Things To Know If You're Visiting Someone At the Milton Jail
Someone near and dear to you has been arrested and charged and now they’re wearing an orange jumpsuit at the Milton jail.
But what exactly does it mean if someone is sent to Maplehurst Correctional Complex?
“Maplehurst is a holding facility or a short-term corrections centre,” said veteran defence lawyer Dhaman Kissoon of Kissoon & Associates.
The facility is for males 18-years-old and up and houses “people who are awaiting bail, people who have been denied bail and people who have been sentenced.”
Let’s say someone gets sentenced at the Brampton courthouse.
“They’ll go to Maplehurst and they’ll wait there until they’re assigned a day,” in court, he said.
Anyone sentenced to two years less a day “and the inmate will go to a provincial jail,” said Kissoon.
Longer than two years and men are sent to a federal institution, such as Collins Bay in Kingston.
All three courthouses in Halton and Peel regions feed into Maplehurst — Mississauga and Brampton are served by one courthouse in Brampton.
“Nine times out of 10 you go to Milton,” said Peel Regional Police Const. Mark Fischer.
“If you have a guy that’s in between convictions or sentencing and is going up for court at [A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse] then he’ll be housed there as well.”
In Halton, the main courthouse is in Milton, while the satellite court is in Burlington.
If a man is sentenced from either location, “chances are they”ll go to Maplehurst,” Kissoon said.
Females are held at the adjacent Vanier Centre for Women at 655 Martin St.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re visiting someone at Maplehurst:
1. Hang a left at the first light when you exit south off of Hwy. 401.
Outsmart your GPS and kick it old school by using your brain for once. You’ll exit onto Martin St. and be greeted by predictably suburban sights, such as Kelsey’s, Esso, and Tim’s. If you pass the McDonald’s at Market Dr., you’ve gone too far. Loop around and look for Chisholm Dr.
2. Leave your belongings in the car.
This isn’t the place to show off your Prada handbag, Rolex watch, or Kit and Ace sweater. Take the absolute bare minimum, i.e. car keys, $100 (more on the cash later), and cell phone, into the facility. You can’t take anything inside the visiting area. Lockers (with keys) are provided for visitors. You’ll get a key after registering at the front desk.
3. Make sure you bring valid government-issued identification with your address on it.
Upon arrival, you’ll be asked for the name of the inmate you’re visiting. Then you’ll have to provide your name and relationship with the inmate. It sounds obvious, but sometimes stress results in you forgetting your wallet or purse on the kitchen counter, or accidentally throwing it into the trash at Starbucks. A driver’s licence is usually good enough. It can’t hurt to have another form of identification on you, though. No ID? Good luck getting in. Remember, this is a government-run corrections facility, not a bar or nightclub where you can smooth talk your way in.
4. Just because it’s on lockdown doesn’t mean things are hitting the fan.
You’ve likely been watching too much Prison Break (because Michael and Dominic are everything). Don’t panic if you’ve shown up for a visit, only to be informed by signage at the entrance that the unit your loved one is in is on lockdown. It could mean there are staffing challenges — for instance, correctional officers are on vacation, called in sick, or otherwise aren’t sufficiently staffed. Don’t - and I mean DON’T - Google lockdowns at Maplehurst. Just be patient and try again the next day.
5. You can’t bring food for inmates.
It sounds silly but really … no homemade casseroles, lasagna, or chappati and chana masala for your boyfriend, son, dad, or husband. It’s OK if you like to pamper him … Just don’t try to be domestic or act like wifey material at a jail.
6. Make sure you’re free of drugs and alcohol.
Visitors can be turned away “simply if a staff member has concerns about you,” according to the John Howard Society. In this sense, it’s important “to make sure that you have no traces of drugs on your body or clothes. Make sure that you have changed into fresh clothes, especially if you have been around people using drugs.” You should perhaps wipe your ID and glasses with rubbing alcohol. “Many people use alcohol or sanitizer on their hands before going into a prison because handling money can leave tiny traces of drugs, which can be found by the prison's ion scanner.”
7. They’re limited to two visits per week.
Choose your visits wisely. You can’t go in just because it’s your anniversary or it’s his birthday or you’ve been away for four months and desperately want some face-time again. Remember, this is not a hotel or restaurant where you can demand a manager to address your disregard for the rules.
8. You can bring cash for canteen.
Canteen isn’t just an imaginary exchange of goods and services you saw on Orange is the New Black. Inmates can buy soap, toothpaste, etc. Visitors can bring cash or money orders for deposit into prisoner's canteen. The maximum at Maplehurst is $100. You’ll get a handwritten receipt and if the money isn’t used, the inmate will receive cash with his belongings upon release.
9. You must be scent-free when visiting a prison.
You could be turned away for wearing strong perfume, cologne, or body spray, according to the John Howard Society.
10. Avoid bringing "contraband" or unauthorized items into the jail.
Again, it sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people lack basic common sense. The John Howard Society has a list: Illegal drugs, cigarettes or any tobacco products (smoking has been banned at all provincial prisons since 2001 and all federal prisons since 2008. This means prisoners aren’t allowed to smoke), alcohol, medications, and any objects which staff might think are weapons Money over the allowed limit is also considered contraband.
11. Get there ridiculously early.
Remand population receive two 20-minute visits per week, while sentenced prisoners receive two 40-minute visits per week, according to the John Howard Society. Keep in mind, no visits will be processed within the last half hour of each visiting period for remanded prisoners since there’s insufficient time for visitors to get booked in, arrive at the unit and complete their visit before the visiting timeframe. Visitors are asked to register early at the desk and arrive at least 30 minutes before the end of visiting times. For sentenced prisoners, visitors should be booked in by 5:20 p.m. for the first visiting period and 6:20 p.m. for the second visiting period. A maximum of two visitors (excluding infants) per prisoner is permitted. Don’t be alarmed to see lineups, especially on Sundays.
12. There’s no touching if he’s in remand.
Remanded prisoners (awaiting their next court date) aren’t allowed physical contact during visits, however, sentenced prisoners are allowed open visits.
13. Communicate about miscommunication
If the telephone doesn’t work during your 20-minute visit, make sure you tell the front desk staff — you may qualify for another visit. If you say nothing, the inmate will have reached his quota for visits even though you couldn’t say a word to each other.
14. You’re being taped.
Cameras are always rolling. Smile!
The John Howard Society of Ontario has a comprehensive guide to visiting an inmate here.
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