MASON (WILX)-- Visiting the county jail to talk to family or friends isn't exactly a fun outing, but now police are introducing video conferencing. The Ingham County Sheriff's office thinks this will be better for both inmates and their families.
You can visit an inmate from your home, office, or library. All you need is a computer with good internet connection, and a webcam.
To schedule a visitation Click Here or go to www.Securustech.net/VideoVisitation.
The Ingham County Sheriff's office installed 55 Securus Video Visitation stations throughout the jail, inmates can use the stations for scheduled visitations.
"Whether you are in Alaska, Hawaii, or a service man in Iraq, you can have a remote visit with the your loved ones," explained Maj. Sam Davis, Ingham County Jail Administrator.
The visitations have to be scheduled 24 hours in advance, and will cost $20 dollars for 25 minutes in a remote location. The fee isn't bringing any money to the county. Instead, the money is going to Securus Technologies, the company running the video stations.
Besides giving inmates more flexibility in scheduling a visit, the video visitations give inmates a chance to experience important moments they might miss while behind bars.
"Imagine, a first born is brought home and mom gets to turn on the webcam. Dad gets to see their newborn," said Davis.
Inmates will no longer have to leave their post for visitation. The video stations were installed in the main building, making the jail more secure.
"It saves prisoner movement, staff time, it cuts down on contraband coming into the jail, and moving around the jail," said Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth.
Not only will it make the jail more secure, but it's expected that giving inmates more freedom with their visitations will result in positive mental effects.
"The ability to see your entire family, spend time with them, and to do it more than once a week. That has to be good for you psychologically, it has to be good for you behaviorally," said Davis.
The jail won't get rid of face to face contact, but already video visits are outnumbering in-person visitations. Even those visiting the jail are given the option to use video stations. Inmates are still allowed one free visitation in the jail.