: News

Filed Under:

Va. To End Face-to-Face Visits For Death Row Inmates

Play associated audio

By Jonathan Wilson

Starting on September 1st, Virginia will become only the second state in the nation to require all death row visits to be done via video conference.

Some say the changes will punish innocent family members.

The Department of Corrections in Kansas instituted a video-conference-only policy for its death row inmates for security reasons 7 years ago.

Kansas DOC spokesman Bill Miskell says before the change, escorting inmates from segregated units to the area where visitation took place was a big concern.

"[The video-conferencing] does allow staff to focus on other security related issues," says Miskell.

The technology will cost more than a half-million dollars, and in Virginia, like Kansas the policy will apply to all inmates held in segregation units for breaking prison rules.

Kent Willis, with the ACLU of Virginia, calls the policy "mean-spirited" and unnecessary.

"This means a great deal to the families of the individuals. No matter how well you do it, video conferencing is still a face on a screen, a little more like going to the movies," says Willis.

The state banned physical contact during visits for death row inmates three years ago. There are currently 11 inmates awaiting the death penalty in Virginia.

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Swapping The Street For The Orchard, City Dwellers Take Their Pick Of Fruit

Urban foragers don't just pick their meals from the trash; many eat only the finest, freshest produce — picked from city trees. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees to make jam.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.