFC shall continue to serve until a new SIFC is in place and may reapply for membership provided he/she continues to meet the qualifications for membership.

Future members will be selected by a majority vote of current members of the SIFC following submission of a candidate’s application.

SECTION 3: REPRESENTATION

The goal is to have a diversified membership with representation from local Inmate Family Councils and other stakeholders.

SECTION 4: VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION

Participation in the SIFC is strictly voluntary. All members agree to work within the by-laws of the SIFC and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation rules, regulations, and policies and adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order.

SECTION 5: TERMS

The term of office for the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be five (5) years.

The term of office for members of the SIFC shall be four (4) years.

SECTION 6: RESIGNATION

Any member wishing to resign from the SIFC shall submit a letter of resignation to the Recording Secretary.

SECTION 7: VACANCIES/REPLACEMENTS

Vacancies may result from a member’s death, written resignation, expiration of term, or removal for cause. The members shall fill any vacancy upon written notification of a vacancy. Every attempt shall be made to fill vacancies within sixty (60) days after the vacancy occurs.

Appointments to fill a vacancy shall be made on an as needed basis.

SECTION 8: REMOVAL/DISAPPROVAL OF MEMBERS

The Chair, with a majority of members, may with notice, remove any member for the following reasons:

  1. Unprofessional or disruptive behavior which directly interferes with legitimate business of the SIFC
  2. Unexcused absence from two (2) consecutive meetings. “Unexcused absence” is defined as an absence without notification or good cause. Notification shall be to the Chairperson and/or Recording Secretary at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled meeting.

The Chairperson of the SIFC, by majority vote, may remove a member for failure to regularly attend the internal meetings held directly before the regularly scheduled CDCH HQ meetings.

When a member no longer meets the qualifications for membership, he or she may be removed from the SIFC.

SECTION 9: REPRESENTATION

No individual member shall attempt to represent SIFC, either in writing or verbally, on any issue without prior approval of the Chair.

In communications with outside entities, SIFC members shall not purport to represent CDCR’s position on any matter without the approval of the Chairperson.

ARTICLE IV
OFFICERS

SECTION 1: DESIGNATED OFFICERS

The SIFC members shall elect by majority vote for a period of five (5) years: a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, and a Recording Secretary.

SECTION 2: QUALIFICATIONS

Any member may serve as an officer of the SIFC.

SECTION 3: OFFICERS’ RESPONBSIBILITIES

The Chair shall:

        1. Call meetings.
        2. Schedule meetings with the CDCR designated Associate Director and staff.
        3. Coordinate with the Recording Secretary the preparation of the agenda for meetings with the CDCR HQ and submit the agenda at least fifteen (15) business days in advance of a scheduled meeting.
        4. Chair the meetings.
        5. Coordinate all written and electronic communications between the SIFC and HQ Staff.
        6. Mentor a successor in all activities of the Chair. Mentoring shall begin within the first year of the Chair’s term.

The Vice Chair shall:

      1. Assist the Chair in his/her responsibilities
      2. Assume the responsibilities of the Chair in his/her absence.
      3. Provide webmaster with information for website.
      4. Ensure maintenance of website.
      5. Maintain member roster and update information on members as needed.

The Secretary shall:

  1. Take and retain minutes of the SIFC internal meetings.
  2. Take and retain minutes of the meetings with the CDCR HQ staff.
  3. Ensure that approved minutes of meetings are posted to the local Inmate Family Council network and for review by visitors at all institutions.
  4. Assist the Chair in coordinating all written and electronic communication between the SIFC and CDCR Headquarters.  
  5. All members of the SIFC shall attend all regularly scheduled meetings. If unable to attend a scheduled meeting, notice shall be provided to the Chair at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the scheduled meeting.

SECTION 3: MEMBERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

Work cooperatively and professionally with others on the SIFC and CDCR HQ staff. Provide notice to the Chairperson when unable to continue to serve as a member of the SIFC.

Use the meetings between CDCR HQ staff and the SIFC to address systemic issues of wide application to inmates and their families and friends.

Refrain from discussing any issues unique to individuals or the institution where you visit.

ARTICLE V
MEETINGS

SECTION 1: FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS

The Chairperson and SIFC members shall hold a joint meeting with CDCR HQ no less than every ninety (90) days, unless mutually agreed upon by CDCR and the Chairperson, SIFC.

SECTION 2: AGENDA

The agenda shall be prepared by the Chairperson, with input from the SIFC members, and submitted to CDCR HQ staff and SIFC members at least fifteen (15) business days prior to a scheduled meeting.

SECTION 3: QUORUM

Quorum for election purposes is a simple majority of the total current membership present at the meeting. The Chair is a voting member.

There is no quorum required for meetings to proceed with the CDCR HQ.

SECTION 4: TIME AND LOCATION

The time and date of meetings with CDCR HQ staff shall be determined by mutual agreement of the Chairperson and the designated CDCR Associate AD.

If either the Chairperson of the SIFC or CDCR HQ staff is required to cancel a scheduled meeting, notification is to be given to the other party at least seventy two (72) hours in advance when possible.

SECTION 5: GUESTS

With notification to the CDCR staff, the Chairperson may invite up to three (3) guests to any regularly scheduled meeting.

ARTICLE VI
SIFC-CDCR HQ COMMUNICATIONS

After SIFC Chair approval, the recording Secretary will post official communications ( i.e. minutes, by-laws, vacancy notices) on the approved SIFC website, to CDCR Ombudsman’s Office, to appropriate CDCR HQ staff, and to the IFC network.

ARTICLE VII
AMENDING BY-LAWS
 

Upon review and receipt of comments, the Chairperson will schedule discussion and action on the proposed amendment at the next regularly scheduled business meeting of the SIFC.

The Chair of SIFC will circulate the proposed amendment for review and comment to all current SIFC members.

Any proposed amendment to SIFC by-laws can only be considered through a written request, with supporting rationale, provided to the Chair.