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Hinds County Inmate Video Visits

Hinds County Supervisors are moving forward with plans to allow video visitation for inmates in county jails.  Global Tel Link, a company that many prison reform advocates disparage, now offers video visitation for inmates and their families.

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Video Visitation a Growing Trend, but Concerns Remain

By Prison Legal News

A growing trend toward the use of video visitation at jails across the country is drawing the praise of corrections officials and prisoners’ family members alike, though some advocacy groups worry that video visits could pose an undue financial hardship on those least able to afford it and possibly lead to the elimination of in-person visits.

“I think it’s the way of the future,” said Kane County, Illinois police commander Corey Hunger. “In the next 20 years, I think everyone will have it.”

At some jails, visitors can use video screens to communicate with prisoners in another part of the facility. Other systems allow people to conduct visits via the Internet from a remote location, including their own homes. Prisoners typically use video monitors set up in cell blocks or other designated areas; the visits are monitored and recorded. [See: PLN, July 2013, p.44; Sept. 2012, p.42; Nov. 2011, p.37; Jan. 2010, p.22].

But in Kane County and other jails, the installation of video systems spelled the end of in-person visits. Hunger said not having to screen visitors and escort them through the jail frees up guards to perform other duties. Officials also claim that doing away with face-to-face visits reduces confrontations among prisoners and the risk that visitors will smuggle in contraband.

“[F]rom the standpoint of safety and security, it’s a huge improvement,” stated St. Clair County, Illinois Sheriff Rick Watson. “Every pod has a video monitor and the prisoners don’t have to be moved for visits, which saves on staff time. And if you cut down on movement of prisoners, you cut down on dangerous incidents.”

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Book Review: Banking and Financial Management Course (1st Ed.), by Prisoner Assistant

Reviewed by Gary Hunter 

Life outside prison crosses the minds of most prisoners daily, but how many times do those thoughts include the direction of their financial future? Prisoner Assistant has put together a helpful text book, the Banking and Financial Management Course, specifically designed to help prisoners understand and plan for their future finances.

Banking and Financial Management offers a detailed description of how financial institutions operate and how they can be successfully used. The reader will learn the subtle differences between a debit card, credit card and ATM card, for example. The book also describes a number of fee-based financial services offered by Prisoner Assistant.

Chapter one addresses banking basics with a concise explanation of what financial institutions offer and how they work. Debit card and credit card functions are clearly explained. Prisoner Assistant even provides a list of questions that will help you find the financial institution best suited to your personal needs.

Chapter two examines savings accounts, and illustrations take the reader through an easy to understand, step-by-step process. Technological advances now offer everyone a variety of ways to access their funds once they are deposited in a financial institution.

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