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Should you buy a video visitation system?

Here are some of the pros and cons of introducing a VVS to your correctional facility

Dessie Daniels Video visits are better for the prisoners so they don’t try anything bad but as long as there is a way the family can see and talk to them that is a good thing as long as both sides work where prisoners can see family and family can see their loved ones incarcerated.

David Vanhoudenhove Biggest con of it all: the inmates don’t get physical contact with their loved ones anymore, which could cause them to be more agressive against others and possibly they couldn’t return to the society as ‘normal’ people anymore.
Pro’s: safety of the staff and visitors, no more contraband.

Jerseygirl Inman My facility doesn’t have this and the only con I believe this will cause is the need for less staff due to the elimination of the visiting positions which means possible layoffs. Pro: I’m sure the introduction of contraband inside is drastically reduced which equals a safer environment for everyone.

William Cottle The system cuts off the visit on a pre set determined time. There won’t be gripes or complaints that an officer “shorted” their visit. We get that time to time in regular visitation and it gets old fast!

Jamie Allison We have them and they are a royal pain. We are always having operational problems and internet issues. The commissary machines were purchased with them. In the first few months we already had three broken screens. The glass shards and long pieces of glass are very dangerous.

Nathan Parmely I was unsure of how well it would work. I was concerned about it being an issue that inmates would show up for others’ visits, causing more altercations. But it hasn’t been much of an issue, plus the control of it helps in this matter. The elimination of mass movement in our facility has been awesome. And no officers have to be tied up sitting in visitation when we are already so short staffed. I have been astonished by the positive response by inmates, officers, and visiting public!

Kimberly Campbell Wilcox I think it would be better for inmate attitude and morale to have person to person contact. I’ve been on the other side of this with a family member in prison. We had to drive 4 hours one way to see her. I would not have been happy if I had to stare at my aunt through a computer screen. If that’s the case why not just offer skype to the inmates and keep civilians out of the facility all together? It’s better for the innocent families, especially children, for them to be able to have physically contact with their mother or father. Both facilities I worked at had a glass window at the visitation area. I don’t even like that. The facility my aunt was in had an open visitation room with several guards posted around the room. No contact was allowed but it was so nice to be able to see her face to face.

Daryl Edwards-Jenkins We have them. The good is that people can’t sneak contraband into our facility. Bad is that it interferes with normal operations and keeping time lines straight.

Brett Dawson I love our jail’s video visitation system. It increases the number of visits we can handle in a day and greatly reduces the logistical nightmare of moving inmates all around our facility. It also has a huge impact on the amount of contraband in our facility.

Joe Juarez Milwaukee County switched to a video visitation system not long after an inmate escaped through one of the visitation glass windows. His girlfriend smuggled in tools, and loosened hardware little by little each visit until one day they actually removed, not smashed a window, right out of the pane. She brought a change of clothes so that he would blend in on the way out. He was captured a few weeks later. Yes the technical difficulties of the video system can be a burden on staff, visitors, and inmates, but those factors don’t outweigh the factors of safety to staff, and the community. Convenience isn’t one of our rules, but making sure no inmate escapes is!

Nik Harvey All pro. No civilians in the secure area of the facility, no movement of offenders out of their units, and auto recording and total control of the visit. Outstanding system.

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