A decade ago Skype had just been founded. Few people knew the power of video chatting, and even fewer dreamed of technological advances such as Facetime or Google+ video chat. A decade later, the world has changed. As smartphones take the place of laptops and desktop computers, some of these advances may finally be filtering into areas that have long needed them. One area in particular that holds great promise is prison visitation.
Visitation in Person
Technology during visitation has been in use for a long time. From the metal detectors and other implements used to scan visitors, to automated locking doors that add protection to detention center staff, to intercoms used to relay requests, technology has been a boon to the penal system.
Some prisons have inmates sit in one room next to a glass window and talk on a phone to their visitors who are in the room on the other side of the window. Some prisons have a Skype type interface set up to be used within the prison by the visitors. Others allow visits in the same room under the strict eye of prison staff. Often the severity of the crime dictates how close a visitor may come to the inmate. Usually, jails are stricter with violent offenders. But, thankfully, many low level offenders are allowed closer contact with family or others on their visitation list.
Visitation from a Distance
Recently, some jails such as Clark County Detention Centerhave begun to implement a new type of visitation. Using technology similar to Skype, the county is beginning to allow video calls from home. This seems to be a tremendous step forward for families of inmates who often are at a loss of time and finances needed to get to see their loved ones.
Using video calling will save them travel time and expense, and allow them quality time with their loved one. In addition, a family that has small children who have an incarcerated parent, would no longer have to stress the child with a long trip, uncomfortable searching, lack of play area, etc… that make it difficult to visit their parent.
Clark County Detention Center is excited to have lower foot and vehicle traffic, as well as to have less concern over contraband being smuggled to their inmates. They feel that the benefit to the detention center, the inmates and the families of inmates far outweigh any detriment caused by this advance in technology.
Here at Prison Rideshare, this new avenue of connection to our loved ones is welcome. We are dedicated to helping the loved ones of inmates. Adding this new way of communicating seems to be an excellent move. We hope other counties will consider making the same technological advance soon.
Renee Patterson’s heart for the loved ones of inmates shows through in her creative writing. Check out her ebooks on Amazon including We are Her Family, The Rich Prisoner, Countdown to Release Date, Granny’s Child and more exciting titles. Hear from the hearts of the loved ones of inmates.