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 “If they are not online it will have a red dot and if for some reason their privileges have been revoked, it will have a yellow dot.”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.
By Jade Cunningham
The Miller County Detention Center goes high-tech.
They just installed a video chat system called HomeWAV.
It’ll be used by the prisoners and those wanting to see them.
Officials are calling this the wave of the future.
They installed the program a few weeks ago.
“You can imagine with 250 inmates, how many families are here two nights a week,” said Sheriff Ron Stovall.
Visiting an inmate isn’t easy.
But thanks to a new computer program, it can be.
“This is the new HomeWAV System.”
Like Skype, it’s a video chat.
As long as you have internet, visitation can be done without leaving the home.
“It’s so convenient especially for families who live long distances away,” said Stovall. “They now can connect on the internet with the inmates.”
The Miller County Detention Center is one of the first in the state (if not the first) to use it.
And they say there’s nothing like it.
“We’re expecting good things from this,” Stovall said.
The program is a win-win for all.
There’s no cost to the jail, or tax payers to run Homewav.
“This was installed by a company that makes its revenue from a percent of the cost that the inmates pay to make the call.”
It also keeps the prisoners and their friends and families’ morale high.
“I would think that there would be a level of comfort for the inmate to be able to look at his family when he talks to them,” said Stovall. “One of the best things is that it’s low cost, it’s cheaper than transportation costs for families who drive great distances.”
Each chat is 15 minutes and is monitored by security personnel.
“There is no reasonable expectation of privacy by an inmate unless it’s a legal issue.”
The program is still in the early stages of use.
But so far, the response has been good.
Facility officials also hope the program will help with visitor overcrowding.
They say that because people can now use the program on their computer or phone, that visitation will now be cut hopefully by 50%.
By Kelly Reid, Reporter
KOAM TV 7
A new video visitation system installed in Cherokee County — is benefiting the county in more ways than one. The new technology at the jail is benefiting everyone — from inmates, to their families and the county.
It might look a little complicated at first glance…but inmate visitation just got easier…and more convenient. Thanks to new software installed at the Cherokee County Jail, operations are becoming more efficient for everyone.
“We’ve seen the opportunity with the Homewav system will not only benefit the county as a little bit of a source of revenue, but also for the inmates convenience for long distance ones to still be able to connect with their family.” says Cherokee County Undersheriff, Terry Clugston.
The Homewav video system allows family and friends to go online, create an account and use a credit card to grant them access to have a video visit with an inmate for 50 cents per minute….which is more affordable than the typical collect phone call. Officials say this new way of visitation works for traveling visitors.
“It takes down the amount of work the in house correctional officer has to deal with the people coming in on specific days to do a face to face. Even though there’s a barrier there, it’s a face to face visitation, so…that requires additional security measures. So we’ve really eliminated a lot of that and it’s been a win win so far.” says Sheriff David Groves.
The Homewav system is not only a privilege for inmates who get to use it, but it’s also a convenience for family members who may have to travel from far away.”
The jail currently holds 27 inmates from Sedgewick county, and 1 from Crawford County. Which can add up to more than an hours worth of travel time.
“It gives us a tool for inmate management. They are told up front that it’s a privilege. If it’s abusive, if anything is inappropriate then those privileges are revoked. And we have the opportunity to monitor and record those visits as they are occurring live.” Groves says.
So far the county has not seen any problems with inmates abusing the new system.Read More...
By Gary A. Harki
The jail’s online video visitation system provides convenience at a cost to connect inmates to their families, but it has raised concerns among civil liberties advocates who worry that the growing presence of such systems may lead to gouging or limitations on in-person visits.
The year-old system, called HomeWav, works like Skype. Prisoners log in over a secured computer network that allows the jail staff to monitor the video visits. The person on the other end of the video logs in and pays for the visit on a personal computer.
Each visit costs 50 cents a minute, and one-minute video messages can be sent for $1. HomeWav, which is based in Virginia Beach, started two years ago and has been installed in 27 jails in 16 states, said company President Gary Humphries. The firm installed the system in Portsmouth at no charge. HomeWav grosses about $1,400 a month from the city, and the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department gets about $1,000 a month.
Portsmouth is his only local contract, though Humphries said he is responding to a Virginia Beach request for proposals.
At all of its sites combined, HomeWav is averaging about 50,000 minutes a month. In Portsmouth, the inmates who have signed up for the service have logged an average of 20 minutes per month each, Humphries said. He said he didn’t know exactly how many minutes each inmate who has signed up for the system has used it because HomeWav tracks only total minutes.
Carl Phillips, who is serving a six-month sentence on drug-possession charges, said he uses the system up to an hour a day.
“I’ve got to talk to my wife and kids and handle my business,” he said.
Other inmates ask him about it, but he said he is one of the few people on his floor of the jail who use it.Read More...
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