FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2020
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DOC Provides New Televisiting Capabilities for People in Custody
NEW YORK—People in custody and their loved ones are now able to see each other “face to face,” thanks to a new televisit program in the City’s jails. The program, which officially began on Wednesday, April 1, allows prospective visitors to use their own personal PC or mobile device to connect via video conference with individuals in custody. The Department of Correction has added 77 new televisit terminals to all city jails, and they will be available for as long as in-person visits are suspended due to the pandemic. Additional terminals may be installed depending on demand. The televisits schedule follows the standard in-person visits schedule: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1pm - 8pm and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 7am-2pm.
“It is now more important than ever for people in custody to stay connected to their families and loved ones, and this new program provides detainees with technology that many of us are already using,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann. “Being able to see one’s brother, sister, parent, child, or friend and know that they are safe provides a comfort and connection that telephones cannot.”
“The newly implemented televisiting program allows people in custody to safely connect with their family, which is critical during this crisis. While we advocate for additional releases and to ensure adequate care, through this program families concerned about their loved ones will be able to keep in touch,” said City Council Criminal Justice Committee Chair Keith Powers.
In-person visits were suspended on March 18 to safeguard the health and wellness of everyone in the department’s facilities, and DOC worked rapidly to install the new terminals in the existing visit areas of the City’s jails. Anyone who wishes to arrange a televisit with someone in custody may do so by registering online at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doc/inmate-info/video-visit-request-form.page. All that is needed is an electronic device with a camera, internet connection, and an active email account. Once you receive a confirmation email, you can log in and follow the link on the date and time of the scheduled visit.
So far, more than 1,500 televisits have taken place. In addition to the new televisit capabilities brought online for visits with family and loved ones, the department continues to utilize its pre-existing video conference booths for court appearances and attorney visits. DOC has installed new Skype devices in our video conference booths to improve usage and increase access to courts around the city.
About the New York City Department of Correction
The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) provides for the care, custody, and control of persons accused of crimes or convicted and sentenced to one year or less of jail time. The Department manages 10 detainee facilities, 8 of which are located on Rikers Island. In addition, the Department operates two hospital Prison Wards (Bellevue and Elmhurst hospitals) and court holding facilities in each borough. During Fiscal Year 2020, the Department has handled over 21,000 admissions and managed an average daily detainee population of approximately 6,200 individuals. Our dedicated workforce of both uniformed and non-uniformed staff members represents the city’s BOLDEST.