Over the years, local governments have turned to private companies to manage more and more of the American penal system. Sometimes prisons themselves, but also probation and drug treatment services, transportation, and phone systems. Now, add jail visitation to the list.
...More than 500 facilities around the country have adopted video visitation systems so far, ostensibly to save taxpayers money. Carrie Wilkinson, director of the Prison Phone Justice campaign at the Human Rights Defense Center, says that argument misses the point.
“I think as a society, if we’re going to incarcerate people, you have to pay the costs that are associated with that,” she says. “If that means you have to have guards to staff so that people can come visit their loved ones, then that’s part of the deal.