When Securus Technology began introducing its video visitation platform back in the mid-2000s, it had a vision of widespread adoption and eventual replacement of the trouble-prone, in-person visitation system. A decade on, that vision has largely come to fruition. Securus’ visitation systems have been implemented in over 2300 prisons nationwide. If anything, the net benefits are even greater than initially anticipated. The system has proven to be a boon to everyone involved, including inmates, families, officers and management. Let’s look at some of the ways that Securus will bring a little extra joy this holiday season to all who are affected by its video visitation technology.
Savings that transcend money
In this tear jerking video an inmate is reunited with his son while the latter opens his much anticipated presents on Christmas morning. It doesn’t take an academic to spot the enormous benefits such interactions bring to inmates who are enveloped by an environment of hostility and violence. Such savings are best measured in souls rather than dollars.
But the actual cost savings of this system can’t be neglected either. Aside from saving staggering amounts for families who were previously condemned to make the journey to the prison for an in-person visit, the savings to the institution itself have proven remarkable. This is, in part, due to reduction of the manpower-intensive visitation protocols and part due to the notable reduction in inmate behavior problems associated with prisoners who are granted more constant, meaningful communication with their loved ones.
The prison visitation process has historically been the Achilles heel of institutional security. It’s the point at which it’s most likely contraband will be passed. It also poses unique security risks due to the volatility of inmates interacting freely with large numbers of people from the outside. On top of that, inmates who are allowed in-person visits must be moved throughout the prison. This frequently involves transporting gang members outside of their normal locations in the prison and through areas controlled by rival gangs. All of these things conspire to make in-person visitations an enormous resource drain for the prisons that provide them.
In nearly all cases where the video visitation system has been implemented, inmate compliance and general disciplinary problems have improved. This is partly explained by the pacifying effect meaningful contact with one’s loved ones can have. However, it’s also certainly due in part to the ascendance of video visitation to the status of coveted privilege. Inmates who do not behave risk being cut off from daily contact with friends and family. Thus, video visitation becomes a useful tool for prison staff to maintain order.