Story from Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Donald Ash announced today that the Wyandotte County Detention Center is launching a new inmate video visitation program.
Currently in operation, the new HomeWAV system will allow family members and friends to schedule and conduct video visits with jail inmates using any suitable computer connected to the Internet, a spokesman said. The new visitation system will be available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility visiting,” Ash said.
The Wyandotte County Detention Center has installed nine HomeWAV visitation stations—consisting of a telephone handset, keypad, webcam, PC, and video monitor—in day rooms for the inmates. The new visitation system gives the jail complete control of visits at all times with live monitoring, recording of all calls, and database access to visitation records.
We’ve all heard about making a phone call from jail, but what about a video call? Similar to Skype, video visitation allows inmates to see their friends and family while they talk.
Prisons and jails in the United States are increasingly adopting the technology, but there are significant concerns about the cost to inmates’ families and fears video chat will eventually lead to the elimination of in-person visits.
The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan travelled to Portsmouth, Virginia to see how it works.
Produced by Ted Metzger; filmed by Allen McGreevy; edited by Bill McKennaRead More...
PINE BLUFF, Arkansas — Jefferson County has become the third county in Arkansas to implement video-based visitation for county jail inmates.
The Jefferson County program, called HomeWAV, is similar to webcam-based programs like Skype. However, HomeWAV charges 50 cents for each minute an inmate is logged on, and officials use that money to pay for the program.
Yhe video-visit program is now in place in Jefferson, Miller and White counties. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1hRTF54) Monday. In Jefferson County, the visitation program is set up in day rooms for the inmates. The rooms include a telephone handset, keypad, webcam, personal computer and video monitor.
Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson called the system the “wave of the future for correctional facility communication.”
“Visiting a loved one in an institutional environment, with the inherent security requirements, can be an unpleasant experience for anyone, especially children,” Robinson said. “With this new system, family members are spared the expense, inconvenience and emotional distress of coming into the jail to visit.”
News Channel 5
by Adam Ghassemi
GALLATIN, Tenn. – Malcolm Branham is an inmate in the Sumner County Jail. He’s been in custody for eight months facing drug charges and waiting on his court day.
“You get lonely up here, you know,” he said.
Recently the days seem to be going by faster thanks to a new device just steps from his cell. Branham gets to video chat with his fiancé on a system called HomeWav for up to 20 minutes at a time.
It works like Skype or FaceTime, but everything they say is recorded and monitored. The person the inmate calls can see them on a laptop, tablet or smartphone from anywhere.
Branham says they’ve even used it to go shopping.
“Like if she sees something she likes and wants to know my opinion on it she takes the iPhone and shows me on the Skype and says what do you think about this?,” he said.
It may seem like an incredible luxury, but there’s a thought behind it. Corrections officials say inmates having access to their own support groups could keep them from coming back.
Published 11/11/2013 on ArkansasMatters.com
PINE BLUFF, AR – Visiting people held in jail in Jefferson County can now be done over the internet.
Sheriff Gerald Robinson has announced that the Jefferson County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center has launched a new inmate video visitation program.
On August 1, the new HomeWAV system was brought to the facilities to allow family members and friends to schedule and conduct video visits with jail inmates using any suitable computer connected to the Internet. The new visitation system will expand available visitation hours, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility communication,” Robinson said, “Jefferson County Jail & Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center is proud to offer direct video visitation to our inmates and their loved ones.”
These facilities installed the HomeWAV visitation stations—consisting of a telephone handset, keypad, webcam, PC, and video monitor—in day rooms for the inmates. The new visitation system has given the jail complete control of visits at all times with live monitoring, recording of all calls, and database access to visitation records.
HomeWAV is a video visitation system that allows family and friends to enjoy direct real-time video visits with an inmate from the comfort of their own home. For visitors the process works just like a phone call except that a computer with a webcam and Internet access is required. Robinson said that there is no cost to the jail or to taxpayers for the equipment, or installation, and maintenance is covered at no charge for the life of the contract.
KNOE 8 News
Posted By Lacey Sharp, Reporter
NATCHEZ, Miss. (KNOE 8 News) – Out with the old and in with the new. From face-to-face communication, to conversations by computer and monitors. By week’s end, Adams County Jail will completely eliminate in-house visitation by family and friends.
John Best, with Homewav, the company who sold the county the system, said it’s not complicated.
“There is a green dot that indicates the person is online and the person is ready to receive a visit,” Best said. “If they are not online it will have a red dot and if for some reason their privileges have been revoked, it will have a yellow dot.”
For family and friends, access is available through a computer, smart phone or tablet. After signing up, visitors may schedule a visit. But the inmate must initiate the call, just like a collect phone call. Each call costs the visitor 50-cents per minute.
Captain Ed Tucker said the system will help with security and space issues. He said money made from the calls will go toward equipment fees and maintenance. Tucker also said the system is completely legal.
“Before we proceeded with this we asked for the state attorney general’s opinion on it and we got a favorable opinion on it,” Tucker said. “Visitation is actually a privilege not a requirement of the law.”
The Hendersonville Star News
Sumner County Jail inmate Cynthia Garrett said her children are no longer nervous when they visit with her, which they can now do by computer or a smartphone anywhere they are connected to the Internet.
“It’s a more comfortable visit because they’re in a home environment, and it’s more convenient for their father,” said Garrett, whose five-year sentence expires in 2015.
The new-generation video system allows inmates to have scheduled visits over the Internet with their loved ones, wherever they are. The move will increase visitation choices for inmates and boost revenue for the county, which is expected to save taxpayer money in the long run, said Sumner County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Don Linzy, who helps oversee the system.
