Kelly Cappello, whose son is an inmate at the McHenry County Jail, wishes there was any way she can visit with her son face-to-face. Unfortunately, there isn’t. In-prison visits have long been a thing of the past.
Several years have elapsed since the McHenry County Jail opted out of in-person visits. Instead, it has required low-income family members like Cappello to chat with inmates via the costly video visitation software.
Although Cappello cannot afford to use the video chat, she tries to communicate with her son once in a month, via the phone.
When Did Mchenry County Jail Start Using Video Visits?
This correctional facility was the first one to use video chat approach in Chicago area after it started experimenting a once-a-week video visitation program back in 2005.
Today, McHenry County Jail no longer provides face-to-face visits.
It officially began in 2014 when the jail started using HomeWav. With HomeWav, inmates could video chat with anybody who would have installed HomeWav software on their computers.
But loved ones and Inmates had to pay for the system. HomeWav charged 50-cents per minute with a maximum 30-minutes, for a visit.
Prison Families Say Video Visit Costs Are Just Too Much
That’s too much for Cappello, who drives a bus to earn a living and stays in a mobile homestead in Walworth County, Wisconsin.
Over the past 16-years, Cappello’s eldest son, Christopher Cappello, 32, has always been in and out of jail.
And recently, Christopher landed in jail after being found with cocaine, 88-bags of heroin and pills in his car.
Before Using ICSolutions, family members must sign-up an account and load money into it. The loved ones can then sign into the app on their phone or computer and schedule a chat with any detainee within the facility.
But you must move to a video kiosk situated in a special region next to the jail’s visitors’ waiting room. One can only have an “in-person” visit, through a court order.
The Effects of Video Only Visitation Programs.
If families cannot afford to communicate with the inmates in jail, then they will not be able to organize a place where the detainees will land upon their release.
Therefore, experts suggest that, even though video chats are comparatively safer in terms of monitoring, they should only be used as an alternative and not to replace in-person visits.
While many are seeing video-only visitation program as evil and money grabbing, others are seeing positivity in this whole idea. Some of the advantages are:
- It allows friends and families from far across the country to converse with their loved ones.
- Many visitors can talk to an inmate at a go, unlike in in-person visits that permits only two.
But Kelly Cappello and other low-income families insist that video visitation approaches are nothing but money grabbers.