December 3, 2013

Jail visitation could be model for state

In-cell kiosks allow for video visits, email and other requests

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer


Those incarcerated at the Laurel County Detention Center this holiday season will have the opportunity to visit with their family, but not face-to-face.

Current visitation regulations prevent face-to-face visits at the detention center, which Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley says reduces inmate movement and keeps the facility safer for everyone.

The video visitation program was implemented nearly eight months ago and Mosley says, so far, it has been well received.

“Some people would like a face-to-face visit, especially for the holidays, but a lot of them want the face-to-face for the very reasons we’ve eliminated that type of visitation,” Mosley said.

According to Mosley, since video visitation has been implemented it has drastically cut down on problems associated with excessive inmate movement, such as fights and other “logistical nightmares.”

In each cell in the facility, a kiosk is available where inmates can have their visits through a program similar to Skype.

“These types of visits save families money and allow inmates who wouldn’t get visits the opportunity to visit with family members who live outside of driving distance,” Mosley said in a previous interview.

Mosley also said the kiosks have the ability to send messages similar to email.  These messages are cheaper than phone calls and get where they are intended to go faster than traditional mail.

The video visitation gives inmates the opportunity to visit with friends and family who live outside of driving distance for a cost of $15 per 30-minute visit. 

The kiosk also gives inmates the ability to manage their money, file grievances and perform other administrative tasks.

Mosley said, since the implementation of video visitation, the State Department of Corrections has reviewed the program several times and has expressed interest in doing something similar in state prisons.

“It gives us more accountability. Every request an inmate makes — a sick call request, or any other request for that matter — it is saved. We have records for everything they request, all while eliminating about 75 percent of our paper usage,” Mosley said. “Pretty soon, we’re going to be seeing this type of program in most county jails.”