This publication explains how video visitation negatively impacts the families of inmates. "While prison advocates have long anticipated the technology that would allow for video visits as a way to increase communication between incarcerated individuals, their family, and community members, it was always envisioned as a supplement to in-person visitation. The reality of incarceration is that many individuals are assigned to units in rural communities, far away from their loved ones, burdening mostly low-income families with travel and lodging expenses far beyond their means. When one’s family does not have a vehicle, lives hundreds of miles away, and simply cannot afford the trip, a visit via video would be welcomed. But advocates always envisioned a choice for families with incarcerated loved ones as to whether or not they would make those sacrifices in order to support them – a choice that should be left in the hands of those with the most stake in the matter. Video-only visitation policies strip away that choice; they are simply another outgrowth of the idea that offering services to prisoners and their families can be commercialized" (p. 2). Sections of this publication include: introduction—significant expense and skyrocketing costs, disruptions to family bonding, removal of management tool, usage difficulties due to digital divide, and privacy violations; the benefits of in-person prison and jail visitation; growing restrictions on in-person visitation at the county level; whether limiting in-person visitation will decrease violence and contraband—a case study of Travis County, Texas—once in-person visitation was eliminated disciplinary infractions and incidents, inmate-on-inmate assaults, and inmate-on-staff assaults have increased significantly; money, money, money; conclusion; and four recommendations.
"The purpose of this guide is to inform the development of video visiting programs within a correctional setting. “Video visiting” is real-time interactive video communication which uses video conferencing technology or virtual software programs, such as Skype. It is an increasingly popular form of communication between separated family members in settings outside of corrections. The rapid expansion of video visiting in jails and prisons over the past few years suggests that video visiting may become very common in corrections in the near future.
"This guide will help inform administrators about the benefits and challenges of using some common video visiting models across a variety of settings. Video visiting can be a positive enhancement to in-person visiting, and has the potential to promote positive outcomes for incarcerated individuals and their families and communities. In certain circumstances, video visiting may benefit corrections by reducing costs, improving safety and security, and allowing for more flexibility in designating visiting hours. The value of video visiting can be maximized when the goals of the facility are balanced with the needs of incarcerated individuals and their families" (p. vii).
This guide is comprised of three chapters: why consider video visiting; implementation considerations; and evaluating a video visiting program. Appendixes cover: additional uses for video conferencing in corrections; video visiting with children; identifying a video visiting model; implementation checklist; and evaluation tools.
"As with most aspects of life, communications options for incarcerated people are in flux due to technological changes. For practical, political, and technical reasons, communications methods have evolved more slowly in prison than in the outside world, but change is nonetheless here. New technologies such as video visitation and electronic messaging have the potential to improve quality of life for incarcerated people and help correctional administrators effectively run secure facilities. Yet the promise of these new services is often tempered by a relentless focus on turning incarcerated people and their families into revenue streams for both private and public coffers. The lucrative market for prison-based telephone service has received substantial attention since 2012, when the Federal Communications Commission reinvigorated a long-stagnant regulatory proceeding concerning rates and business practices in the ICS market. Although the focus of the FCC proceeding has thus far been on telephone service, ICS is not just limited to voice calls — there are emerging technologies with which a growing number of prisons and jails are experimenting." This is a great report about the technology offenders can use to communicate with people outside a correctional facility and the problems associated with such use. Sections comprising this report are: communication options behind bars--traditional communication channels (i.e., in-person visiting, phone calls, postal communication, and electronic messaging—inbound-only systems, and two-way systems); an overview of the industry-- general ICS providers, commissary operators, financial service firms, specialty companies, procurement practices, revenue and fee structures, end-user pricing; overview of messaging services—benefits of electronic messaging, drawbacks, character limits, and diffusion of accountability; unknowns—protection of data, ownership of contents, and protection of attorney-client privilege; recommendations for the Federal Communications Commission, state legislatures and public utility commissions, and correctional administrators.