Hamilton Co Jail is "safer" with video visitation, sheriff says - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Co Jail is "safer" with video visitation, sheriff says

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The Hamilton County Jail is trying to make it easier for inmates to communicate with family members from anywhere in the world, while improving security at the facility.   

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond unveiled new video visitation technology at a news conference Monday. The technology allows inmates to communicate with family and friends outside the jail walls. The county installed 54 stations that are equipped with a web cam.

People who want to participate in video visitation can do it on site or remotely. They’ll be allowed two, 30-minute onside visits per week at no cost through secure monitors with the inmate. They can also choose to use the technology remotely for an unlimited amount of times with a computer, web cam and high-speed Internet access.

"If grandma is in bed and wants to visit her grandson and she can't get down here, if a brother is overseas in the military, if an attorney wants to operate from his office through a protected line," Sheriff Hammond said.

The sheriff’s department says video visitation benefits and their families and friends by bridging the gap, saving money on transportation to the jail, and no more waiting in line at the jail. Sheriff Hammond says they have the ability to monitor and record all conversations.

"They're always aware they're being monitored so if there's any inappropriate behavior, it gets shut off and they're not allowed a visit," Hammond said.

The department says the program will make operations more efficient, easier and better for the safety of the public and the jail. They also say it helps corrections personnel by reducing manpower required to move inmates from the housing area to the visitation area.

"We have issues in terms of bringing the prisoners down, there's safety and security issues," he said.

Onside visits are free, but remote visitation costs $15 for 30 minutes.The jail will not receive any money but all revenues will go to Hamilton County Government.

Anyone who is interested in using this new service must complete a per-registration online here. Visits can start within 24 hours of setting up an account.

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