"The Dept. of Corrections completely agrees with the absolutely high importance of in-person visits."
Shaer says the traditional option is still necessary in reforming inmates. John Maki is with the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog. He says giving families another way to connect with inmates is a good thing. But he says they worry about the potential for high fees:
"Most of the ones who have someone in jail are exceedingly poor and that's not something I think that Illinois should be doing."
The corrections department defends the planned fee, saying they need a way to pay for the service without turning to taxpayers. They also say it's less than what other programs have charged, and that families will still save a lot of money.