In recent years, more and more prisons have been introducedvideoCall service. In theory, these products can make it easier for prisoners to keep in touch with family and friends outside. But many prisons have moved in the opposite direction, using the advent of these "video access" services as an excuse to limit or eliminate traditional face-to-face interviews.
There are many reasons for the prison to go this route. But critics say that money plays an important role. Face-to-face interviews require more staff supervision, both to protect prisoners’ access to the visiting room and to ensure that no contraband transactions occur during the visit. So switching to video access can save the prison money.
While on-site video access is usually free, the company that provides the system usually offers paid off-site video calling services. Prisons receive a large part of this money. Prisons often choose companies that pay the largest proportion of prisons in the company, rather than companies that offer the best price. This not only raises the price paid by prisoners' friends and family, it also stimulates prisons to make visitors experience less attractive, so they will switch to remote phones instead.