What’s Changing in Prison Visitation?

Written by Channel 8 Cleveland on October 23, 2013. Posted in Inmate visitation system, Prisoner visitation rights, Virtual visitation

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For prisoners, visitation provides an important link to the outside world and a support system. As of May 2013, there were 218,171 inmates across the country. That’s 0.7% of adults in the U.S. resident population. For those 218,171 people, ongoing contact with friends, family, and loved ones is essential to morale and can even reduce recidivism rates. However, coordinating inmate visitation can prove very difficult. Though visitation is a basic right of every prisoner, it is often provided less frequently than is ideal, simply because of scheduling difficulty. Fortunately, the advent of video visitation systems is making it easier for inmates to visit with their families.

The Basics of Visitation Rights

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the warden must allow each inmate at least four monthly hours of visitation. The warden can also establish monthly limits for the maximum hours of visitation. It is the responsibility of prisoners to submit a list of proposed regular visitors to the designated staff who will review the list to determine whether the persons on the list are qualified before compiling a visiting list. All institutions provide visiting hours on weekends and holidays, though there are some who offer additional times. Regardless of whether the visitor is a recurring or special visitor, the warden must supply a vising room arranged to provide adequate supervision that is pleasant and comfortable.

The Future of Prison Visitation

Though they can’t take the place of face-to-face visitation, video visitation systems are beginning to become popular in some prisons. Defined as the use of videoconferencing or analog CCTV systems and software allowing inmates and visitors to visit fom a distance, virtual visitation provides high quality, two-way, secure visitation sessions between inmates and any approved visitor, providing a number of benefits.

For attorneys, social workers, U.S. Marshalls, and other privileged visitors, the process is made simpler, allowing cases to be handled more efficiently. Family members can visit more often, especially since they are able to control scheduling and administration. All visitors benefit by avoiding the costs associated with travel, search protocols, and other requirements placed by the facility.

Over the years, technological advances have improved the quality of video visitation systems so that many now are equipped with management and scheduling software used to manage the video visitation environment. Authorized personnel are given the power to easily conduct, monitor, interact with, and terminate any live, simultaneous visit with relative ease.

Video visitation systems
provide inmates with stronger support systems, an essential contributor to mental health maintenance in prison. More frequent visits are appreciated by those using prison video visitation.

It is undoubted that prison video visitation
will continue to become more and more popular as the years go on. That we have the technology allowing these opportunities is incredible and most certainly appreciated both by inmates and their families.

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