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The National Institute of Corrections' Video Visiting Guide

Research has shown the benefits of visitation for incarcerated individuals as well as for their family and friends; however, visiting a prison facility in-person can be difficult to arrange. Men and women are often incarcerated in facilities far away from their families, and the cost of transportation, lodging, and lost wages can be prohibitively expensive. The use of video visiting has expanded rapidly over the past few years to make face-to-face visiting possible even when in-person visiting is not. In response to this need, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) recently released Video Visiting in Corrections: Benefits, Limitation, and Implementing Considerations, a new guide that informs the development of video visiting programs in correctional settings. NIC is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons.

According to the guide, it is intended to "help inform administrators about the benefits and challenges of using some common video visiting models across a variety of settings. Video visiting can be a positive enhancement to in-person visiting, and has the potential to promote positive outcomes for incarcerated individuals and their families and communities. In certain circumstances, video visiting may benefit corrections by reducing costs, improving safety and security, and allowing for more flexibility in designating visiting hours. The value of video visiting can be maximized when the goals of the facility are balanced with the needs of incarcerated individuals and their families."

Three chapters comprise the guide:

  1. Why consider video visiting
  2. Implementation considerations
  3. Evaluating a video visiting program

Five appendixes address further considerations:

  1. Additional uses for video conferencing in corrections
  2. Video visiting with children
  3. Identifying a video visiting model
  4. Implementation checklist
  5. Evaluation tools

Download the guide (PDF, 105 pages) from the National Institute of Corrections website.