In-person visits return to jails in Travis County, Texas!

by Alison Walsh, April 19, 2016

Visits in Travis County, Texas, took on a special significance today. This morning marked the end of the county’s video-only visitation policy and the first time since 2013 that people incarcerated in the county’s jails were able to see their loved ones through a plexiglass window instead of a computer screen.

In 2013, Travis County phased out its in-person visitation program and adopted a video-only visitation policy. Jail administrators claimed that video was more efficient and conducive to more frequent visitation. Families reported a different experience, and the current psychological research confirms that video and in-person communication are far from equal.

The reversal in Travis County sets a new precedent. While almost three-fourths of the jails that adopt video visitation also ban in-person visits, the Travis County jails are now an example of how the technology can supplement in-person visits and improve communication options for families.

Congratulations to Grassroots Leadership, and to the formerly incarcerated people and their families whose advocacy brought about this change!

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