Greater than 17,000 “important lifeline” digital jail visits have been held since conferencing know-how was made out there in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
New figures from the Scottish Authorities present that 17,701 visits have been made between June and the tip of November.
The system was put in place after face-to-face visitation was suspended on account of Covid-19, though household and associates at the moment are in a position to see prisoners in particular person once more.
Together with digital visits, some prisoners have additionally been given entry to telephones of their cells to allow them to contact pre-approved family members.
The figures additionally present 5,284 calls have been made by prisoners to Samaritans, out of 532,000 calls made for the reason that programme began.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf stated: “The choice to droop in-person visiting was a tough however vital one to assist scale back the unfold of the virus within the susceptible setting of prisons and to guard the well being and security of jail and NHS workers, in addition to these in custody.
“Video conferencing know-how and cell phones have supplied an important lifeline for inmates, however one which concerned loads of detailed work to beat quite a lot of authorized, logistical and technological boundaries.”
He added: “The profitable rollout of video conferencing and cellular applied sciences is testomony to the arduous work and dedication of the Scottish Jail Service (SPS) administration and workers and a part of this Authorities’s wider dedication to sustaining protected, steady jail regimes – the place situations are conducive to and supportive of profitable rehabilitation.
“That broader strategy to penal coverage has helped drive down the nation’s reconviction price to its lowest degree since comparable information started. And naturally, much less reoffending has contributed to conserving crime down and communities protected.”
SPS chief government Teresa Medhurst stated visits from family members improve rehabilitation charges in prisoners, describing the digital platforms as “essential” through the pandemic.
“The SPS continues to overview in-person visits within the gentle of public well being recommendation,” she added.
“Over the festive interval and into the brand new yr, the worth of digital visits and telephones is prone to be of even better worth to all residing in Scotland’s prisons than at some other time throughout this well being disaster.”