It’s that time of year again when those of us who are living free celebrate the holidays. We enjoy family, friends, music, food and comradeship. For those who are incarcerated, this time of year can be devastating. Some are separated from their families by thousands of miles, and will not have the chance to see them at all. For some they may get a visit, but after the visit they will go back to their cells, while their family or friends go back to their lives on the outside. For those who are in solitary it is even worse. They sit alone in their bathroom sized cell, and may not even be able to speak to another person. Can you imagine that?
Take just a moment out of your day to write to your loved one, or give them a call if you can, to let them know they are not forgotten, and that their is someone out there who is thinking of them. It may not mean a lot to you, but to them it will make their day.
If you are able, send them a little extra cash so they can get something special from the commissary, maybe a pack of chips or a candy bar, or even a sweat shirt. It will help them cope, and alleviate some of he anger or despair they may feel. Yes, your friends may say they are in prison and they deserve to be there, and maybe they do. However, over the years many inmates have more than paid their debt, and are changed people. Just a little kindness can do a lot to help them through the season.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, where ever they may be.
Grand Tetons, Wyoming 2016
This information is re-blogged from Prison Policy Initiative.
I am re-blogging this, because there is an important human element being ignored by those in charge of the penal system. Video visitation takes away the human contact element from inmates and their family and friends. If the penal system continues to separate and alienate inmates, it becomes more difficult for prisoners to relate to people and the outside environment. It also becomes a hardship for friends and family, because it costs money for these video visits. Telephone calls have been prohibitively expensive for years now, and I would not expect this to be any different. If we intend for prisoners to learn how to exist in society, we can not allow the penal system authorities to separate and alienate prisoners from that society.
The for-profit video visitation industry has been quietly sweeping the nation’s state prisons and county jails. Unfortunately, in order to stimulate demand for their low-quality product, jails and video visitation companies often work together to shut down traditional in-person visitation rooms and instead require families to pay up to $1.50 per minute for visits via computer screen. With some notable exceptions, video visitation technology is poorly designed, does not work well, and makes a trying time for families even more challenging.
The Prison Policy Initiative and partners across the country have been fighting this industry at the local level, and now we are taking the call for regulation all the way to the Federal Communications Commission. In January 2015, we released the first comprehensive national survey of the video visitation industry.
Our new report: