New figures from the Scottish Government show that between June and the end of November, 17,701 visits were made.
After face-to-face visitation was suspended due to Covid-19, the system was put in place, although family and friends are now able to see prisoners again in person.
Some prisoners have also been given access to phones in their cells along with electronic visits, so they can contact pre-approved loved ones.
The figures also show that 5,284 calls were made to Samaritans by inmates, out of 532,000 calls made since the program started.
“It was an important and difficult decision to suspend in-person trips to help reduce the spread of the virus in vulnerable prisons and to protect health and safety of prison and NHS personnel, as well as those in custody,” said Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.
Through video conferencing technology and mobile phones, prisoners have been given a vital lifeline, but one that has involved a lot of detailed work to overcome a variety of legal issues, logistical and technological obstacles.”
He added: “The successful roll-out of video conferencing and digital technology is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the management and staff of the Scottish Prison.Service(SPS) and part of the broader commitment of this Government to maintaining safe, stable prison regimes where conditions are conducive to successful rehabilitation and support.”
That broader approach to criminal policy has helped drive the reconviction rate of the country down to its lowest level since the beginning of comparable records. And less reoffending, of course, has helped to keep crime down and communities safe.
SPS Chief Executive Teresa Medhurst said visits from loved ones raised prisoner rehabilitation rates, describing the virtual platforms during the pandemic as “critical.”