Prison services giant Securus Technologies has been trying hard to get the word out about the many benefits of its video visitation system. No time is this message more important than over the Christmas season. Spending time in jail is hard enough. But spending Christmas in jail without being able to communicate with one’s family can send an inmate into a state of despair. Likewise, for the families of prisoners it can be unbearably hard not having their sons or fathers present when the little ones open presents under the tree.
Video presentations like this one give some idea of the power a video visitation has to make a tough life situation a little more bearable for all involved. Yet perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of video visitations aren’t the inmates themselves but the family members who are spared the ordeal of going to the prison in-person for a face to face visit that often disappoints.
Prison is no fairytale world
While family members know that prison is not a nice place, they’re sometimes unprepared for the full brunt of the prison environment. Thus, visitations can become a traumatic event for those who are not well-suited to the noisy, martial ambiance of a prison facility.
During an in-person visit, even before they get to see their loved ones, family members are often times themselves treated as suspected criminals. Long lines and sometimes unfriendly staff are typical of a pre-visitation protocol. In some cases, family members may even be subject to search or arrest if prison staff have reason to believe they may be smuggling contraband. The warden will often place his toughest guards on visitation duty so inmates know if they get out of line one inch there will be swift and harsh consequences.
These things may seem overly harsh, even dehumanizing to family members on their first visit. However, they are a necessary precaution from the institution’s perspective. Visitation is the point of entry for much, if not most contraband. Illicit drugs, phones and weapons are no laughing matter at a prison. They can mean the difference between life and death for guards and inmates alike. Therefore, visitation security is some of the strictest in the criminal justice system.
Video visitation spares innocent family members all of this. They can visit their loved one from the comfort of their own living room, in a familiar and warm environment. This is just one reason Securus believes so strongly in reaching as many inmates and families as possible with this new technology.