Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prisons Want to Use Tech to End In-Person Visits — These Librarians Have a Different Plan

Across the country, jails are replacing in-person visits with a glitchy, expensive system called "video visitation" — think of it like Skyping in to see your incarcerated loved one, if Skype was low-resolution, difficult to install and cost as much as $1.50 a minute.

But the librarians of Brooklyn are racing to roll out a more humane solution.
The Brooklyn Public Library is planning to build its own video visitations in 12 of its locations in neighborhoods with high rates of incarceration. Unlike visitation centers at country jails, the libraries will build visitation centers that are comfortable, humane and don't charge families exorbitant fees for connecting with loved ones.

"It's an intentionally human experience," Nick Higgins, Director of Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library, said in a phone call. "Anything that we do in jails or marginalized communities, we want to create a sense of belonging and inclusion. How life should be."

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