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The Video Visits Program enables prisoners to see their family members via video conferencing. A direct video link to the prison (from an external site) enables the family member to see and talk to the prisoner on a television screen.
The external site may be at the local Community Corrections site if appropriate or a community agency site organised by the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO).(External link) This site may be in Victoria or interstate (depending on the location of the family). Generally, the visit will last 30 minutes (depending on availability).
Visits can be terminated in accordance with the general conditions that govern normal prison visiting procedures (families will need to sign a form agreeing to this).
A VACRO family services worker may be available to offer support and debriefing with the family by telephone following the video visit.
Arranging a video visit
Each prison has its own processes, however the following steps apply in most cases:
- Families need to contact VACRO to organise a video visit with the prisoner. VACRO will then contact the prison to find out whether the prisoner wishes to participate in the program and is eligible to participate.
- The prisoner makes an application at their prison location. A referral with contact details for the family member will be passed on to VACRO who will then advise the family of the request and check for family consent.
- VACRO will liaise with the prison, the family and the community video visit site to arrange a time for the visit.
Video visit facilities are not available in some locations in Victoria. VACRO will attempt to find the closest possible location.