In-Person Visits Fade as Jails Set Up Video Units for Inmates and Families

WASHINGTON — Shatterproof glass used to separate inmates at the District of Columbia jail from the visitors sitting across from them. Now, they sit in separate buildings, at computers equipped with Web cameras.

The District of Columbia made the switch on July 25 to video visitation, a growing trend in the corrections field.

To proponents, the video systems provide a more convenient, safer, thriftier alternative to in-person visits.

Some jurisdictions even make money, by charging for the video visits. 

Critics, including prisoner advocates and corrections officers concerned with how prisoners fare once they are released, fear that the video visits allow less meaningful contact with family and could hurt inmates’ morale.  More

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