Author Topic: Are in person prison visitations a right?  (Read 169 times)

LetterRip

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Are in person prison visitations a right?
« on: December 12, 2017, 06:05:26 PM »
Apparently some prisons are ending in person visits and requiring instead that all contact is via a skype equivalent, etc.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/09/skype-for-jailed-video-calls-prisons-replace-in-person-visits

Do you think this is legal, and if so do you think it should be allowed?

TheDrake

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 07:19:11 PM »
ACLU:

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VISITATION RIGHTS

Visitation restrictions do not violate the Constitution unless they have no reasonable relationship to a legitimate penological goal (a goal related to prison management and/or criminal rehabilitation).[1] The Supreme Court has stopped short of holding that prisoners have no rights of association, but has upheld severe limits on visiting by children and ex-prisoners, and an indefinite denial of all non-legal visiting for prisoners convicted of infractions related to substance abuse.[2]

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It is not unconstitutional to place convicted prisoners in a facility so distant that it is difficult or impossible for them to receive visits.[4] Courts have reasoned that a state’s goal of segregating an inmate from society seems inconsistent with allowing that inmate access to visitors.[5]

Plus, there's the fact that even in-person visits are sometimes without contact. So what's the difference between skype and a solid barrier with a telephone?

I don't currently have an opinion on the positive or negative impact of a such a policy.

D.W.

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 07:19:17 PM »
I think a good compromise would be to allow more frequent or longer duration visits if you opt for this method.  It does seem like a good security option and cost cutter from the stand point of the prison.

I think cutting off in person visits entirely though is a tougher call.  Maybe you reduce them, but eliminating them I don't think is fair.  I mean, you'd still need in person lawyer visits IMO, so you've got some infrastructure for it remaining no matter what. 

Also, if you did make e-visits a thing, you'd need to make available for the  visitors access to them.  This could be as simple as a booth/computer at the local police station or public libraries.  I know we like to think of the PC (with internet access, and a mic/camera) as no big deal, but it's not a given.  Even if it's not face to face, it can't be MORE restrictive in terms of access IMO.

If I'm not mistaken, the State Police station (with holding facilities on site) near me already has this type of video phone system in place.

TheDrake

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 07:22:00 PM »
The benefits from the prison point of view include contraband interdiction, but also communication monitoring.

D.W.

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 07:22:36 PM »
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So what's the difference between skype and a solid barrier with a telephone?
Off the top of my head?  "Camera's broken this week."  where in reality the prisoner got the *censored* kicked out of them and the facility would rather not let the family of that prisoner see the physical signs of said beating.

Not to mention more corrupt application of, "computer problems, sorry, not our fault" as unsanctioned punishment.

LetterRip

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 10:43:37 PM »
I think they are also charging a fee for this system, so the prisons have an economic incentive.

yossarian22c

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Re: Are in person prison visitations a right?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 10:55:27 PM »
I think they are also charging a fee for this system, so the prisons have an economic incentive.

Yes, I’ve seen reports about these that were set up like traffic cams where private companies split revenues with the prisons. The rates charged are generally outrageous, I think $1+ per minute.