U.S. prisons have been reducing or replacing free in-person visitation in favor of costly remote visitation for years. Recently, a prison contractor that charges inmates sky-high phone fees proposed virtual reality visitation.
Global Tel Link (GTL), the massive prison-contracting giant that supplies tech ranging from telecommunications systems to payment services for correctional facilities across the U.S., may have found another way to squeeze more change out of incarcerated persons making contact with the outside world.
Global Tel Link (GTL) recently filed a patent that describes a “system and method for personalized virtual reality experience in a controlled environment.” In effect, what this describes is a VR system by which incarcerated persons could interact with others outside the prison—VR visitation using digital avatars, basically.
In-person prison visitations have a multitude of mental health benefits for inmates. Depriving inmates of basic human contact with relatives could have severe mental health detriments.