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‘Virtual visits’ to socialise isolated prisoners

‘Virtual visits’ to socialise isolated prisoners

Tuesday 16 April 2019

‘Virtual visits’ to socialise isolated prisoners


New tech is being installed at La Moye to allow prisoners to be ‘virtually visited’ by family and friends who can’t physically make it to see their loved one in the hope it will reduce reoffending rates.

The States of Jersey Prison Service (SoJPS) say they have introduced these ‘virtual visits’ to help “prisoners to rehabilitate themselves and provide opportunities… to break their cycle of reoffending".

This comes after the latest stats from the Jersey Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (JMAPPA) showed that 10 convicted violent or sex offenders reoffended last year – four more than in 2017.

The new technology, a provision for inmates to maintain family ties and relationships with those who may not live in Jersey, is now complete and is being trialled in both Jersey and Guernsey’s prisons.

prison_jersey_and_guernsey.jpg

Pictured: If the trials are successful, the service will go live in both Jersey and Guernsey's prisons.

The video call service will be available to all prisoners, but they will only be able to receive calls during the designated visiting hours.

The service reportedly uses encrypted technology “to ensure security and the safeguarding of individuals using it”. If the trials prove positive, the initiative will be officially launched in both prisons this month.

The news comes after Planning approved an £8.3million revamp to La Moye which proposes to update and modernise the facility for prisoners, visitors and staff.

Commenting on the move, Prison Governor Nick Cameron said: “The virtual visits initiative aims to help maintain family ties and relationships which have proved important in helping to reduce reoffending. 

Nick Cameron Prison Governor

Pictured: Prison Governor Nick Cameron hopes the new tech will help socialise isolate prisoners and reduce the chance of them reoffending.

“We are conscious of the fact that a number of prisoners do not have family or friends on the island, meaning they are cut off from face to face contact with those who could be influential in helping them reduce their risk of reoffending." 

The Prison Governor also added that the new service will not cost anything to the public purse, but family and friends wishing to make a video call into the prison will have to pay £10 per ‘virtual visit.’ Mr Cameron remarked: “...Compared to the cost of travelling to the island, accommodation, food, etc, [it] proves a very cost effective option for family and friends.”

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