Report: Va. inmates have held over 144k video visits since pandemic began

Report: Va. inmates have held over 144k video visits since pandemic began

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Incarcerated people in Virginia prisons and institutions have held more than 144,000 video visits since in-person visitation was suspended, according to a release from the state department of corrections.

In-person visitation was suspended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus, and since, inmates have utilized video visits to connect with friends and family.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, incarcerated folks conducted 144,699 video visits. During the 2019-20 period, 3,257 video visits were made.

Virginia’s department of corrections conducts video visits through partnerships with Global Tel Link and Assisting Families of Inmates, or AFOI, a nonprofit organization focused on families with incarcerated loved ones.

“We strongly believe that family support plays a vital role in an inmate’s success,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “The collaboration with GTL and AFOI to provide video visitation has been a major success, playing an important role in helping inmates endure this pandemic.”

Loved ones can conduct video visits at home or at one of six visitor centers throughout the state. The current rate is $8 for a 20 minute visit or $20 for a 50 minute visit.

“The significant number of video visits held over the past year highlights the importance of family connections and should illustrate for all of us just how meaningful it is for inmates and their families to see one another’s faces in addition to hearing their voices,” said Fran Bolin, AFOI executive director. “Supportive connections improve lives and ultimately, that is our collective goal.”

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