On Friday, PIX 11 reported on a new type of prison visiting system known as televisiting. One organization is using it to help kids of inmates “visit” their parents. But, some fear this form of video chat prison visiting may be lead to the replacement of in-person visits altogether.
Many prisons have already banned in-person visits. Others have plans to follow suit. But, experts say these non-contact visits don’t just affect the inmates. Video prison visits and glass wall prison visits have negative impacts on the prison families, especially the prisoners’ kids.
Can Televisiting Benefit Prisoners’ Kids?
Psychiatrist Phyllis Harrison Ross of the New York Society for Ethical Culture is using televisiting for good reasons. She paid close attention to the way prisons used video conferencing software to allow inmates to confer with their attorneys and appear in court before judges.
That’s she saw how this video conferencing system could benefit the lives of prison kids. She realized that same technology could be used to unite those same inmates with their children while fighting their cases.
According to Society for Ethical Culture’s co-leader, Richard Koral, many inmates don’t want their kids visiting jails. They just don’t want them going through the traumatic experience of seeing them like that, or being inside those places altogether.
The televisiting form of video chat prison visiting could be the key… or, the first step to banning in-person prison visits in even more institutions.
Benefits of Televisiting for Kids Who Can’t Get to Prisons
While the parents are still behind bars, the prisoners’ kids conduct the televisits while in the comfort of the center. Psychologist Frank Corigliano says the “visiting room” is a place where they build relationships. It’s designed to support these prison children, and their families.
“For five years Corigliano has helped connect inmates with their children as they await trial or serve out short sentences in the New York City correctional system.
‘Having a strong healthy connection with a parent can ensure that the child has a better chance at success in life,’ he said. ‘By putting yourself next to dad it creates a narrative and a memory that includes you.’
Manuel Moore brings his daughter to the Center so she can see her mother who is at Rikers Island.
‘You need both parents,’ Moore said. ‘I think the visual aspect, it doesn’t substitute for the physical, but just to see the interaction, it means a lot.’”
Video: Televisiting Lets Prisoners’ Kids Talk to Incarcerated Parents Without Going to Prison
The following video about televisiting is from New York’s very own PIX 11:
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What do you think? Good idea, or just another sneaky way to phase out in-person visits for inmates?
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