Of all the technological developments that have shaped the prison environment in the United States over the last 20 years, video visitation ranks among the most impactful. Securus Technologies, the nation’s leading inmate communications provider, has developed its own proprietary video visitation solution that allows inmates to stay in nearly constant touch with their family over high-definition feeds and allowing the family members to visit with their loved ones from almost anywhere they happen to be.
But this technology has not just been a huge boon to the inmates themselves. The families have often been the biggest winners. For starters, few inmates in the United States prison system have means of generating significant incomes. This means that, in practice, the family members are often the ones who foot the bill for outgoing phone calls, commissary accounts and other extra expenses that inmates may need to pay for while incarcerated.
Securus has been able to keep the price of the average outgoing video visitation called to just 15 cents a minute throughout the United States. These are rates that enable inmates to stay in touch with their family members, giving them a strong sense of hope and creating a privilege that incentivizes inmates not to engage in behavior that is contrary to the rules of the institution.
But the ability of family members to interact with their loved ones, face-to-face, on an almost unlimited basis also saves the families themselves hundreds of dollars each month. These are the same families that otherwise would have been forced to drive to the prison itself in order to visit with their incarcerated loved ones in person. These trips often involve paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in gas, food and lodging costs, expenses that many of the families of incarcerated individuals cannot afford, as many fall below the poverty threshold.