Video Visitations for Prisoners: Keeping Families in Contact

Prison Video Link has been rolled out across UK Prisons in attempt to ease restrictions on visitations.

 

Usually, visiting a loved one in prison is a fairly straightforward process – there are set visitation hours, and a prisoner can have 2 one hour long visitations a month. However, that is no longer the case. As the pandemic has developed, the rules around prison visitations have become steadily blurrier. 

Depending on the area, and even the specific prison within that area, it may be impossible to visit your loved ones in person; the addition of video calls to prison services have been critical in helping people maintain their family connections.

Starting with young offenders in May, the Government rolled out a service that allowed people in prisons to access free secure video services. This service has expanded to provide each prisoner a free 30 minute video call every month in prisons with access to these facilities.  

However, it turns out that just over 3,500 prisoners don’t have access to these facilities. 7 out of the 110 prisons nationwide have experienced technical issues, including a need for broadband upgrades, which means that despite having all the required equipment and training, these prisons still haven’t been able to provide this service to their prisoners. 

Considering that lawyers are also trying to contact clients via Video Link, it seems more important than ever that these video services are put in place. Broadband connection issues could not only be preventing prisoners from maintaining family connections, but from accessing the legal aid they need. 

Even in prisons where Video Link is available, lawyers are having to wait weeks to speak to their clients. Remote meetings and visitations have the ability to relieve the pressure from prisoners, their families, and their legal support – but it looks so far that the implementation of the services around this Video Link technology is causing more issues than expected. 

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