CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) – Mississippi County jail officials installed some new equipment in the jail to help with the safety of inmates and to help connect them with family easier.
They installed them roughly a year ago and said it’s working better for everyone.
They upgraded several features including cameras, visitation services and their control center.
One of their upgrades is visitation for the inmates called HomeWAV. HomeWAV provides video visitation, educational software and form processing, traditional voice calls and text messages.
This service is initiated by inmates with wall mounted kiosks that are accessible for the inmates in their jail pods.
Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office Captain Barry Morgan said the reason they decided to go with this new kiosk HomeWAV system is to digitize grievances, medical requests, ordering commissary for the inmates and more.
Morgan also stated this has helped reduce inmate stress in being able to see their family more frequent with video visitations at any time during the day.
Inmate visitation is a notoriously difficult burden on detention facility staff resources. There’s scheduling and security screenings, visit monitoring, inmate transport, and more — with costs and risks at every turn. Video visitation technology has emerged to help reduce the labor costs associated with visitation, but some early adopters haven’t seen the savings they expected.
The reason? There’s something most video visitation companies don’t want you to know.
Security and safety are among the top concerns for the detention and corrections industry. Many facilities are turning to technology to help protect inmates, staff, and outsiders from accident, injury, violence, and other dangers. One of the most talked-about technologies in recent years is remote video visitation such as the HomeWAV system.
Here are the three main ways Remote Video Visitation technology keeps your facility safer.
Less Foot Traffic In and Out of the Facility
With video visitation in place, there is no need for friends, family, lawyers, therapists, and other visitors to go to the facility to conduct their visits. Fewer outsiders entering and exiting the facility means fewer disruptions of the controlled, regimented routines that are essential to security and rehabilitation. It also reduces the burden of staffing and resources needed to screen, escort, and monitor visitors while they’re there.
Less Movement & Physical Interaction
Traditional visitation procedures typically require moving inmates from their areas to, from, and around a designated visitation area. In many cases this includes transporting offenders between buildings and facility locations. All this movement and physical interaction creates increased risk of accidents and injuries as well as violence and other behavioral incidents. With video visitation, the visiting station can be installed in or near the secure pod, effectively eliminating these risks.
Lower Risk of Contraband
From drugs and weapons to cell phones and other luxuries, contraband is a big problem in many facilities. While visitation is just one of many possible entry points for banned items, it is a significant one. Processes and technology for screening and monitoring visitors has come a long way in preventing contraband smuggling, but the high price tag and staffing requirements put more strain on already-limited resources. Remote video visitation can eliminate those needs entirely at no cost to the facility.
How Safe & Secure Is HomeWAV?
With protection being a top concern, it is important to evaluate the features and capabilities of any technologies being used to improve security and safety in the facility. Video visitation doesn’t just reduce risk – it provides new controls and security features of its own. The HomeWAV system specifically includes powerful administrative features that help facilities keep tight control over who uses the system and how:
Inmate Access Control
Just like with traditional visitation, HomeWAV video visitation privileges can be granted, restricted, suspended, and revoked on an inmate-by-inmate basis.
User Registration & Approvals
Before visitors can use HomeWAV, they must register an account and submit information such as legal name and address, SSN, and photo ID. This allows facilities to conduct approval checks, screen visitors, and control who is using the system and interacting with inmates. The approval process and information collected from visitors can be defined by the facility, allowing HomeWAV to accommodate multiple facility types and security levels.
Monitoring & Recording
All HomeWAV visits can be monitored live, recorded, and retained for review at a later date. This includes both audio and video. Recordings can be easily retrieved and downloaded for administrative and investigative needs. The HomeWAV system operates on a 100% hosted “cloud” based system with dual secure servers and off-site storage, so the opportunity for failure of the system in a facility is greatly reduced.
Take Control of Facility Security
The best way to find out if video visitation and HomeWAV are a good fit for your facility is to schedule a demonstration. We’ll show you how everything works, answer your questions, and discuss the best ways to implement video visitation technology in your specific facility.
