PA DOC, please fix the video visitation problems.

PA DOC, please fix the video visitation problems.

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Chandra Palmer
Chandra Palmer signed this petition

While many of the prisoners of Pennsylvania and their family members are delighted with the measures that were put in place quickly to insure visits during this unprecedented crisis of a pandemic, we are asking that reasonable modifications and accommodations be put in place:

  1. Better management of the schedule. Some family members have been unable to schedule visits a month into this new system. We would like courtesy email replies with alternative date and time availability and / or an online calendar to see availability exists. This will gray out the time selected while awaiting an email response for approval.
  2. Though visiting days have been extended to 7 days a week, we are requesting visiting times be extended, for example 8 - 10 hours a day or twice a day
  3. which will allow for those who are still able to work in society to still see their loved one.
  4. Prisoners be notified of their upcoming visit and on day of visit they are collected in a timely manner to have this visit. At one facility in particular, men are not notified and if they are unaware of a visit or late (for any reason whether it be from lack of communication, staff being too busy to take them to the visiting room or unpreparedness) the visit is terminated. We want the visits to continue even if only 20 minutes remain on the clock. We need to know our loved ones are safe.
  5. If visits take place during the only hour they are freed out of 24 hours a day, we want these men and women to still have the ability of a shower and kiosk connection. This is currently taken from them. The solution to this is all prisoners be allowed out of their cells 2 times a day for 1 hour for showers, phone calls and kiosk connection and visits.
  6. While we expect contact visits to resume after the pandemic, we request Zoom visits remain in place. There are family members from out of state and even other countries, and also the disabled and elderly that can’t realistically travel to a contact visit but who enjoy this opportunity of closer communication. Zoom has shown to be a positive light in the darkness that has befallen our world. We would request that additional terminals be put in place. This should not, under any circumstance, take place of contact visits.
  7. Just as we can have one contact visit with up to 5 visitors from different addresses, we request this courtesy during Zoom visits. For example, a person in Arizona on the approved list, a person in Pennsylvania on the approved list and a person on England on the approved list all zoom in to our loved one at the same time to keep the familial bond and less people attempting to schedule individual visits.
  8. Allow phone calls and pictures sent on tablets. These can still be monitored as phone calls, letters and emails are today.

While we appreciate what Mr.John Wetzel has put in place, we are not asking for too much more, but we are respectfully asking for improvement of already existing technology and an easier approach for staff, family and prisoners.