For years, there have been no changes to the visitation systems in American prisons, and for years, the risks and challenges associated with those systems have not been mitigated. Undeniably, there are advantages to the system as it currently exists. Inmates benefit psychologically and emotionally from spending time with loved ones, ultimately boosting their morale and encouraging positive behavior during incarceration, however, there are also some serious drawbacks to the system as it currently exists, and many are calling for changes.
What’s Wrong With Standard Visitation?
There are certain risks and challenges that are associated with visitation. These include:
- Logistical difficulties. A significant amount of manpower is needed to supervise and orchestrate prisoner visitation, and it is not uncommon for issues to slip through the cracks. Supervisors simply can’t be everywhere at once or watch everything at once.
- Inconvenience for visitors. In an effort to promote reduced contraband in prison, visitors are subjected to extensive search before and after leaving visitation. Besides having to make the long trek to the prison, this process can be very frustrating.
- Infrequent visits. Though each prisoner is required under federal law to be allotted a certain number of visits a month, that minimum often leaves prisoners and their visitors wanting more time.
What’s the Solution?
Video visitation systems are now being installed in newer prisons in order to offer a safer and more efficient alternative to standard visitation. These virtual visitation systems are able to effectively minimize visitor traffic and simplify visitation processes, ultimately reducing the number of supervisors needed to conduct visitation. Other benefits of video visitation include:
- Reduced contraband in prisons.
- No need for visitors to deal with the costs of travel, search protocol, or other facility requirements
- Scheduling burdens transferred from the institution to the visitors themselves
- Chance for families to visit from the comfort of home.
It’s true that nothing can replace a physical visit from a loved one, which is why many facilities choose to combine video visitation with standard visitation. Still, such a system drastically reduces the risks associated with traditional visitations, as fewer visitors are there at a given time.
The opportunities for minimized traffic, reduced contraband in prisons, and more convenient visits have already made video visitation popular in many of America’s prisons. It provides all the morale and happiness of a visit without any of the challenges or risks.