June 13, 2013

Jail goes to video visitation

New program gives inmates more time with families

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The Laurel County Detention Center recently implemented a video visitation program for inmates and their families.

The new visitation program started about eight weeks ago and offers inmates and families two methods of visitation, on-site and off-site visitation.

For on-site visitation, the family member or friend of the inmate goes to the Laurel County Detention Center and sits in front of a kiosk while the inmate stays in their cell and conducts the visit from their cell.

By implementing this change, excess inmate movement is eliminated and inmates are given more time for their visits.

Originally, when face-to-face visits took place, inmates were given only two 15-minute visits a week.  By eliminating moving the inmate from their cell to a visiting area, the inmates are allowed extra time, increasing the visitation to two 30-minute visits a week.

Jamie Mosley, Laurel County Jailer, said the changes have made a huge difference both in safety and in logistics.

“When you combine all necessary movement, inside recreation, medical, things like that, with 400 inmates trying to make visits, it becomes a logistical nightmare.  Video visitation helps to eliminate that problem.”

Mosley said that the change allows inmates the opportunity to have visits from family members who might not normally be able to visit.

“Our off-site visits save families money and allow inmates that wouldn’t get to come (here) the opportunity to visit with family members who live outside of driving distance,” Mosley said.

The off-site visitation program works similar to the on-site, with the exception that families don’t have to travel to London to make their visit.  If a family has the proper video and audio equipment on their computer, they can make visits from the comfort of their own home.

“The video visitation program is great,” Mosley said.  “We have a federal inmate here; his family is in New York. He wouldn’t get visits if we didn’t offer the video visitation.  It’s also great for elderly family members who can’t get out and around.”

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

To schedule a visit, family member only has to register online and schedule a visit.

Additionally, with access to the kiosk in their cells, inmates have the ability to decide whether or not they want to accept a visit.  If someone schedules a visit with an inmate, and the inmate doesn’t want to see him or her, they have the ability to deny the visit and not be charged.

Kiosks also give inmates the ability to manage their money, file grievances and do other administrative tasks.

“The kiosks eliminate a lot of paperwork,” Mosley said.  “We have a 100 percent accountability rate with grievances now.”

The changes to the visitation program at the Laurel County Detention Center are welcomed by the staff, eliminating excess movement and giving inmates more time to visit benefits the inmates, staff and families and makes the facility more safe and secure for everyone there, Mosley said.