US

As more jails turn to video visits for inmates, advocates worry about end to in-person visits

Prisoners' rights advocates are worried that the growing use of video technology to facilitate visits between inmates and their family and friends is part of a trend to eliminate the more traditional in-person visit.

But officials who run the facilities — mostly county jails — say video visitation has been a boon to their efforts to improve security and increase visiting hours.

In video visits, inmates interact with family and friends through a video screen at a jail or through a visitor's personal computer. Critics say the method is inferior to in-person visits, where people are in the same room but separated by thick glass.

Some places are now rethinking the elimination of in-person visits, with Texas currently debating legislation guaranteeing such visits.