The State of Louisiana is America’s most carceral State. And in a bid to curb the current situation Jefferson Parish’s sheriff recently announced a new policy for its jails… Video-Only Inmate Visitations.
In the statement, soon video conferencing will be the only channel which the prisoners at Jefferson Parish Correctional Center (JPCC) will use to receive visitors.
Sheriff Department stated in a press release that they expect the new policy to solve other critical issues as well.
For instance, the agency hopes that by eliminating the in-person visits, it will do away with the entry of illicit items into the facility, almost completely.
Trends That Accompany Video-Only Inmate Visitations
The recent years have seen an increase in the use of video visitation in the prisons. This can be explained by the limitation of barriers to technological entry in prisons.
As a result, many things have been happening. Among them include:
- Major prison telecommunication enterprises, Global Tel Link and like Securus have increased their promotions.
- Roughly over half of the prisons that launched utilization of video visitation tools eventually ended up prohibiting in-person visits completely.
- The service providers at each of these prison facilities, often waive costs for the purchasing, installation, and maintaining the equipment.
- These companies have not been offering the inmates with cheap and affordable charge rates. Instead, they charge expensively to reap back huge profits over such rehabilitative noble practices.
Jefferson Parish will be charging its inmates and their loved ones, about $13 for every 20-minute video call.
Only once in a week, would-be prison visitors be allowed to use the video visitation service without being charged. However, the family members will have to make the calls from the prison’s visitation center.
The department’s visitation center under discussion is located in a 20-minutes journey from downtown New Orleans.
In all the 7-days a week, convicts will have the choice of video visitations via cell phone app and computer for up to 3-visits a day. Implementation of this policy will kick off on October 10.
The Reason for Adopting Video-Only Inmate Visitations
Jefferson Parish prisons will be joining many prisons in South Carolina and Texas that have already moved to video-exclusive visitation choice for detainees.
It has cited its primary concern to transition, as being:
- Security benefits
- Efficient operations of the facility.
Jefferson Parish which houses about 1,200 detainees will no longer need as many guards to:
- Control illicit transactions
- Monitoring visits.
The JPSO also claims that the new system will be particular an improvement for friends and families.
JPSO argues that it will enable them to connect with the inmates from significant life events like family gatherings. Such connection is not possible with the traditional visitation programs.
Jefferson Parish is bringing changes a time when depression issues have resulted in three in-custody suicides cases in a two-month time.
However, it’s unclear on what impact the introduction of video visitations will bring in the absence of the in-person alternative.
The policy has also faced some backlash from the advocates of prison rights. They argue that it harasses those in custody but who haven’t yet been found guilty yet.
This is specifically a concerning matter given that a majority of JSCC’s population is made up of pre-trial detainees.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office hasn’t responded to Public requests for the explanation of the policy change.