The system, which is called Homewav, took five months to install and has been up and running for about 30 days. Inmates have used it about 300 times, Homewav records show.
The video conferencing works like this: Inmates can talk up to 20 minutes at a time between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for 50 cents per minute, or leave a message for $1. The inmate sits in front of a monitor at the jail, with the visitor onscreen. Usage is unlimited at this point. HomeWAV does not require scheduling.
“It works a lot like Skype,” corrections officer Nick Bethea said. “They don’t get any contact with the world. Homewav gives them the chance to visit with their family more often and get closer to their family while in jail.”
Though it is too early to project revenue numbers, 30 percent of the charge for inmates to use the system will go to the county’s general fund, Linzy said. The program was installed at the jail for free.
“It’s just another way for the inmates to pay for their care instead of the taxpayers,” Linzy said. “It also helps keep contraband down.”
The additional revenue to the county will help shore up the jail’s expenses and could prevent future tax increases, Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said.
Weatherford came across Homewav at a conference and recommended implementing it locally. After researching the system’s functions, Linzy found it to be “a win-win situation.”
“This brings revenue in the county and it’s giving inmates a way to visit with their family, who don’t have to come to the jail,” he said.
Posted: Oct 30, 2013 6:06 AM EDT WHLT 22
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) – Sometime in the coming week, Adams County’s inmates will be able to get a little face time with their friends and family.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office started the process of installing the Homewav video visitation system.
The Natchez Democrat reports the system is essentially a tablet computer with a webcam and a telephone receiver mounted on the wall in the common area of each of the jail’s 10 cell blocks. Sheriff Chuck Mayfield says it will help expand inmate visitation privileges from 30-minute visits once a week to eight hours a day, seven days a week.
Mayfield says the Homewav system was installed at no cost to the county, and pays for itself through system fees.
Video visits will cost 50 cents a minute.Read More...
Published 12:11am Wednesday, October 30, 2013 The Natchez Democrat
By Vershal Hogan
Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat — Adams County Deputy Sheriff Ed Tucker explains how the newly installed video visitation system will work to Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield. According to Tucker, the new system will help with security, keep down the amount of contraband inside of the jail, and allow inmates to keep in touch with family members easier. Tucker estimates by November 15th all visitation will be through the video system. Other facilities that are using video visitation have seen an increase in moral with inmates.
NATCHEZ — Sometime in the coming week, Adams County’s inmates will be able to get a little face time with their friends and family.
Tuesday the Adams County Sheriff’s Office started the process of installing the Homewav video visitation system in the county jail.
The system is essentially a tablet computer with a webcam and a telephone receiver mounted on the wall in the common area of each of the jail’s 10 cell blocks, but Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said it will help expand inmate visitation privileges from 30-minute visits once a week to eight hours a day, seven days a week.
Those who want to visit a prisoner will download a program to their personal computer or facetime-enabled smartphone from the Homewav website, ACSO Jail Administrator Ed Tucker said.
The prisoner will be able to speak with visitors through the program installed on terminal, or those who wish to visit will be able to dial in and leave a message for an inmate.
“A little thing will flash on the screen (in the terminal), saying ‘Message for inmate Smith,’ letting them know they need to call home,” Tucker said. “It won’t ring, but it will leave a message.”
The Homewav system was installed at no cost to the county, Mayfield said, and pays for itself through system fees, similar to how the inmate phone system works.
Video visits will cost 50 cents a minute and will be limited to 20 minutes at a time to allow all inmates access to the system, Tucker said.
The jail will continue traditional in-person visitation for two more weeks to ensure everyone is notified of the changeover, Tucker said, and then it will switch over to exclusively using the video visitation system.
The switch has been advertised by poster in the jail lobby and the cell block areas for several months, and Tucker said a number of visitors have already created accounts with Homewav in anticipation of the change.
Switching to video visitation will help the jail reduce the introduction of contraband and increases overall safety because it demands a much lower level of movement between cellblocks, Tucker said.
The switch will have other benefits as well.
Posted: Oct 23, 2013 6:24 PM EDT
Lori Fullbright, News On 6
The video of 15-year-old murder suspect, Josh Mooney, in the background of another inmate’s video phone call, outraged many people. The video of 15-year-old murder suspect, Josh Mooney, in the background of another inmate’s video phone call, outraged many people.
The video phone system has been in Tulsa County’s jail for about the past six months. It doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. The video phone system has been in Tulsa County’s jail for about the past six months. It doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny.
“If somebody misbehaves, I block the family and I block them and they’re no longer allowed to use the system,” said Sgt. Bob Darby, with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. “If somebody misbehaves, I block the family and I block them and they’re no longer allowed to use the system,” said Sgt. Bob Darby, with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
TULSA, Oklahoma –
When we aired a video phone call from inside Tulsa County’s jail Tuesday, showing a teenage murder suspect, many viewers and readers asked why inmates are allowed to video chat with their family and friends.
We went back to the jail Wednesday to find out.
The video phone system has been in Tulsa County’s jail for about the past six months. It doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. In fact, it’s making them some money.
A recorded Skype video call shows 15-year-old murder suspect, Josh Mooney, in the background of another inmate’s call, making a gun gesture toward his temple and saying, “head shot,” while another inmate talks about him shooting a woman in the head.
It outraged many people on two counts: first, the content of the video; second, that people in jail are allowed to make these types of calls, at all.
“If somebody misbehaves, I block the family and I block them and they’re no longer allowed to use the system,” said Sgt. Bob Darby, with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.