Video Calls Catching On In Prisons, But Raises Questions

CHICAGO—Many prison facilities have begun to implement its own version of Skype for visitation purposes through services like Securus. These new video visitations, according to a report from The Final Call, may not be as much of a benefit to inmates and their families as it would initially seem.

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Photo credit: AP/Wide World Photos

As a replacement of phone calls, companies like Securus have begun to provide new communication services to prisons, including video visitations. Prison administrations cite the use of video communications saves money by reducing the number of staff needed for in person visitation and boosts security by limiting the possibility of contraband being passed from visitor to inmate.

The Final Call reports that the average cost per minute for a video visitation is $1.25. The publication also claims that many prisons receive commissions on revenues from video visits, with prisons only being eligible to those commissions if they ban live visits in favor of calls. Final Call says 75 percent of prisons with video visitation have complied with that requirement.

Read The Final Call’s full story here.

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