Inmates in Washington prisons have the “luxury” of getting visits from loved ones via home computer or using video kiosks at the facilities; A report suggests these video visits can improve prison life.
Vera Report Suggest Video Visits Are Vital Supplements
Currently, video visitations in Washington prison is free. According to Sheriff Mike Andrews, visiting Durham County Detention Facility via video will remain free for now. Other inmate facilities, which Vera Institute reviewed, charge $12.95 per 30 minutes for video visits via kiosk.
This report from Vera suggest that when used as a supplement, video visitation can be powerful to those living life in prisons. However, a very marginal number of inmates are utilizing the technology. Therefore, for them, it’s impossible for it to improve prison life.
And, those who needs the services most… those who don’t or can’t get in-person visits… don’t have access to the services. But, these services can be “powerful supplements” to people serving time in prisons and jails.
Vera’s report also says that there are many prison inmates suffering because of video visit technology. This is because some prisons and jails have actually implemented the technology, for the sole purposes of using it to replace in-person visits altogether.
Video Visits Vs. In Person Prison Visits
In some situations, the prison loved ones have to travel long distance to the facilities to access the video kiosks. This takes away one of the biggest benefits of the technology for prison visitors… being able to conduct video visitations using an Internet connection at home or anywhere that’s convenient.
According to the report, it’s clear that there is a serious need for prisoners to receive more visits overall. Studies have shown that prison and jail visits reduce the chances of inmates becoming reoffenders upon release.
However, there are many who literally cannot get prison visits. The report says that there are some groups who are very unlikely to receive visits while incarcerated, such as:
- Older inmates
- Those with mental health issues
- Inmates whose loved ones live too far to travel
- Inmates whose loved ones are too ill to travel
Statistics on Prison Visits Report
Here are some alarming stats about prison visits, according to the report:
- Within one year, 45% of all inmates within the study never received in-person visits
- The number of in-person visits each inmate received was decreased by 1% for every 1 mile the prisoner was housed away from home
- Prisoners who used video visits regularly, saw an increase in in-person visits by 40%
Can Video Visits Improve Prison Life?
Some prison video visitors find the technology that is affecting prisons stressful and inconvenient. This is because they have to travel so far to the facilities to make the visits. This is even rougher for those have to make these long trips with young children.
Others, however, find it easier to keep up with regular visits, even when toting young kids with them. If this is the case, for them, video visitation does improve prison life.
The report says that people who used the service said televisiting provides a place that’s safe for them to maintain relationships, and keep them strong.
“… the right to in-person visits must not only be fiercely safeguarded, it should also be bolstered for the benefit of all people, both inside and outside of prison.”