Video visitation has revolutionized the way jails and prisons conduct inmate visitation. The efficiencies gained through video visitation systems are helping correctional facilities reduce costs, increase security, and ensure the safety of staff, inmates, and visitors. At the same time, facilities can provide better service to public and professional visitors, offer better access to programs aiding reentry, reduce recidivism rates, and even generate revenue.
Renovo Software has been the leading provider of video visitation solutions for nearly ten years. Over 100 correctional facilities across North America have chosen Renovo’s patented advanced visitation management platform, VisManager, to streamline their visitation environment.
The Basics of Video Visitation
Inmate visitation no longer needs to require escorting inmates to and from their visits, manually checking notes and spreadsheets, or dealing with unpredictable crowds of visitors. Instead, inmates can visit through video visitation units installed directly in each housing pod; contraband is all but eliminated; schedules, restrictions, quotas, inmate location, and station availability are checked automatically; and advanced scheduling means visitors know exactly when to show up.
In addition, video visitation is providing investigators and enforcement officials with new tools to combat crime in the community. Video visitations are monitored and recorded. If visitation rules are violated, visits can be stopped with the push of a button. Recordings can be used as evidence. Alerts can be set up to notify staff and investigators of upcoming visits. Visitors can even be flagged for outstanding warrants.
Video Visitation has Evolved
Although they are important benefits of a video visitation system, visitation technologies have evolved into far more than a simple means to eliminate contraband and record visits. Video visitation has become an all-encompassing term for visitation technologies. Today’s video visitation systems may (or sometimes do not) incorporate a wide range of features. A typical system may include:
- On-site video visitation
- Remote internet visitation
- Face-to-face visitation management
- Revenue generation
- Web-based scheduling and registration
- Recording, monitoring, & interrupt
- Managed hosting
- Visitor support
- ID card reader capability
- Visitor image capture
- Public message posts
- Automated alerts & notifications
- History & analysis reporting
- JMS/OMS integration
- Visitor warrant check
- Video hardware automation
- Standards-based H.323 compatibility
What to look for in a video visitation system will depend on your facility. Renovo Software works with each facility to determine which features and functionality are necessary, how they will be configured, and how we can meet your budgetary needs. Before choosing a system, ask:
- What are your facility’s goals?
- What methods of visitation do you want to provide?
- Will face-to-face visits continue?
- What about remote internet visits?
- How will different methods be managed?
- Will you have different policies for different visitation types?
- Are you looking to generate revenue through visitation?
- How will you treat professional visitation?
Beyond the Feature Checklist
No two jails or prisons are the same. Legislation, policies, location, demographics, security level, and ADP are among the many factors that affect how your facility chooses to handle inmate visitation. A visitation system’s true value is determined by its ability to adjust to your facility’s unique needs. Video visitation vendors may offer nearly identical lists of features, but how flexible those features are is what sets some systems apart from others. In short, a visitation system’s features are only as useful as they are configurable.
- How customizable is each feature to your specific needs?
- Can you change policies, quotas, restrictions, and other configurations on the fly?
- Can administrative updates be made quickly and easily through the browser?
- Who has access to make configuration changes, and how is that managed?
- How have real-life customer requests been incorporated into the system?
- How many visitation customers does the vendor have?
- Get references. Check with their other customers.
Protecting Your Investment
Your facility’s needs will change over time. Make sure the video visitation system you choose is scalable enough to adapt without the need for costly, time-intensive custom development. The more flexible a video visitation system is, the more likely it will be to meet your needs now and in the future.
Technology is always changing, and video visitation is no exception. Don’t hinge your entire investment on a single, unproven technology. Make sure your video visitation provider can support and develop their product even as new technologies are born and old technologies are laid to waste.
- What is the company’s history with visitation?
- How much experience do they have with video technologies?
- Do they have the dedicated staff necessary to continuously support and develop the product?
- Will they be able to keep up with developing and testing new features?
- Is the technology and methodology proven?
- How will it include or affect existing procedures?
- What is their largest (or smallest) install?
Want to learn more?
Sign up for a free demo or check out some of the links below to find out more about Renovo Software’s video visitation system.
- What to look for in a video visitation system
- VisManager features and functionality
- Request a cost savings estimate
- Renovo’s visitation partners