Securus Technologies has continued to deploy its video visitation systems to prisons across the United States. With systems installed in over 2300 prisons, it’s currently the largest video visitation operator in the country. The enormous success of video visitation technology has been spurned on by the benefits, not just to inmates and their families, but to the institutions themselves. These innovative systems have proven to be loved by inmates, officers and management alike.
Virtually home for the holidays and really staying out of trouble
If you watch this moving video, you can get a sense of how important video visitation has become for some inmates trying to stay connected with their families. The harsh truth is that even 10 years ago, such a scene for most inmates in the U.S. prison system would have been impossible. The chance for a prisoner to be there with his family while his son opens presents on Christmas morning adds a level of humanity to the incarceration experience that was previously lacking.
As much of a blessing as the technology is to inmates and families, it’s just as beneficial to guards. Video visitation has dramatically cut down the need for in-person visits and at some institutions has eliminated them altogether. In-person visits had always been the weak point in prison security. Guards needed to be extra vigilant to prevent contraband from being passed when inmates came into physical contact with visitors.
Another serious threat was moving inmates throughout the building. Gang members were often unavoidably brought through areas of the prison controlled by rival gangs. This could lead to extreme violence in the blink of an eye. Corrections officers often found themselves in the middle of an assassination attempt and were left with serious injury. In too many unfortunate cases, guards have lost their lives while transporting prisoners.
Many of the most dangerous gang members were required to be granted visitation under state law. A large problem that prisons have historically faced is the inability to prove that “shot callers” have actually been involved in a crime because they order underlings to do the dirty work. This has led to situations where some of the most extreme, violent psychopaths have been required to be moved throughout the prison by law. Tragically, this has led to officer deaths such as that of Merle Clutts at USP Marion in 1983.
By removing the many risks associated with in-person visits, video visitation has made U.S. prisons much safer for the inmates and the officers who guard them.