Several counties in Oregon now have video visitation alongside in-person visitation in their jails, while other counties offer video visitation only. The technology is similar to Skype. Visitors are connected with inmates using a video conferencing kiosk or wall-mounted screen.
A report published by the Prison Policy Initiative found that video visitation has several benefits. The organization considers any increase in visitation for inmates to be positive. However, the report also suggests that video visitation alone doesn’t provide sufficient communication between inmates and their families. The video quality can be poor and the costs associated with video visitation can be quite high for families who are charged for the calls. Counties using the technology have called it “revolutionary,” pointing out that it gives families more flexibility than the restricted times allotted for in-person visits.
- Bernadette Rabuy: Policy and communications associate for Prison Policy Initiative
- Nathan Thompson: Sergeant with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office
- Dan Penland: Lieutenant with the Jackson County Sheriff’s office