More and more counties will build or retrofit their jails to prevent inmates and their families from being together in the same space.I'd prefer they take out the grandfathering. There haven't been that many new jails built in the last few years, these are mostly facilities which retrofitted their jails to eliminate in-person visitation. Apparently this was needed to secure votes, but that doesn't mean it's a great idea - a bit like closing the barn door after 13 horses have escaped.
Why? The main reason is cost. It’s cheaper to require video visits. It cleans up the complication of having non-inmates in and out of the jail.
But there are many things that could lower the cost of incarceration that we don’t do because they are simply wrong. This should be one of them.
As it is, inmates aren’t able to have physical contact with visitors. They must meet on either side of a thick glass window. But the difference between being able to see the real person, to be in the presence of a wife or child, is only describable if you have been denied it.
And remember, this is jail — not prison. These are primarily people behind bars waiting for trial and presumed innocent.
In large counties, more than a month can pass before a trial happens. That’s a long time not to see a loved one in person.
If the Senate fails to pass a bill protecting in-person visitation, it’s possible, even likely, that counties will rush to retrofit their jails to prohibit the practice.
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