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DoJ Seeks Development of Prison ‘Tele-Visiting’ Guide

Applicants are to have strong familiarity with tele-visiting technology

The U.S. Department of Justice is soliciting applications from organizations or individuals to develop guidelines for correctional facilities to operate tele-visiting programs.

On July 3, 2012, the DoJ posted a Federal Register notice—Solicitation for a Cooperative Agreement: Development of a Guide for Correctional Agencies To Establish Tele-Visiting Capacity in Correctional Facilities—which encourages organizations, groups or individuals to file applications to enter into an agreement for 18-months “to develop a guide to establishing tele-visiting capacity in correctional facilities.”

Tele-visiting enables incarcerated men and women who are inmates at prisons far from their families an opportunity to maintain contact with their families, the DoJ says. Inmates who lack “appropriate contact with family and other community supports affects how an offender serves his or her time and challenges the reentry process,” the notice says. “Research shows there is a positive relationship among supportive family, community contacts and behavioral health issues that support successful reentry.”

Therefore, the cooperative agreement awardee will be tasked with designing and developing a guide to assist correctional agencies in the establishment of tele-visiting programs to enhance family and supportive community connections, the notice says.

The concept of tele-visiting has been employed in correctional agencies in various ways, and with the transfer of offenders to locations often far from their communities and families, there continues to be a strong interest in the field for establishing such programs, the notice says. “It is anticipated that in developing the guide, the applicant will have strong familiarity with the concept of tele-visiting, technology and potential uses of tele-visiting,” the notice says.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 3, 2012