- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has passed and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott a bill that requires county jail inmates be allowed a minimum of two in-person non-contact visitation periods per week.

Many counties are starting to eliminate in-person visits and building new jails with no space for them. Instead, they use video visitations for inmates and families, and some charge for them.

The bill approved Monday exempts 21 Texas counties that have built new jails or are already planning buildings that don’t include visitation space.

Advocates say it’s important to allow inmates to be able to visit family in person while incarcerated. And they complain that one company that supplies video equipment requires counties to eliminate in-person contact as part of the contract.

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