Video calls for isolated NSW prisoners

By | September 8, 2020

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin says the state’s 12,700 prisoners are getting more face time with their loved ones than they were in pre-pandemic times.

More than 100,000 video calls have been conducted in NSW jails since face-to-face visits were banned in March.

Before the pandemic, there were about 4500 face-to-face visits each week across the state’s 35 prisons.

The number of family video visits each week now exceeded that, Mr Severin said.

“The past six months have been a challenging time and our staff have adapted and embraced innovation to ensure inmates can maintain the important and valuable links with their loved ones,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Staff have connected inmates with parents abroad, reunited them with pets and even permitted one inmate to attend his daughter’s wedding via an audio-visual link.

Many inmates’ family and friends – 85 per cent of 5000 people surveyed – want the “video visits” to continue after restrictions are lifted.

“It was over six years since I saw my brother because of distance and not wanting to take my children to a correctional facility,” one survey respondent said.

“I know his mental health has improved a lot from it, and being able to show him our home made it much more personal.”

Corrections NSW will look in to the possibility of continuing video visits once face-to-face visits are allowed again.

Australian Associated Press

Western Advocate – Health