Innovative solution to provide face-to-face visitation via Skype for youth and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic
SACRAMENTO—Video visitation is now available for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) youth and their approved visitors, at all four DJJ facilities in California.
On March 27, a trial program was successfully launched at the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Amador County. The remaining DJJ facilities in Stockton and Ventura are implementing the new system using Skype for Business, effective April 11.
“The launch of this valuable service is a testament to the drive and passion of DJJ and CDCR staff to help youth within our care during the COVID-19 emergency,” said DJJ acting Director Heather Bowlds. “Continued growth through family support and visitation is essential to the rehabilitative process.”
In-person visitation for DJJ youth was suspended on March 14 as a precautionary measure to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading inside DJJ facilities. To ensure youth are still able to connect with their family and support system, youth phone calls were increased, letter writing was encouraged via distribution of free postage stamps, and CDCR and DJJ staff moved quickly to implement video visitation.
Video visiting appointments are requested by approved visitors via a dedicated email address and scheduled in 30-minute blocks during regular weekend visitation hours. The visitation takes place on laptop computers placed on tables in standard visiting areas to give youth privacy and assure social distancing is taking place. Appointment requests are screened by staff to make sure that only approved visitors are utilizing the service.
In the wake of the COVID-19 emergency, DJJ has leveraged its authority to use video technology for a variety of other purposes including proceedings of the Board of Juvenile Hearings, and is implementing video conferencing for county discharge hearings as eligible youth transition to their communities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mike Sicilia
April 7, 2020 (916) 683-3280