As part of a series about technology in prisons called “Jailbreak,” we’re talking about the growing use of video visitation in prisons. It’s being used already in over 500 institutions around the country. Most of them are county jails, but a few are state prisons.
And while we know a lot about the impact of in-person visits between inmates and their familes while incarcerated, we don’t know much about the impact of video visitation.
Bernadette Rabuy, a policy and communications associate at the Prison Policy Initiative, says the growth in popularity of video visitation technology has a lot to do with cutting costs. Prisons are also attracted to the fact that it eliminates the opportunity for the smuggling of contraband items to prisoners.
But Rabuy cautions that the benefits may not outweigh the emotional costs: “We don’t know that these videos are equivalent to in-person visits, which have been shown by a lot of research to be one of the only ways we know for sure reduces the likelihood of future crimes.”
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