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RSAT Forum > Monthly Discussion > July 2023: Increased Video Visitation Correlates with Decreased Recidivism View modes: 
skeller - 7/12/2023 11:39:56 AM
July 2023: Increased Video Visitation Correlates with Decreased Recidivism

Question: How can we increase inmate interaction with their families given the research that increased family contact correlates with decreased recidivism when people leave prison?

Answer:  Both Colorado and Iowa DOCs have made terrific strides in dramatically increasing contact with family members of incarcerated through video communications.  Both DOCs have worked with a non-profit company called Ameelio to establish free video calling for persons incarcerated in at least some of their prison facilities. In Colorado, the DOC created video visitation centers in two units within its Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.  Since their launch in 2022, there has been a 177.6% increase in video calls scheduled.  These units were so successful in increasing family contacts that the Colorado DOC has built a brand new technology lounge with equipped with a high quality network to host video visits.  A picture reveals plush red furniture in a carpeted interior room glassed off from the rest of the floor to make it sound proof, yet open for surveillance. In Iowa, the DOC is providing free video visitation also set up by Ameelio in all of its prisons.  Since installed in 2021 for the first year, video calls increased from 10 to 986.  In 2022, the volume doubled to 1,600 in December.  In April of 2023, it reached over 2,000 per week.

There is a concern that video calls may discourage more optimal in-person visitation.  That does not appear to be the case, at least in these prisons.  More than half of the video calls in Iowa for example are out of state, as far away as South Africa. They are to people who otherwise would not be able to readily come to the prison for visitation.  In addition, 60% of the in-person visitations are by individuals who also receive the video calls, indicating the video calls supplement, not replace in-person visitation.