Virtual Visits Connect Families with Whanganui Prison
News ReleaseMarch 2013
Virtual Visits Connect Taranaki Families with Whanganui Prison
Taranaki residents with friends and family members in Whanganui Prison now have another way of staying in touch: video conferencing.
Karen Petrie, Regional Manager Lower North, Corrections Services said video conferencing offered a virtual visit between the visitor and the prisoner.
“From New Plymouth Community Probation Service Centre, an approved visitor is able to see and talk to their loved one in Whanganui Prison via a television screen.
“The forthcoming closure of New Plymouth Prison has meant the small number of prisoners left were transferred to Whanganui Prison, so if their friends and family in Taranaki are unable to travel for a face-to-face visit, they can arrange a virtual visit from New Plymouth Community Probation Service Centre,” she said.
Virtual visits are available to all prisoners in Whanganui Prison using video conferencing technology from the New Plymouth Community Probation Service Centre. Up to three approved visitors can take part in a virtual visit at one time.
Virtual visits are 30 minutes long and are available on Monday afternoons and Friday mornings. The first virtual visit took place on Monday 4 March and was well-received by the prisoner and his family.
Ms Petrie said Corrections was making the most of available technology to allow prisoners to stay in contact with friends and family.
"Maintaining connections with friends and family is important for prisoners as it helps them to build positive relationships and plays an important part in reducing re-offending.
“Virtual visits are a great initiative, and it may be used at other prisons and probation service centres in the future,” she said.
How virtual visits work:
• Virtual visits use video conferencing technology so visitor and prisoner see and hear each other via television screens.
• Booking a virtual visit is similar to booking a prison visit. Visitors must be approved by the prison.
• Visits should be booked at least four days in advance.
• The same rules and conditions apply for virtual visits when visiting the prison in person as per the Corrections website.