Video visits allow families to connect virtually in real-time during pandemic
As part of its continued effort to improve the video visiting experience, CDCR will provide a user-friendly app to help friends and family schedule video visits with incarcerated people.
The Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) can be accessed on smart phones, tablets and computers, allowing approved visitors to easily schedule their own video visits and receive instant confirmation.
The first four institutions
CDCR will begin making the VSA application available to approved visitors at the following four institutions:
- San Quentin State Prison
- California Institution for Men
- Valley State Prison
- Central California Women’s Facility
Starting on Monday, Jan. 18, through Friday, Jan. 22, prospective visitors with loved ones at those facilities must create an account on the VSA system. A step-by-step guide and video are available on CDCR’s website.
From Saturday, Jan. 23, at midnight through Wednesday, Jan. 27, at midnight, approved visitors at the initial four institutions will be able to start using the app to schedule video visits for the weekend of Jan. 30-31.
Users of the scheduling application will be able to choose from day and time options, knowing immediately if they were successful securing a visiting time. Visits will continue to be held on weekends and holidays. Most facilities will schedule their visits between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., but hours may vary. Each eligible person will be allowed a free 30-minute video visit every 30 days.
Dates on the availability of the scheduling application for additional prisons will be posted on CDCR’s Visiting Information page. The app will be phased in all institutions in the coming weeks.
Video visiting program
CDCR has implemented video visiting in all 35 prisons, as in-person visiting continues to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Laptop and desktop computers are set up in designated visiting areas in the prisons for the incarcerated population to access.
Institutions are following all safety guidelines, including physical distancing and sanitation of each station following a visit. All video visits are secure. The communication is encrypted and CDCR processes ensure that approved visitors are validated and only those approved visitors may join the visit.
Visitors must follow normal visitation rules and have the necessary equipment and internet access to conduct the video visit. For more information on the video visitation technology, see our guide.
As with all visitation at our institutions, visiting may be canceled at any time for numerous public or institution health and safety reasons. Daily updates on each prison’s visiting status can be found on our website. All visitors should check the VPASS Facility Status webpage before any scheduled visit to ensure the institution is still open for visiting.
Communication via phone, including two free phone calls per month, as well as mail and electronic mail at some institutions, has remained available.
The news release is available at: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/news/2021/01/15/cdcr-to-offer-user-friendly-scheduling-app-for-video-visits/
For additional information on CDCR’s COVID-19 response, visit https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/cdcr-cchcs-covid-19-status/.