Protesters are pictured at Gov. Rick Scott’s office dressed to represent offenders who will be negatively impacted by the proposed cutbacks in visitation, in spite of the well known factual benefits of getting a visit. They submitted a petition, authored by Jewie Tryon and addressed to Gov. Scott requesting his swift intervention in stopping the Florida Dept. of Corr. from changing weekly visitation to bi-monthly visitation along with the summary that boasts over 7600 signatures. When protesters discussed FDC’s callous plan with inquisitive Lawmakers at the Capitol, Legislators and Lobbyists were astounded that such a policy would even be considered.
Is it just coincidence that cutting back visitation and introducing video visitation are scheduled to commence almost simultaneously! Is it mere coincidence that Tom Gores, billionaire, and owner of JPay, Securus Technologies and the Detroit Pistons will profit hugely by gouging families who can least afford it via over-priced tablets, text messages that require the cost of a stamp in addition to the texting fee(?) and 15 minute video visits at $3 a pop!
You can be assured that those who stand united in vehement opposition of this unacceptable policy proposal will not be silenced!
Video visitation has its place as a supplement to regular visitation. It should not serve as a replacement for in-person visits. Historically, once video visitation is introduced into a prison, it becomes the only form of visitation. The warmth of the human touch and privacy of personal conversations will come to an abrupt halt leaving offenders depressed and broken. And once the human factor is removed, instinctual behaviors emerge, agitation sets in, violent encounters and staff abuses increase. Problem is Florida cannot afford or control the mess that mass incarceration has imposed. So why are we not exploring ways to eliminate this shameful dilemma without inflicting more hurt and pain on families who have suffered enough!
Protesters in front of the Florida Dept. of Corr. were prohibited by officers from climbing the stairs beyond the yellow police tape or having entry to use the restroom. Ricky Dixon, Deputy Secretary, warned protesters that anyone attempting to do so would be charged with trespassing even though the building at 501 S. Calhoun St. is paid for by taxpayers – as well as Ricky Dixon’s and Julie Jones’ salaries. FDC had no spokesperson take a moment to step out and address those that traveled statewide seeking answers for an issue close to their hearts. Instead, FSU students were ordered to leave the Protest with the same harshness responsible for the establishment of this cruel visitation policy.
FDC will hold a public hearing in the next few weeks that will allow opportunity for any Floridian to speak for/against the implementation of alternate weekend and video visitation. Anyone who has an incarcerated loved one, friend or acquaintance, please make it your priority to attend – carpool, vans, buses. We must show up in record numbers. There is power in 100,000 incarcerated families. The date will be posted on this site once it has been set. For further info call: 904-743-1867.
Now take a moment to give your loved ones a warm and tender humongous hug!