When a person goes away to prison, it affects more than the individual serving the actual jail sentence. The expensive phone calls, correspondences through letters, and photos are ways for the incarcerated and their families to keep in touch. Some families even take the long trips sometimes hours at a time and endure the expensive costs to visit their loved ones behind the wall.
However, the increasing penetration of video in our daily lives was bound to reach prisoners and now inmates are capable of visiting their families through videos. Not every prison has the ability to offer video visitation, and while it has reached many facilities, some of those facilities are using it very sparingly. In some ways those forms of communication are used by the prison facilities as an incentive to maintain good behavior among the inmates. Family members of the incarcerated have long complained about the onerous costs associated with phone calls. After advocating for lower rates and caps to those costs, the advances in technology have allowed the emergence of video visitations.
While adding some benefits to the practical way inmates and their families communicate, the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) released a report in 2015 titled Screening Out Family Time: The For Profit Video Visitation Industry In Prisons and Jails. In that report, PPI criticized the way the services operate, the costs associated with using them, even the technology used which they claim is subject to glitches.
According to the report, complaints have also been made about the lack of privacy with video visitations, and the aggressive implementation of video visitations and lessening emphasis of in person visits. The permeation of video has helped the world grow closer, but for prisoners and their families, it appears to be another obstacle.