This is the most comprehensive website you will find about the for-profit video visitation industry. It is essential reading for anyone considering using a for-profit video visitation system in their correctional facility. "Video technology like Skype or FaceTime can be a great way to stay together for people who are far apart. It is not the same as being there in person, but it is better than a phone call or sending a letter. Given that there are 2.2 million people who are incarcerated, often many hundreds of miles from their homes, it should be no surprise that prison and jail video visitation is quietly sweeping the nation" (p. i). This website provides access to the full report, an executive summary, and a press release. Sections of the report include: introduction; reviewing the promises and drawbacks of video visitation; video visitation reaches critical mass in 2014; why families are unhappy with the for-profit industry; what this industry is doing--major themes; broken promises from the industry; how are Securus video contracts different from other companies; possible problems with correctional and policy best practices; video visitation can be a welcome step forward—HomeWAV and Telmate systems compared to Securus and other large companies; and recommendations for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state regulators and legislatures, correctional officials and procurement officials, and for-profit companies . Also supplied is an incredible array of exhibits that include: Facilities with Video Visitation; Fee Breakdown; Counties with Bans on In-person Visits; various legal complaints; and copies of contracts for Securus (11 different contracts), Telmate (2), ICSolutions (1), Global Tel (1), HomeWAV (2), TurnKey (2), and Tele Coin (1).
"Almost by definition, incarceration separates individuals from their families, but for decades this country has also placed unnecessary burdens on the family members left behind. Certainly in practice and perhaps by design, prisons are lonely places. Analyzing little-used government data, we find that visits are the exception rather than the rule. Less than a third of people in state prisons receive a visit from a loved one in a typical month … Despite the breadth of research showing that visits and maintaining family ties are among the best ways to reduce recidivism, the reality of having a loved one behind bars is that visits are unnecessarily grueling and frustrating" (p. 1). This report is an excellent introduction to the challenges families face visiting their loved ones in prison and ways state policymakers can reduce these hardships. Five recommendations cover: prison time as a last resort; adoption of visitation policies that promote family visitation; reduction of prison and jail telephone costs; suggestions from inmates and their families on how to make visitation easier; and alternatives to prison expansion.