Sign this petition asking Congress to ensure that correctional facilities do not ban in-person visits.
Why is this important?
This petition is in support of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s Video Visitation in Prisons Act, which would require the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that correctional facilities that have video visitation services do not ban in-person visits.
U.S. jails and prisons are increasingly using video visitation to replace in-person visits. Some carceral facilities have even taken measures to end in-person visits entirely. Securus, for example, a company that provides phone services and video visitation for jails, requires jails and prisons to immediately suspend in-person visits after adopting their contract.
Although video visitation is an important option for people with physical illnesses, disabilities, and limited time and finances, in-person prison visits help incarcerated people to maintain vital relationships with their family members and loved ones on the outside. Face-to-face jail and prison visits are one of the few available opportunities for connection granted to people locked behind bars. We must protect this basic human right.
In 2014, Montgomery Women’s Facility implemented a Web based Visitation System provided by Homewav. We are unsure as to how much Alabama Department Of Corrections takes in kickbacks, but CenturyLINK takes a cut of 40% of the extortionate $36 fee that is charged for a 60 minute “visit”. Homewav also charges a $1 handling fee every time money is added to the account so its effectively $37 for a 60 minute video call.
Whilst the idea of web based visitation is a good one if done ethically, Homewav certainly do not consider the inmates or their families in their business plan, all they care about is profit. For example, they claim that internet based visitation reduces the number of in-person visitation, by 75% and the families of those incarcerated don’t understand how cutting in-person visits from family and friends is in anyway beneficial to them.
The benefits of visiting with family and other supportive individuals are well documented throughout literature, research, and from the voices of the incarcerated men and women and their families. In person visiting can build and strengthen family connections and provide hope and encouragement for those incarcerated, lets not even entertain the thought of removing it in order to provide these predatory companies with even more of your hard earned cash.
Montgomery Women’s Facility (MWF) has more problems than a small camp such as this should have. Last month (February 2016) we had another one bite the dust. Our S.P.R (Pre-Release) Sgt. was escorted off premises for having sex with his charges, those female inmates under the S.P.R program.He wouldn’t report their dirty urines (Urine Tests) in exchange for sex.
This month, March our canteen lady who is employed by the state, picked up a rock and threatened to hit the inmate who was at the window getting her canteen store. Nothing happened of course. She gets to treat us any kind of way, calling us names, cursing us and at times refusing to fill our canteen store because she doesn’t feel like it or is angry at us. Captain said she’ll “investigate” but she is just as crooked as the rest here, who works here.
Captain barters and trades with inmates, even calls some of them her “children”, showing favouritism to some inmates and then others she lets get abused by her officers. Today our visitation building was taken over by our Healthcare, that we call Death care. Their trailer has been condemned over a year and today we inmates who were having art class, we were kicked out and then made to move all the furniture (chairs, tables, a 1000 lb. piano) over to the shift office. The visitation building also held our classes as well as Church. Why can’t D.O.C purchase another building? Where is all the money they claim to have?
An inmates statement about Montgomery Womens Facility, revealing allegations of sexual abuse, inappropriate sexual relationships between officers and inmates, medical neglect and financial inaccuracies on inmate accounts.
Since 2007 Montgomery Women’s Facility has had many sexual allegations against officers having sexual relations with inmates. These officers were transferred to male facilities. Since 2007 officers Brown, Shine, Woods, Taylor, Munderlin and SGT Lewis were transferred because of sexual allegations.
Then in 2015 an inmate came forward to tell about her sexual relationship with officer McMillan that went on for three years. And through this, several other officers were exposed. Three were women who knew of the relationship but didn’t report it. They were officers Rowe, Bogan and Haywood. They were transferred to male facilities. SGT Whatley and Captain Smith were exposed for sexually harassing the same inmate. SGT Whatley and Captain Smith were transferred to male facilities.
Officer McMillan was transferred to a male facility. They, the Alabama Department Of Corrections refused the inmate counselling and she ended up, cutting herself up. How is it these officers kept their jobs and suffered no legal repercussions?
For several months now, the process of being booked in for visitation has gone from bad to worse. We are hearing complaints from friends and family of the women who arrive 10-15 minutes early and are ready at the booking in shack, yet the correctional officers do not even bother coming over to process people in until the official start time of visitation.
As of the weekend December 5th-6th, it was observed that most families and friends were inline by 10-20am on Sunday December 6th, but the officers did not appear with Lt. Mason until at least 10:30am it then took the officers almost 45 minutes to process the people in, that is totally unacceptable given that visitation is only 3 hours long.
One family member told us, “they get us in late and kick us out early”. Some people arrive with very young children and adversely some families arrive with older relatives, the correctional officers should start processing people in earlier so that people get as much time with their loved ones as possible. Visitation is vitally important for maintaining the family bond.
We suggest that people start contacting Warden Ellington with their concerns on (334) 215-0756 or the Commissioners Office, Please add your comments below, and if all else fails then contact us and we will pass on your complaint or concern.