Protecting incarcerated people and their loved ones from the video visitation industry
by Lucius Couloute, April 10, 2017
As our research has shown, local jails are increasingly replacing in-person visits with expensive and poorly implemented video visitation systems.
Fortunately, some policymakers are taking notice. Illinois State Rep. Carol Ammons introduced a bill earlier this year that would protect in-person visitation from being eliminated in Illinois correctional facilities and limit the cost of video visits. There is also active legislation in New Jersey that would guarantee face-to-face family visits for incarcerated individuals, cap video costs at 11 cents a minute, and ban fees on professional video visits from lawyers and clergy.
Policymakers across the country should consider adopting similar legislation so that incarcerated people and their families are not prevented from in-person contact during difficult times. Preserving face-to-face visitation is not just humane, it’s good policy because contact between incarcerated people and their loved ones is proven to reduce the likelihood that an individual will re-offend after release.
For more information on this issue and efforts to protect in-person visitation, see our report on the video visitation industry.