An article from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Patrice Fulcher, was recently listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN) Top Ten download list for the topic Security and Safety. The article also reached the Top Ten downloads list for the Criminology eJournal, Political Economy – Development eJournal, and the Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal on SSRN. Professor Fulcher’s paper, “The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex,” discusses how the rise of video visitation in prisons may appear beneficial to maintaining strong family ties when in actuality it robs inmates of face-to-face interactions with their loved ones. For more, read the Abstract below. The full article can be downloaded through the SSRN website.
Each year, the United States (“U.S.”) spends billions to house the country’s massive prison population. The need to board over 2.3 million incarcerated human beings has U.S. correctional departments looking for ways to increase revenues and offset costs. According to these correctional agencies, one major expense is prison visitation. In order to reduce spending and alleviate safety concerns, U.S. federal, state, and private correctional facilities have turned to video visitation as an alternative to in-person visits.
The use of prison video visitation systems started in 1995. Since then, many private telecommunications companies have professed to have the solution to correctional visitation problems. These companies promote video visitation as a cheap, safe, and easy alternative to in-person visits, as well as a profitable means of generating revenues. Government and private correctional institutions, buying into these endorsements, have reduced or completely eliminated face-to-face visits and installed video visitation systems within their walls. Under this structure, inmates use video stations in their cellblock to visit family and friends at corresponding video kiosks within the institution; or inmates visit loved-ones who are at home or elsewhere outside prison walls via computer Internet video visitation.
In order to sell this method of visitation to the public, U.S. correctional agencies contend that video visitation helps to keep families together by allowing inmates greater contact opportunities with loved ones. In some regards, it may be argued that video visitation does assist in the preservation of family units. Inmates are often forced to serve time in prisons miles away from their homes, so outside visits are far and few between. Yet, through the use of in-home video visitation configurations, inmates are able to connect with relatives who reside hours away.
At first glance, this visitation scheme may seem beneficial, but this Article argues that prison video visitation is a double edge sword. First, prison video visitation may help preserve family units while people are incarcerated, but the elimination of face-to-face visits robs inmates of much needed human contact with their children, spouses, and other family members. Second, almost all in-home prison video visitation systems exploit the relatives and friends of inmates because they charge excessive fees to visit. Third, the economic success of prison video visitation systems is contingent on the number of incarcerated humans. So, like other profiteering schemes of the Prison Industrial Complex (“PIC”), prison video visitation incentivizes incarceration: A decrease in the prison population has a corollary effect on million dollar revenues and corporate profits, hence compelling the need to detain more U.S. inhabitants.
Consequently, this Article argues that face-to-face visitation should be the primary means of contact for families that visit at prison facilities. In order to accomplish this goal, inmates must be assigned to correctional facilities close to their homes if space is available and there is no proven risk to security. Additionally, if prison video visitation is utilized, any fees associated with its use must be regulated to insure that the financial expense is not exorbitant.
More information on Professor Fulcher can be found on her faculty profile.
Fueling the debate over priest-penitent privilege, is the recent ruling in the Louisiana Supreme Court which states that a teenage girl’s confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case. A recent article by The Washington Times says, the Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court’s decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Kari Dalton, was consulted and offered her expert opinion on the decision. She says, “I think it’s a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes.” Professor Dalton adds, “When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues.”
Professor Dalton teaches Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II and Pretrial Practice & Procedure at the law school. She is also the author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Tannyka Bent says her many activities keep her grounded in a recent interview with the Daily Report. Bent is an artist, who recently donated one of her paintings to be auctioned at the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts gala. She plays softball, kickball and flag football on local club teams, and is looking for a basketball team. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity many Saturdays and teaches Sunday school on Sundays. Tannyka Bent does all of these things in addition to being a transactional attorney for the State Road and Tollway Authority in Atlanta. Below are some highlights from Tannyka Bent’s interview with the Daily Report. For the full interview, visit their website.
With so many talents and interests, what got you into law?
I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. My mom has a good friend who is an attorney, and I interned with him when I finished Mercy College in New York. That clinched my decision. In law school, I loved transactional drafting and received the CALI award for having the highest grade in that class.
I like the law because there isn’t a black-and-white answer to anything. You can be creative in how you interpret it.
Where do you get inspiration?
It can be a natural scene, a painting I see or a color I like. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down on little pieces of paper. My pockets, purse and wallet are filled with them. I like to let the ideas breathe a bit, and when I start to work the feelings will come.
For the abstract work that I call “Marley,” I used the bright colors that said Jamaica to me and lots of energy in the lines. I was born in the U.S., but my parents came from Jamaica, so it’s part of my heritage.
Is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity a physical outlet as well?
Yes, but it’s more than that. I started working with the Cobb County group two or three years ago. I went through the training to become a crew leader, so I’m often putting down the hammer to explain to five or six others how to put together a wall. Helping to build houses is fun and I’ve learned so much.
Do all these different activities affect your career in any way?
Yes, they keep me grounded. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing, but if all I did day after day was draft contracts, I’d worry about getting burned out. This way, I stay fresh. There’s always something new to do.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Joseph Rosen was recently interviewed by Mark Deal from U.S. Immigration Podcast in a special Fourth of July episode. As America turned 238 years old, Professor Rosen was selected to speak on the history and future of immigration in the country. Rosen also discussed topics such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, security of the U.S./Mexican border, the discrimination surrounding immigration law development, and more.
Professor Rosen is the managing attorney for Joseph H. Rosen, Immigration Law Group. He began practicing Immigration Law in June 2001 after retiring from the U.S. Government where he spent 20 years as a Special Agent for the FBI and U.S. Customs. His law enforcement career includes 10 years of working on or near the U.S. /Mexico border. He teaches immigration law, as an adjunct professor, at the law school and is a Clinical Director for the school’s Immigration Law Clinic located at Catholic Charities Atlanta.
To listen to the full podcast featuring Professor Rosen, visit U.S. Immigration Podcast.