My colleagues and I recently published an article describing an intervention that we started in 2020, called the Enhanced Visits Model (EVM). The intervention provides support to families, including ensuring that they have technology to connect remotely with incarcerated parents, free or low cost video visits, and visit coaching for parents and caregivers to support relationships with children. The support is intended to decrease barriers to traditional visits but not replace in-person visiting.
The EVM was first established in a local jail, rather than a prison, because jails typically have less optimal visiting options for children and lack family programs compared to prisons. In this paper, we discuss the development of the EVM and provide initial results of a feasibility and acceptability study.
Although some challenges exist regarding engagement of children’s caregivers in the intervention, as well as quality of sound and visual images, families and professionals provided positive feedback about the intervention.
During video visits, children interacted with their incarcerated parents in creative ways, such as showing toys, playing games, singing, reading, and doing homework together. The virtual visits also allowed incarcerated parents to be virtually present at key times in their children’s lives, including mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, and daily routines.
To read more about fostering best practices for children’s video visits with their incarcerated parents, see this recent white paper.
This is the citation to the article that is summarized above: Charles, P., Poehlmann, J., Kerr, M., Jensen, S., & Pritzl, K. (2023). Supported remote video visits for children with incarcerated parents in the United States. Current Issues in Criminal Justice. https://doi.org/10.1080/10345329.2023.2209302