Video visitation has revolutionized the way inmate visits are conducted. The efficiencies gained through video visitation systems are now helping jails and prisons reduce costs, increase security, and ensure the safety of their staff, inmates, and visitors. At the same time, correctional facilities can provide better service to public and professional visitors, offer better access to programs aiding reentry, reduce recidivism rates, and even generate revenue.
What to look for in a video visitation system depends 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?
- Are you looking to generate revenue through visitation?
- Will the system be compatible with other videoconferencing hardware?
- Will the technologies you choose be safe from obsolescence?
- Will the system be flexible enough to scale and adapt over time?
- Can the system manage on-site, traditional, and internet visits in a single interface?
- Will you have different policies for different visitation types?
- How will public and professional visitors be affected?
- Will visitors have to follow separate procedures for at-home and on-site visits?
Renovo Software has been the leading provider of video visitation solutions for over a decade. More than 115 correctional facilities across North America use Renovo’s patented visitation management platform, VisManager™, to manage over 2.4 million visitations every year.
The Basics of Video Visitation
Inmate visitation doesn’t have to involve escorting inmates to and from their visits, manually checking notes and spreadsheets, or dealing with unpredictable crowds in your lobby. Instead, inmates can visit through video visitation units installed directly in their housing pods – all but eliminating contraband. Schedules, restrictions, weekly quotas, inmate location and station vacancy are all checked automatically; and predetermined visitation times eliminate the chaotic rushes and long lines of a first-come, first-served process.
Video visitation also provides investigators and enforcement officials with new tools to combat crime in the community. Video visits can be monitored and recorded, and if rules are violated, a visit can be stopped with the push of a button. Alerts can be set up to notify staff and investigators of specific visits. Recordings can be used as evidence, and 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. In today’s market, any quality video visitation system should offer flexible options for:
- On-site video visitation
- At-home / internet visits
- Face-to-face visits
- Revenue generation
- Public scheduling & registration
- Professional scheduling & registration
- Officer scheduling & registration
- Recording, monitoring, & interrupt
- Managed hosting (a.k.a. SaaS or Cloud)
- Automated alerts & notifications
- History & data reporting tools
- JMS/OMS integration
- Video hardware automation
Beyond the Feature Checklist
No two correctional facilities 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—even as they change over time. 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
Make sure the video visitation system you choose is versatile 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 in constant flux, and video visitation is no exception. Don’t hinge your entire investment on an unproven technology. Make sure your provider has a proven history of supporting and developing their visitation system 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