One of the hottest technologies to hit the prison industrial space over the last few years has been Securus Technologies’ video visitation. The system has enabled inmates to stay in nearly constant touch with their loved ones on the outside, all for extremely low rates that almost any family member can afford. As a result, the institutions in which these systems have been installed have seen dramatic reductions in the rate of infractions committed by inmates within their confines. This has not only made the inmates’ quality of life better, it has dramatically improved the safety of the institutions.
While the Securus video visitation system has become enormously popular with both inmates and guards, one of the major beneficiaries of its low rates and high-quality, high definition face-to-face feed has been the family members of inmates who are serving long sentences of incarceration. It has been estimated up to 5 million children in the United States have currently incarcerated parents. This usually involves the father, who is oftentimes completely removed from the home and the lives of his children for years or decades on end. Because it is a well-known finding of sociology that children without a father in the homes tend to have dismal outcomes later in life, the ability of Securus video visitation technology to allow these children to have a father figure in their lives is actively preventing the creation of a new criminal class.
The rates to make calls are on the decline over the last decade. Throughout the state of Louisiana, the average video visitation call costs inmates just $0.15 per minute. This is an incredible reduction from what these calls once cost. In fact, just a decade ago, the average phone call within the state of Louisiana was closer to 30 cents per minute.