A few weeks ago I did a YouTube video about video visitation. Imagine my surprise when I saw last Friday or Saturday that New York State is considering having video visitation one or two days a week at maximum security prisons. As you may imagine this causes a number of concerns most importantly I think that it’s making families realize that this is how it begins with just one or two days a week and I know that there’s a lot of women and men out there who are working so that this doesn’t happen and I hope that the governor of New York rethinks his stand on it.
Going forward I want to spend the blogs on Monday talking about prison related issues. On Fridays I’ll discuss issues having to do with relationships with someone who’s incarcerated and then of course on Wednesdays we will have our women of the week. I just think that if we could work together great thanks could happen. If you know of an issue in your state feel free to let us know via the contact us page or on Facebook and we can try to get things organized and moving in a way that is helpful to us and not helpful to those institutions who benefit off keeping out loved ones in prison.
If you would like to make an effort to stop the video visitation for New York inmates, please see below:
GOV. COUMO WILL BE DECIDING THIS TUESDAY, JANUARY, 31ST. DON’T SLEEP! If this goes thru, we may have to rally for months on end to get him to add it back. I wish i had a means to get up there on Tuesday and rally or something.
Here’s the letter in case you missed it. This letter is ready to be sent as is or use it as a template, customize as you see fit for you and your loved ones, or create your own. Just get it out. Print it out for other women that you may network with on the buses/vans. Do not send to O’Donnell.
Please send this letter to
1. Assemblymemeber Velmanette Montgomery (https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/velmanette-montgomery)
2. Assemblymember David Weprin (http://nyassembly.gov/mem/David-I-Weprin/
3. Governor Andrew Coumo (https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form)
I am writing to you to inform you that families of maximum prison inmates in the state of New York are opposed to the reduction of visit days per week in exchange for video visitation. There are more inmates at maximum security prisons than there are at medium security facilities and the proposed reduction will cause overcrowding issues during visitation hours.
I am sure that you are aware of NYS DOCC’s practice of moving inmates further away from their loved ones’ and the excessive hardship this practice poses on them. With that being said, this bill will further reduce opportunities to see loved ones and it increases the risk of having visits terminated early due to others waiting to get in. Maintaining a 6-7 day a week visit schedule allows families the opportunity to be flexible if they have weekdays off from work and it also frees seats on the weekends for those less fortunate with more restricted schedules.
Video visitation is expensive and there is evidence from other states that have employed this practice showing the further economic hardship that this would place on families who are already struggling to pay the costs of maintaining communication and visitation. There is also scientific evidence that physical contact can directly affect ones mental health and wellbeing and if this is negatively impacted, it could cause even more chaos and pose more security risks due to inmates’ reactions to this act. The practice of restricting family visitation further breaks down the family ties that are needed for effective rehabilitation.
It is said that the proposal of video visitation in place of physical visitation is to reduce budget costs. Proposing to hold video visitation isn’t cutting much out of the budget, as these visits will also need to be staffed and supervised; so positions won’t be cut, they’ll just simply be changed. In recent years, the inmate population has decreased, but the budget continues to swell according to Ken Stier’s article (http://citylimits.org/…/nys-prison-budget-climbs-despite-f…/).
We, the family and friends of NYSDOC inmates are opposed to this portion of any past, present, or future bill that suggests this reduction in face-to-face, physical interaction.