There is a battle currently raging at Sangamon County Jail over video visitation. The provider of the video visitation, a company called IC Solutions (icsolutions.com), argues that the video visitation technology will make it easier on jail personnel when it comes to personal visitations. IC Solutions argues that video visitation is a great tool for families that need to travel great distances in order to visit with their incarcerated loved one.
Sangamon County Jail is installing video screens in all jail cells, reports the State Journal Register. When a family member shows up to the jail in order to visit with their incarcerated loved one, they will be linked through the Internet and able to talk to each other through computer screens. Prior to the installation of these video visitation screens, friends and family visited with their incarcerated loved ones through a thick glass screen. They could see each other but had to talk over a telephone line. Now all they will see of each other is a grainy computer screen.
Prison privacy groups argue that this will increase recidivism. They cite studies that show visitation reduces a prisoner’s penchant for committing more crimes once released from jail. Prison privacy groups believe that video visitation does not replace in-person visitation and will drive crime rates through the roof.
The prison privacy groups most painful statement was that it is difficult to tell a child that they cannot see their parents anymore. If the video visitation program goes through, many children will arrive at the prison expecting to see their parents but will be forced to visit with them over a grainy computer screen. I personally believe that the prison privacy group is correct in saying that video visitation cannot replace in-person visitation. I believe families arriving at the prison facility must be given a choice.
Facilitation of inmate communications is a mandate of every prison facility and a topic that has had many prison officials scratching their heads. Not only was the communication infrastructure expensive, monitoring of calls was a problem not to forget the below-par quality of the calls. However, this is a talk of the past as today the atmosphere around prison communications has improved immensely.
Today every incarceration facility understands that part of maintaining harmony within the inmates is ensuring they get connected to the family and friends. Thus the introduction of prison phone call services and also the sale of phone cards to inmates to facilitate their keeping in touch with loved ones. Once infrastructure was not an issue, the next mandate was to regulate prison call rates which were at an all-time high.
The Federal Communications Commission in America has taken upon itself the task of introducing a price ceiling to prison calls. Before this price cap making calls to and out of prisons was a nightmare with inmates and their loved ones being charge an alarming $14 a minute. But the FCC stepped in and introduced regulations, one of them being pricing a 15 minute call for at most $1.65. This not only eased things up for the inmates, but prison communication service companies had to rethink their strategies if they are to maintain profit margins.
Soon enough video visitation service was introduced into the picture, making things even better. It is certainly heartwarming to be able to smile back at your daughter or father as you hold a real time video conversation. Companies like Securus Technologies have taken it a notch higher by introducing prison to home video call services at any time of the day.
Inmate communications is at the core of maintaining harmony and order within incarceration facilities. For this reason, prison management is mandated to introduce affordable and quality communication services and always look for ways to improve such services, much to the appreciation of inmates and their loved ones.