HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Many of you have been asking, when will friends and family of inmates be able to visit again?
While visitations aren’t back to normal just yet, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) announced today their new video connect services, also referred to as video visitation, and Inbound eMessaging.
These new state-wide services are expected to increase lines of communication, improve ability to provide meaningful visitation experiences, and encourage sustained connections between inmates and their families and friends.
So, how exactly will this new technology work?
We’re told inmates will be able to use the video connect kiosks by appointment, scheduled incrementally to allow for safe and personalized experiences. Families and friends can securely send photos to inmates for view via the kiosk after approval by facility staff.
For some families, video connect sessions may provide a more affordable option for those who must travel for in-person visitation.
It is important to note that once it is deemed safe to resume more standard facility operations, video connect services will continue to supplement in-person visitation to allow for greater connectivity and resource availability.
Additionally, as an alternative to written correspondence, family and friends can utilize the new Inbound eMessaging platform to send eMessages (emails), eCards, and photos that will be processed securely, printed, and distributed by facility staff to their incarcerated loved ones.
ADOC officials say they hope this will help further their mission to empower successful reentry into society upon release, as multiple studies have shown that sustained connections between inmates and their loved ones help reduce recidivism, a relapse into criminal behavior.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented operational challenges for the ADOC and prison systems across the country, including their ability to provide safe, in-person visitation experiences.
The launch of these initiatives will hopefully help combat communication challenges associated with the temporary, system-wide visitation restrictions.
The new program is expected to be rolled out to all other ADOC facilities by early December. Inbound eMessaging soon will be active and accessible across the correctional system.