For prisoners, visitation provides an important link to the outside world and a support system. As of May 2013, there were 218,171 inmates across the country. That’s 0.7% of adults in the U.S. resident population. For those 218,171 people, continued contact with their friends and loved ones can be critical to the maintenance of psychological morale and the adjustment back into the outside community. For those reasons, the Federal Bureau of Prisons recognizes prisoner visitation rights and has established regulations surrounding them.
Understanding Visitation Rights
According to the FBP, the warden must allow each inmate at least four monthly hours of visitation. The warden can also establish monthly limits for the maximum hours of visitation. It is the responsibility of prisoners to submit a list of proposed regular visitors to the designated staff who will review the list to determine whether the persons on the list are qualified before compiling a visiting list. All institutions provide visiting hours on weekends and holidays, though there are some who offer additional times. Regardless of whether the visitor is a recurring or special visitor, the warden must supply a vising room arranged to provide adequate supervision that is pleasant and comfortable.
The Future of Prison Visitation
Though it can’t take the place of face-to-face visitation, prison video visitation is beginning to become popular in some prisons. Virtual visitation provides high quality, two-way, secure visitation sessions between inmates and any approved visitor, providing a number of benefits.
For attorneys, social workers, U.S. Marshalls, and other privileged visitors, the process is made simpler, allowing cases to be handled more efficiently. Family members can visit more often, especially since they are able to control scheduling and administration. All visitors benefit by avoiding the costs associated with travel, search protocols, and other requirements placed by the facility.
For an inmate video visitation means a stronger support system which is essential to mental health maintenance in prison. More frequent visits are appreciated by those using prison video visitation.
It is undoubted that prison video visitation will continue to become more and more popular as the years go on. That we have the technology allowing these opportunities is incredible and most certainly appreciated both by inmates and their families.