Summary: S.1614 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1614. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (07/20/2017)

Video Visitation and Inmate Calling in Prisons Act of 2017

This bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to promulgate regulations for video visitation services that allow inmates to make video calls to individuals outside a correctional facility, and amend its regulations on inmate calling services as necessary to ensure that all charges and practices are just and reasonable.

The regulations must include:

  • video visitation cannot replace in-person visits;
  • caps on rates charged by service providers;
  • a prohibition against charging flat rates;
  • a prohibition against a provider requiring a correctional facility to restrict in-person visitation as a condition to providing a calling or video visitation service;
  • a requirement for a provider to submit an annual report about interstate, intrastate, and international inmate calling services;
  • a prohibition against the provider offering bundled services that include non-communications services; and
  • video quality standards.

The federal criminal code is amended to require the Bureau of Prisons to ensure that:

  • video visitation does not supplant in-person visitation;
  • privacy is maximized in the video areas and equipment;
  • no persons other than corrections officers have authority over the terms of a prisoner's imprisonment, including visitation schedules or the ability to move within a correctional facility; and
  • service providers provide a list of each video visitation and each fee charged to visitors and prisoners, offer free visits based on good behavior if authorized by the correctional facility, and submit quarterly compliance reports.