Over the last decade, Securus Technologies has led the way in the development of video visitation as a low-cost means to allow inmates to stay connected with their family and friends. This innovative technology has proven to be a categorical success. Loved by inmates, families and staff alike, the technology has saved more than just money – it’s saved lives.
However some detractors have made misleading statements regarding the costs, benefits and community-wide effects of this technology which has been, by Securus’ own admission, quite disruptive to the old order. Securus in turn, has vehemently defended its revolutionary technology as a necessary addition to the arsenal of safety measures modern institutions have at their disposal.
Video visitation dramatically reduces costs
Perhaps the greatest benefit of video visitation is its ability to keep families connected that otherwise would have gone without seeing each other. Take a look at this heartwarming video of a real inmate on a Securus video call. Being there for the opening of presents on Christmas morning is a right of passage for both parent and child. This simply wasn’t possible prior video visitation. Not only that, the sad reality is that with the old in-person visitation regime, the man in the video very likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see his family at all over the Christmas holiday.
Prior to the advent of video visitation, families were often forced to drive tens or even hundreds of miles to visit the prison where their loved one was incarcerated. As an example, if someone was convicted of a crime in Marquette, Michigan, their family would have to drive 7 hours to Jackson, Michigan, one way, every time they wanted to visit. For families with children, these visits would often run well in excess of $500 per trip. An in-person visitation would often last no more than one hour.
Today, a one hour video visitation often costs less than $10 and can extend indefinitely. In fact depending on the institution, inmates are frequently allowed to stay connected with friends and family on a virtually limitless basis so long as their account balance is sufficient to place the call.
Video visitation has changed the prison communications landscape for the better. It’s keeping inmates and their families connected in ways not previously possible. And in doing so, it’s instilling much needed hope though one of life’s most trying periods.