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Constitutional Law

Wash. DC Jail Eliminates In-Person Visits with Inmates, Offers Electronic Alternative

Posted Jul 27, 2012 1:24 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As of this week, family and friends can no longer visit inmates at the Washington, D.C., jail in person.

Instead, they are allowed one free 45-minute electronic contact per week, which must be scheduled in advance, as the District of Columbia Department of Corrections explains on a web page.

The new policy clearly offers security advantages, not only for the facility but for video visitors, who will no longer be subject to pat-down searches, as a Washington Post editorial opposing the new video-only visitation regime acknowledges.

It is also expected to allow a greater number of visits overall and a wider range of visiting hours.

But the elimination of in-person visits is an additional burden on inmates and doesn't strengthen family ties the way in-person visits do, the newspaper argues. "Ultimately, the option of in-person visitation should be restored, at least as an alternative to video visits as it is in states like Virginia."

Hat tip: District of DeBonis (Washington Post)

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