I couldn’t imagine the experience that some families go through during the holiday season. There are so many broken families out there, and kids trying to enjoy the holidays despite family hardships. I think one of the most heartbreaking situations is when a child has a parent in prison during Christmas. All that child wants to do is see their loving parent, enjoy the warmth of the living room together and open some gifts. But these children can’t do that because one of their parents made a bad decision. Something in me says that kids shouldn’t have to suffer this way.
It’s crazy. The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that 2.7 million children are living without a parent because of incarceration. That number is simply jaw dropping. It turns out that the United States locks up a higher percentage of its population than any other nation on Earth. Isn’t that crazy. We lock up more people than countries like Iran, Angola, China and Iraq! Do a little Google search, and you’ll find that these countries even ask the UN to investigate us on human rights abuses because of our criminal justice system.
Then I see this video. There’s this viral video that shows a split screen. On the right, there is an inmate. On the left, his son. They are speaking over a video chat. It’s called video visitation from a telecommunications company that goes by the name of Securus. But it is so much more than video chat. This innovation allows the family of the inmate to schedule these virtual visits online through an easy-to-use account. The video chats only cost about $3 each, and they save the family from traveling to the prison on Christmas day.
Just think about this technology from the child’s perspective. They don’t have to spend time putting on those bulky winter clothes. They don’t have to pile into the car in order to sit there for hours. They don’t have to endure the frustration of their parents who have to pay for parking at the jail. But most importantly, they don’t have to go through a security check, wait inside of a prison and see their parent in prison clothes.
Instead, the child gets to bring their parent right into the home with them on any electronic device. They can stay in their pajamas, open gifts and virtually visit with their parent. Securus is doing good work.