With virtually all facilities on lockdown, video has become the primary method of face-to-face communication for inmates to connect with essential workers, including their attorneys, judges, medical staff, and clergy.
In order to try to reduce prison populations and safely release applicable defendants, some counties are trying out video court sessions along with video arraignments. Video arraignments have helped to reduce the number of people coming in physical contact with each other as concerns continue to mount over how quickly the virus can spread in confined spaces. This pilot program has also eliminated the need for inmate transport to and from these appearances, reducing necessary staff and security.
While the benefits of using video at this time are obvious, there are some major challenges and concerns regarding it, as well.
One of the biggest concerns with using programs such as Zoom or Skype is their overall lack of security and monitoring capabilities. Although for the most part, the persons utilizing these services with inmates are attorneys, judges, or clergy, there is still a large gap in monitoring abilities while in use, raising the alarm for potential issues down the line.
The nature of these programs is for business or personal use, so most do not offer options such as automatically transcribing the conversations, or offering the capability for keyword searches within these conversations for certain words or phrases. Utilizing a video technology that is specifically created for prison use will ensure that these types of security measures are in place before your inmates begin using the programs.
There are also privacy concerns when utilizing these video technologies. There is a certain level of privacy that inmates have a right to when having personal conversations with clergy members or their own counsel. It’s crucial that these rights are not breached while still maintaining proper security measures.
Privacy concerns are also extremely important when considering virtual medical appointments. Typical business video technologies are not HIPAA-compliant and can violate the inmate’s rights to have their private health information protected. Turning to a specialized provider of these services certifies that all regulations and guidelines are being followed.
As COVID continues to alter the way we perform daily critical functions, it will be necessary for all correctional facilities to examine their systems and make major changes to best keep inmates, the public and employees safe. Adopting secure and monitored video technologies specifically designed for jails and prisons will be the first step in ensuring security and privacy for all.
HomeWAV is the leader in providing detention facilities with comprehensive inmate video visitation solutions and hardware. Our patented technology can integrate all of your essential video services into one comprehensive platform, customized to meet your needs within a highly secure, correctional setting.