Securus, the company who contracts with countries to offer video visitation of inmates in exchange for the poison pill in the contract that the county will kill in-person inmate visitation, is being sued for it’s contract with Denton county. 

Anyone who’s ever been on a video conference (FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, et cetera) knows that video is no substitute for an in-person visit. You can look at the person on a screen, but you can’t see them the way you can in person (even if it is through glass). Some context is lost. Some feeling is lost. Dallas county offers video visitation to attorneys but I avoid it for all but the quickest visits with clients. It’s too impersonal. It puts even more distance between you and the person in jail, which defeats the point of creating an attorney/client relationship. 

All of my gripes pale in comparison to what this does to people visiting their loved ones in jail. It’s bad enough that he or she is away from the family, it just adds insult to injury to put up another barrier to sustaining a real connection. To add insult to injury, the “convenience” of “getting to” use this video to visit your loved one (when there’s no other option) is REALLY, REALLY expensive. Oh, and it’s a monopoly. But what’s a little monopoly and sticking it to the poor when it involves people accused of crimes? Just deplorable. I’ll be watching these lawsuits with interest. 

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