Feb 21 Legislative Hearing on Video Visitation in Jails

VIDEO of the Hearing!  Powerful testimony from family and formerly incarcerated perspectives: Zoe Willmott and Anita Wills of Essie Justice Group, Michael Cortez of Project WHAT! (alumni), and compelling public comment.

The below post was updated Feb 16, 2017

On Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10am in Sacramento, there will be a Joint Legislative Hearing on video visitation in county jails. It will be hosted by the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Public Safety.

JOINT HEARING
PUBLIC SAFETY AND BUDGET AND FISCAL REVIEW

CA Senate Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary and CA Assembly Subcommittee No. 5 on Public Safety

  • Hearing Subject: Looking Through the Screen: The Effects of Video Visitation on County Jail Inmates and their Families
  • 10:00 a.m. — John L. Burton Hearing Room (Rm 4203), CA State Capitol, Sacramento 95814
  • Chairs: Senator Nancy Skinner and Assembly Member Shirley Weber

Help protect in-person visitation! We believe that there will be an opportunity for public comment. Please consider speaking or providing a written statement if you have experience with in-person or video visitation.

We are in a period when many counties are building or seeking to build new jails.  Some counties are building jails without facilities for in-person visiting.  Instead, they are setting up video-visitation as the only visiting method.  There are many problems with video visitation. In-person visitation is crucial to the well-being of incarcerated people and their families.

Last year, the legislature passed SB 1157 (introduced by Senator Holly Mitchell), to require in-person visiting in county jails, but unfortunately Gov. Brown vetoed the bill. SB 1157 would have allowed counties to install and use video visitation as a supplemental option, but would have protected in-person jail visits from being eliminated and sacrificed to the video visitation industry.

It is important to protect in-person visits for incarcerated people and their loved ones in California jails. We are glad that the CA legislature remains concerned about this issue.

• Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity members will be carpooling to Sacramento on Feb 21st.  Contact: 510.426.5322

• Also, Bernadette Rabuy of the Prison Policy Initiative invites you to contact her if you would like to provide public comment at the hearing  brabuy@prisonpolicy.org.

Below is an extensive list of articles and reports about video visitation from the Prison Policy Institute.

Screening Out Family Time:
The for-profit video visitation industry in prisons and jails

by Bernadette Rabuy and Peter Wagner
January 2015

Report (Print/PDF version)

Executive Summary
Exhibits
Press Release

Prison Policy Institute collaboration with NYC comedians to challenge the video visitation industry’s offensive claim that video visitation is “just like Skype” with 4 short videos:
https://youtu.be/36kBFafyx-4?list=PLGg11-cQgYcgglxkdJLXAhtBkY7FX5k3Y

Press coverage and editorial support

Blog posts

See also, the Prison Policy Initiatiive:

Our page about bringing fairness to the prison and jail telephone industry and other reports about video visitation

 

4 thoughts on “Feb 21 Legislative Hearing on Video Visitation in Jails

  1. Please sign this petition for a federal act protecting in-person visitation https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/help-me-make-it-easier-to-visit-loved-ones-in-jail
    To: US Congress
    Please pass Senator Duckworth’s Video Visitation in Prisons Act, which would require that the Federal Communications Commission ensure that correctional facilities that have video visitation do not ban in-person visits.
    “It’s so hard on families when a loved one is incarcerated. The prisons and jails have found a multitude of ways to make visitation difficult if not impossible AND very expensive”

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