Hopkins County jail is taking inmate visitation to a new level this week with the implementation of video terminals in cells that can be used for visiting with friends or relatives at the jail.
The county recently contracted with the Securus Company of Dallas to install and centrally manage state-of-the-art call management and communications systems for use by the county jail.
The video service will allow visitation with inmates during normal visitation hours at the jail as well as long-distance visitation, according to jail Administrator Kevin Clanton, who said family members or others on an inmate's approved visitor list must set up an account in order to use the service.
For video visitation from a remote site, an account must be established and the user must have a computer with a video camera and high-speed internet.
“They can log in from their office, in their home or any place that has Wi-Fi or anything in their neighborhood instead of driving all the way here,” he said. “There is a fee of $20 for each 20-minute visit that is for the convenience of not having to drive here.”
The jail administrator said the video option will not be immediately available after an account is set up.
“There is a 24-buffer on all scheduled appointments,” Clanton explained. “It gives us time to reject an application if there are too many people in that one cell or it is not somebody on the approved visitors list. It still has to be somebody that has been approved to come up here and see [an inmate] that's on our documentation here.”
The video visitation at the jail will be available on the regular visitation days.
“The on-site visitation will be available from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and you will be allowed to visit at any time that you can get scheduled on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,” the jail administrator said. “If you want to visit from home or office or wherever, it is available from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week so you have more options to visit from home or far away.”
The new program also offers increased security for the jail.
“We have to do less transporting of inmates inside the facility. Most of the inmates will have this video option available in their cell,” Clanton said. “It will free up some time for the officers and jail staff to be able to take care of other needs.”
Video visitation will also provide some revenue to the county from the fees for the use of the system.
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