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Michigan Department of Corrections Launches Video Visitation Pilot

Contact: Chris Gautz, 517-256-3790


Michigan Department of Corrections Launches Video Visitation Pilot

Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Corrections has launched a new video visitation pilot to offer an avenue for those incarcerated and their families to safely connect during the pandemic.

Video visitation successfully began Monday afternoon at Parnall Correctional Facility and online scheduling began today at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, with video visitation expected to start there at the end of the week. The pilot will be rolled out to five other facilities in the next month. Those facilities include Chippewa, Ionia, Richard A. Handlon and Women’s Huron Valley correctional facilities, Duane Waters Health Center and C-Unit of Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center.

“Contact with friends and family is so important to the prison population, that’s why we worked hard to explore new technologies that could allow them to connect with their loved ones during this time,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington. “This is one step we are taking to safely restore contact between prisoners and their families, while protecting the health and well-being of everyone at our facilities. Video visitation will not replace contact visiting in the future, but it is a safe option we can proceed with during the pandemic.”

Concurrent with video visitation, the MDOC has also been working to implement online scheduling software.

Visits are structured to last 20 minutes each and each visit will cost $3.20 and must be paid for in advance by the person scheduling the visit. Video Visits may be scheduled 72 to 48 hours in advance of the scheduled visit. At this time, friends and family will have the opportunity to schedule a visit at Parnall and G. Robert Cotton correctional facilities and they will soon have the opportunity at the other pilot sites once scheduling software has been installed there. Those incarcerated at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility will submit requests and schedule visits through a separate vendor.

Once this pilot is complete, the department plans to offer video visitation and online scheduling at all correctional facilities statewide. Online scheduling will also be available for in-person visiting once it has been determined those visits can safely begin again. At this time, a date has not been set for when in-person visiting will resume, and the department continues to monitor the status of the virus around the state to determine when it might be safe to do so.

To protect the health of staff, prisoners, and the public, the MDOC suspended visitation at correctional facilities statewide on March 13. Following that suspension, Director Washington convened a visiting operations committee to explore options for safely re-instituting prisoner visits, which resulted in the recommendation for this video visitation pilot.

Approved visitors can navigate to to set up their visits and find more information about compatible devices and technology.

More information, directions on scheduling video visits, compatible technology, and future updates on video visiting, including visiting at Women’s Huron Valley, will be published here and on the MDOC’s Web site.