Prisons Are Phasing Out Visitation For Price-Gouging Video Calls



The prison industrial complex is always finding new ways to squeeze money out prisoners and their families.

Studies show that face-to-face visitations with family reduces recidivism, which means less money for private prisons. More and more prisons are phasing out real visitation in favor of price-gouging video conference calls. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, and Jimmy Dore, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Travis County ended all in-person visitations in May 2013, leaving video visitation as the exclusive method for people on the outside to communicate with the incarcerated. But Travis County is only on the leading edge of a new technological trend that threatens to abolish in-person visitation across the country. Over 600 prisons in 46 states have some sort of video visitation system, and every year, more of those facilities do away with in-person visitation.

Anticipating the arrival of friends and family, making eye contact, holding a child’s hand — these are the experiences and memories that give someone the resilience they need to make it in prison. A visit can alleviate the suffering that comes cold confinement and the brutality of unpredictable violence that erupts between inmates…

You may have heard of the prison industrial complex, but the companies that provide corrections facilities with their communications technologies are an industrial complex all their own. Three companies dominate the prison comms business: Securus, Telmate and Global Tel Link, also called GTL — the Verizon, AT&T and Sprint of jails.

Long before video visitation existed, prison phone calls were the bread and butter of these companies. With exclusive contracts protecting them from competition, the trio of prison telecom giants ratcheted up the prices until a single phone call could cost upward of $14 a minute.

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