South Carolina’s prisons agency will begin allowing inmates at some facilities to conduct video visits with family members.
The Charleston Post and Courier’s Cynthia Roldan reports the pilot program at the Broad River Correctional Institution and the Graham Correctional Institution in Columbia will allow inmates to talk to family members via video link with the Coastal Pre-Release Center in Charleston. No timeline is set to launch the program at this point.
Corrections Department Director Bryan Stirling says video visitation will make it easier for family members to see relatives in prison, since those families would otherwise have to travel to Columbia for visits. Several county jails in South Carolina, such as Horry and Lexington counties, are already using video-only visits. But Stirling said families will still be able to visit the state prisons in person, if they wish.
The Corrections Department said it will work with the University of South Carolina to see if inmates with a support system such as video conferences fare better once they are released.
Four kiosks have been installed in the three prisons involved with the program. Visitors will be allowed five free 45-minute chats. After that, the chats will cost visitors $10 each, and visitations must be scheduled online.