Another step backwards! All studies show that in-person visits reduce recidivism and improve inmate behavior! They always cite “security” for their bad policies, and here that is more nonsense from prison officials. This comment is downright laughable: “the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”” I bet my life that guards bring in more contraband than inmates ever did!
I know that when I got a visit – I got 2 in 5 years – I was so happy to see someone from the outside I felt like a kid at Christmas. Prison is such a ZOO! The animals are the ones in uniform! 🙂 You’ll see when my book on prison abuse hits the fan 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
In a policy move first for the country’s most carceral State, the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana announced Wednesday that video conferencing will soon be the only way for inmates at Jefferson Parish Correctional Center (JPCC) to receive visitors. According to expectations laid out in the Sheriff Department’s press release, the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”
The use of prison video visitation has increased in recent years, as the technological barrier to entry has dropped and promotional efforts by major prison telecommunication companies, like Securus and Global Tel Link, have grown. By one estimate, well over half of prisons that begin utilizing video visitation equipment ultimately prohibit in-person visits altogether; at each of these facilities, the service provider often waives fees for the purchase, installation, and maintainance of equipment, instead offering the prison a cut of the costs charged to inmates and an incentive structure that threatens to emphasize profits over rehabilitative best practices.
For Jefferson Parish, these costs for inmates and their families will amount to about $13 for a 20-minute video call. Once a week, would-be visitors will have the option to use the video service free of charge from the department’s visitation center – which, like the correctional facility, is just 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans. All seven days a week, individuals will have the option of video visitation via computer and cell phone app for up to three visits a day. The policy is scheduled to go into effect October 10.
Jefferson Parish, like prisons in Texas and South Carolina that have also transitioned to a video-exclusive visitation option for inmates, cited as its primary motivator the benefits for the security and safe operations of the jail, which houses nearly 1,200 people and will no longer require as many guards to monitor visits and control illicit interactions.
The new policy has also been criticized by prison rights’ advocates for the harshness it imposes upon those under custody but not yet charged with a crime; a large percentage of JSCC’s inmate population is comprised of pre-trial detainees.
Public record requests for the details of the policy change are currently pending with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.