HomeWAV has launched a new no-cost solution for detention and corrections facilities that want to experience all the benefits of remote video visitation without the up-front equipment investment. Pending a HomeWAV site survey, facilities can now get all the necessary equipment, plus installation, maintenance, and support, at zero cost.
The patented HomeWAV system allows facilities to enhance or replace their traditional telephone and in-person visitation programs with video calling technology. Visits as brief as one minute may be initiated by the inmate with no need for advance scheduling or operator assistance. This leads to marked savings in time, labor, and overhead costs, as well as a significant drop in security and safety risks. It also creates a reliable revenue stream for facilities, which receive a share of the profits from HomeWAV’s per-minute usage fees. Despite these significant benefits, the up-front equipment investment for the system’s wall-mounted kiosks and tablet computers has been an entry barrier for some cost-conscious or budget-strapped facilities. HomeWAV’s new soution is designed to offer a no-cost option so that more facilities may benefit from video visitation. Under the new program, facilities can now get their video visitation equipment at no cost, with no monthly fees or revenue deductions. As with all HomeWAV solutions, full installation, training, maintenance, upgrades, and support are included at no charge for the life of the agreement.
Video visitation has been making the news a lot lately. One topic we’ve seen in the headlines is some debate over detention facilities using video visitation systems to completely replace in-person, face-to-face visitation. As with just about any topic these days, both sides have raised many good points, some less-good points, and a lot of strong opinions.
All the back-and-forth has led to some confusion about video visitation technology, and we’d like to help set the record straight.
First, it is important to understand that not all video visitation systems are the same. There are multiple types of solutions available from multiple technology providers, each with its own variable features, deployment options, and terms of service. Some providers have designed their products and terms with a focus on eliminating in-person visitation, its costs, and its risks altogether. Others have positioned their solution as an add-on to traditional on-site visits, or to expand visitation and its benefits to both facilities and inmates. Still others fall somewhere in between, or accommodate both sides.
It is also true that different facilities, and even different areas within those facilities, may have wildly different visitation and technology needs. A state prison, for example, might be run very differently than a rural county jail. Throw in varying population makeups, individual facilities’ histories, and fluctuating budgets, and it becomes clear that the corrections industry isn’t a landscape you can paint with broad strokes; it’s as diverse a mosaic as the communities it serves.
Location matters a lot, too. Some states and counties have started changing their policies regarding inmate visitations. California is a prime example. Through recent changes such as Title 15, facilities that offered in-person visits as of January 1, 2017 are prohibited from converting to video-only visitation in the future. When visitors travel to jails and visit over video monitors instead of face-to-face, there can be no charge for the first hour. Any new facilities built in the future are also required to include space for face-to-face visits. This has caused some big shake-ups and headaches at the facilities that were going video-only, or required to do so by their chosen technology provider.
This all adds up to some simple facts:
• What is true for one facility may not be true for another.
• What is good for one for one facility might not be good for another.
• Video visitation technology itself is not the cause of its more controversial implementations.
Considering the facts, HomeWAV leaves the implementation decisions in the hands of the people who we believe are most qualified to make it – communities and correctional facilities themselves. We have designed our best-of-both-worlds system with the flexibility to adapt to many detention environments and needs, and our customers appreciate that.
Need to to reduce prisoner transport costs and security risks? We can do that.
Looking to add tele-psychiatry, attorney visits, or clergy visits for inmates? We can do that, too.
No matter how you choose to implement it, HomeWAV technology can save your facility valuable time, money, and risk on inmate visitation and communications. Our patented inmate-initiated visit option even eliminates the burden of scheduling, letting you save even more.
Is eliminating in-person visitation completely a good or bad idea? We wish we had the final answer, but as a technology company, it just isn’t our call to make. What we do know is that we’ve seen both approaches work and deliver positive results.
If you’ve looked at another video visitation solution and didn’t like what you saw, or felt boxed-in or shut-out by its requirements, we urge you to take a look at another option before giving up on the technology completely. HomeWAV does things differently than other systems, and we’re often a fit where others have failed.