Several recent studies have found that in-person visits are indeed associated with a decrease in recidivism among prison populations, though there's little in the way of data on those held in jail, where people are generally incarcerated for shorter periods of time.
Last fiscal year, those booked into the Fort Bend jail stayed an average of 14 days, according to Quam.
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Every other week, Neisha Dshawn Minger drives 30 miles from south Houston to Richmond to visit with her boyfriend for half an hour - video only.
She's been doing it for nine months, ever since he was arrested last June for robbery. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards requires that those incarcerated in a Texas county jail be allowed two 20-minute visits a week. The inmate and guest may see each other through a glass divider.
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Daniel Quam, who supervises the jail's visitation program.
When the Fort Bend jail offered in-person visits, the facility was open for visitation three to four hours a day, and each meeting was limited to 20 minutes.
This, Whitmire said, is the good news: "Most of the people in the county jails - most of them are pretty quick turnarounds." But that figure takes into account everyone who quickly bails out.
On any given day, most of the people in the Fort Bend facility have been there longer. Even if his bill doesn't pass this session, Whitmire said chances are he'll take up the issue again.