Prisons and Jails have recently continued to sacrifice that little privilege of physical interaction between inmates and their loved ones by the takeover of video visitations and the banning of in-person visits.
Instead, phone service provider like Securus, are the ones capitalizing on this new changes.
The latest on the list of jails replacing in-person visits with Securus communication hardware and software, is Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna.
New Orleans’ banned in-person visits several years ago. To the jail officials, this approach makes sense as it:
Eliminates contraband smuggling.
Allows facilities to allocate fewer employees to surveying prisoner visits.
The Costs of Making Prison Calls & Video Visitation in Prisons
But to inmates and their loved ones, this makes no sense, as they’ll now spend heavily on programs which used to be free. A 20-minute conversation session will cost about $13.
While facilities argue that this transition comes with expanded visitation hours, that doesn’t make it any better. Nobody asked to have $0.60/minute communications as their only options.
To prove how this whole idea is “business-minded,” in 2015 Securus initiated a clause that compelled correctional facilities to switch to video only visitation systems and ban in-person visits. And why did Securus do so?
It’s because Video chats garner it even more income. Sorry! Not only the company but also the correctional facilities will earn a lot!
In Cheshire County Jail, for instance, video calls made by families from their homes cost $1/minute. Of it, jails get 20% in commission. Last year the facilities earned $2,500.
Such incentives dehumanize the inmates even further by not, meeting those from the outside world.
For human sake, jails should have adopted highly-intrusive search laws and shorten the visiting hours rather than banning personal-visits altogether. This could’ve achieved the same effect as well.
Governments also gain from this new incentives by recording all inmate-outsider communications.
Unlike in In-person visits where staffers do the monitoring, calls linked through Securus software/hardware are recorded entirety. So, government can easily access such information.
Even though the prisoners are warned that their chats are recorded, such recordings violets secrecy of inmates and their loved ones.
And to make the matter worst, the government is snatching away privacy from the already exhausted one, by recording inmates-legal representative calls.
Is There Any Hope To Cure The Current Situation or for In-Person Visits?
FCC chairman made it clear that nothing will prevent them from hiking prison phone call costs and then with in-person visits becoming obsolete the scenario worsens.
The bad side of it is that, in the end, we expect very little to be done to solve the malicious acts. The convicts are the least groups that legislatures will sympathize with.
Hardly will you see politicians coming up with motions to make the lives of those behind bars, better or restoring value to in-person visits. And if they do, very few colleagues will be willing to support such amendments.
Given that inmates don’t vote, then expect little to no positive contributions from politicians, who to them, a vote is everything.
But even though inmates don’t vote, their contribution to the states and cities’ revenues can’t be overlooked upon.
And acknowledging that statistics prove that in-person visits reduce recidivism rates, the push for video-only visitations will particularly enrich the communication firms and correctional facilities.
This’s because those released will now find it hard to integrate into society, and thus find their ways back to prisons. And if that happens gaze what?
They will spend their entire lives, paying even $15/minute phone calls to their families and thus enriching the firms and jail faculties.