Virtual visits and electronic mail to inmates became operational on Monday.
Following the successful trial-run of the online-visit pilot project at the Port-of-Spain Prison last Wednesday, the T&T Prison Service informed that a policy was developed and has been adopted regarding virtual visits and electronic mail, in accordance with prison rules and regulations.
This policy provides for the general guidelines to be adhered to, the censoring and monitoring of virtual visits and electronic mail, visit hours and duration, visitor approval, the expectation of visitors, visitor conduct and termination of visits.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic currently being experienced, Commissioner of Prisons (Ag), Dennis Pulchan noted that the initiative is an important “additional measure designed to keep the lines of communication open between inmates and their loved ones during this time and essentially, going forward.”
All visits at all of the nation’s prisons have been suspended, until further notice. This took effect as of Tuesday 31 March.
The virtual visit programme has been implemented at the Golden Grove Prison, Remand Prison, Women’s Prison and the Maximum Security Prison.
Members of the public are advised that the service would be facilitated through the Prisons Welfare Department where inmates can submit a request for the visit through the Welfare Department and a family member would be contacted in order to schedule a visit.
Visits will be accommodated once every two weeks for each offender requesting to do so, for up to ten minutes.
According to the prison service, it has recognised that the facility of visitation “is an important tool utilised to strengthen inmates’ social and familial ties and will promote any and such feasible measures while maintaining safety and security within the nation’s prisons.