Secure video calls will be introduced to prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) across England and Wales to maintain vital family contact for prisoners and young offenders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following a successful trial at HMP Berwyn, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is installing the technology at 10 institutions with a wider rollout in the coming weeks.
The measure is part of wider action to preserve family ties after social visits in prisons and YOIs were suspended, to comply with the government’s guidance on controlling the spread of coronavirus and protecting life.
The new technology builds on the 2017 Lord Farmer review which found that close bonds between prisoners and family members can significantly reduce their risk of reoffending.
Safeguards are in place to prevent misuse with all participants vetted in advance and calls monitored by prison staff. The calls will be time-limited and restrictions have been built into the software to ensure safe use.