Prisons Visits Limited to Video Conferences in Dartmouth
The Dartmouth House of Correction in Massachusetts is about to undergo some serious changes thanks to Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson. The sheriff has decided to eliminate in-person visits to the House of Correction, instead requiring all interactions with the outside world to occur via video conference.
The changes are set to take place later this month. According to the sheriff, the switch to video conferencing was a necessary decision. Apparently, visitors have been findings ways to slip inmates drugs and weapons, despite the fact that they’re only allowed to interact with inmates over the phone, separated by a Plexiglass screen. Visitations are completely non-contact, but problems have still emerged that raise security concerns.
“Safety and security is our top priority for inmates and our staff,” said Jonathan Darling, a spokesman for Hodgson. Darling further noted that the Bristol House of Correction will be first in the state to use the video conferencing equipment.
Once the video conferencing solutions are put in place, they will be conducted from a newly remodeled trailer-style building, which will be located in the visitors’ parking lot near the entrance of the Dartmouth campus. So, instead of entering the main prison for visitations, family members and friends will instead be directed to the new building for video conferencing purposes.
Video conferencing is already a staple form of communication in several prisons around the world. Inmates worldwide have been using the technology to contact doctors for medical concerns, or to talk with their attorneys before a trial. In some countries, prisoners are even being allowed to appear in court through video conferencing, meaning that inmates don’t have to physically show up. This saves prisons the trouble of having to spare an extra guard to transport inmates to and from courtrooms.
All in all, video conferencing is facilitating prison operations around the world. This move in Bristol is just the latest example that showcases the monumental potential presented by the technology.
Edited by Maurice Nagle