Constitutional Law

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

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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