In-person visits are becoming a thing of the past thanks to the greed and cruelty of prison telecom companies and their latest: video visitation. Besides being expensive and poor quality, these video visits could be ensuring prisons maintain a violent and regressive prison population.
Kit O’Connell, editor at MyMPN and an independent gonzo journalist, recently investigated video visitation in jails and prisons for The Establishment. He wrote that, although human rights activists are beginning to push back against the harm caused by eliminating in-person visits, they face an uphill battle as dozens of jails nationwide have already made the switch or are planning to do so. Travis County Jail, located in Austin, Texas, recently reinstituted in-person visits (which take place through plexiglass) after being challenged by local organizers like Grassroots Leadership‘s Jorge Renaud:
Renaud filed open records requests which revealed that incidents of violence and contraband increased in Travis County Jail after the move to video-only visitation at Travis County Jails. He found a 54% increase in disciplinary incidents involving contraband, a dramatic increase in assaults on prison officials, and an increase in overall disciplinary infractions. There were an average of 940 infractions per month before the May 2013 elimination of in-person visitations, but by April 2014 that had climbed to a monthly average of 1,087.
“What happens is that the psychology in face-to-face visitation so enhances the mood of people incarcerated that taking that away will also result in increased violence on the blocks,” Renaud says.
Watch the trailer for “(In)securus Technology: An Assault on Prisoner Rights” from Grassroots Leadership:
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.