By Brian Deuster
Family ties and visits are critical for helping inmates readjust to community life after leaving prison, as evidenced by individual accounts and studies such as one from the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The holidays — a time when distance from family is distressing enough —present a unique challenge to families with loved ones in prison.
GTL’s video visitation allows inmates to participate in family life, even if they cannot be with their loved ones in person. One of the many advantages of video visitation is that inmates do not have to wait in line for the phone or repeatedly call a loved one until they are available. Family visits can significantly reduce criminal activity and recidivism, and interaction with families around the holidays is especially meaningful for those separated from their loved ones. The Minnesota Department of Corrections study found a single visit correlated with a 25 percent drop in technical violations and a 13 percent drop in new crimes once the inmate got out of prison.
Video visitation is a positive solution for families and friends who aren’t close in proximity to an incarcerated loved one. Over the holiday season, video visitation gives inmates the opportunity to participate in their families’ lives—even virtually sitting at the dinner table. Another benefit is the interaction between inmates and their children; keeping in touch has a positive effect on both parties.
GTL’s video visitation options allow inmates to stay in touch with friends and loved ones through a secure system. The video system is a useful accompaniment to face-to-face visits, which many inmates cite as important to their wellbeing. GTL is committed to enabling communication, which reduces the burden on inmates, their families, and corrections officers, and has a material impact on recidivism rates.
Brian Deuster is product manager at GTL, headquartered in Reston, Va. He oversees the GTL visitation management solution and video visitation system as well as the video relay service solution.