Being a prisoner in the United States, prior to the last 20, years was often an intensely unpleasant experience. Much of this had to do with the fact that inmates simply were not able to communicate with the outside world, relying on such slow means as letter writing as a primary way in which they could keep track of their loved ones and friends on the outside.
Prior to the year 2000, even pay phone access was severely limited, with outgoing phone calls often exceeding $1.50 per minute. This meant that inmates had great difficulty in staying in touch with their family members and loved ones. But today, technology such as video visitation allow for inmates to stay in nearly constant touch with their loved one, ensuring that strong relationships can be maintained an inmate is incarcerated. This has radically transformed the ways in which people do time, allowing for relationships that would otherwise fizzle out and die to be maintained. Nowhere has this been more beneficial than in the area of children who have incarcerated parents.
One of the main forces behind this change has been Securus Technologies, one of the leading providers of communications services within the United States. Securus has been developing innovative new technologies over the last decades that have radically shifted the way in which inmates are able to communicate with the outside world. This has not only provided the inmates and their family members with a source of great convenience, it has also provably increased the ability of inmates to reintegrate into society upon being released.
Not only has that, the technologies created by Securus been proven to severely reduce the incidence of behavioral infractions within the prison themselves. This is largely hypothesized to be due to the fact that inmates who are able to communicate on a daily basis with the outside world have significant incentive not to lose that privilege. This, in turn, leads to much better behavior.