On-site visitation ending at detention center, replaced with video visitation
Knox County’s debate offers a snapshot of competing narratives about the move to electronic visitation, which continues to spread nationwide. Knoxville News Sentinel
FARMINGTON — Family members and friends of inmates at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center
The county has announced that, starting Jan. 15, visits must
An email to The Daily Times announcing the change stated that in-person visitation would end Jan. 15, however, San Juan County clarified on Jan. 14 that in-person visits have not
San Juan County is advertising this change as a positive step that will reduce the travel burden families face while visiting inmates.
“It comes down to technology and convenience for family members,” said county spokesman Devin Neeley when reached by phone on Jan. 13.
The change will also increase security by decreasing the number of people
trend to end in-person visits has advantages, drawbacks
Hundreds of jails and prisons across the United States have moved away from in-person visits in favor of video visitation, according to Massachusetts-based nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.
While this trend has the advantage of increasing accessibility, Prison Policy Initiative says not allowing in-person visits can have negative impacts on the inmates
"The feeling of being physically close to
Prison Policy Initiative teamed up with a group called Face to Face Knox to study the impacts ending in-person visitation had at the Knox County Jail in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knox County ended in-person visitation in 2014.
The Face to Face Knox study found that ending in-person visitation did not lead to a substantial drop the amount of contraband entering the jail, and that ending in-person visits made the jail more dangerous by increasing the number of assaults on other inmates or staff.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, people using the video visitation software complained that calls would fail halfway through the visit, and sometimes they couldn't even get it to connect.
A 2015 Prison Policy Initiative report stated the fees for video visitation can make it hard for impoverished family members to visit with the inmates. The report stated that people from poorer communities are
Neeley said each detainee at the San Juan County Detention Center will have a free 15-minute video visit each week.
Neeley said the county
How to schedule a phone, video visit
There are daily blackout times from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. for both the phone and online video visitation.
Securus phone cards will not work with the Global Tel Link and Global Tel Link cannot transfer or process a Securus refund, according to the county.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times.
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Clarification: An earlier version of this story stated the county detention center was ending in-person visitation.