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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Published July 1, 2013, Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office
At the June 17th Board Of Supervisor’s meeting, a contract with Homewav, Inc.to provide Inmate Video Visitation for Adams County Jail was approved.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility visiting, and Adams County Sheriff”s Office is proud to be the first facility in Mississippi to offer it,” said Sheriff Mayfield.
With this innovative new service, inmate visitation privileges will be greatly enhanced. Immediate family, relatives and friends will be able to visit with inmates from the comfort of their homes. All they need is a computer with a webcam and Internet access. The service will also be available on some Smartphone’s.
System Effectively Increases Visitation with No New Costs to Tulsa County Taxpayers or Facility
Tulsa, OK (June 2013) – Sheriff Stanley Glanz announced that the Tulsa County Jail is launching a new inmate video visitation program.
Once installed the HomeWAV system with 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, and provide visitation to those unable to visit the facility in person.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility visiting,” Glanz said, “Tulsa County is offering the technology because it will be beneficial for tax payers, our jail facility staff and for the inmates and their families.” (more…)Read More...
NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HOMEWAV AND NEW JUBILEE EDUCATIONAL AND FAMILY LIFE CENTER WILL HELP FAMILIES WEATHER THE STORM OF SEPARATION
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 2013) – HomeWAV video visitation system has entered into a contract with the New Jubilee Education and Family Life Center located in Richmond, Va. New Jubilee is a charitable organization, directed by Dr. Owen Cardwell, Jr., that assists former inmates successfully transition back into home life, employment and society.
“Incarceration is not simply about the individual serving time in prison. It is a family affair that the affects everyone in the home,” said Dr. Cardwell. “New Jubilee supports the widespread use and availability of the HomeWAV video visitation system to help inmates stay connected with their families, thereby enhancing the likelihood of their successful re-entry into society.”
“We recognize and support HomeWAV’s role in helping correctional facilities provide cost-effective communication connections between incarcerated individuals and their families.” (more…)Read More...
NOTED CRIME EXPERT, TV HOST INTRODUCED AS COMPANY ENDORSER
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Jan. 2013) — John Walsh, internationally known from the long-running America’s Most Wanted television show, has officially endorsed HomeWAV, an Internet-based video visitation system adapted for use in correctional facilities. Company officials announced the relationship on Thursday, December 6, 2012.
Virginia-based HomeWAV is a unique, patent pending system that has been implemented by state and local detention authorities since 2012 and currently has 13 contracted facilities in 10 states. (more…)Read More...
by Danielle Beurteaux
November 21, 2012
Family and friends of inmates face many obstacles in visiting their loved ones in prison. These visits can also impose an administrative burden on the detention facilities. Because of these difficulties, Gary Humphries pioneered a web-based video conferencing program called HomeWAV. BizTech Magazine covers HomeWAV’s services and innovation in their Winter 2013 issue.Read More...
By Robin Y. Richardson
The Marshall News Messenger
October 5, 2012
October 7, 2012
Thanks to the innovation of a Virginia-based company, loved ones of inmates in the Harrison County Jail can now connect with them via video from the comfort of their homes.
All they need is a computer with a webcam and Internet access.
“It’s a neat concept that definitely saves the jail money and saves the taxpayer money, which is a nice thing,” Gary Humphries, president of HomeWAV, the creator of the service, said in a telephone interview.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office launched the new inmate video visitation program this week, becoming the first jail facility in the state to offer direct video visitation.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility visiting,” Sheriff Tom McCool said in a press release. “And Harrison County is proud to be the first facility in Texas to offer direct video visitation. The new system presents tremendous advantages in time and cost savings, as well as contributing to increased safety and security for our facility.”
Humphries, a computer scientist, said the jail became the first facility in Texas to offer the direct real-time video visits at the recommendation of Guardian Security.
“Guardian Security is our integrator for the state of Texas,” said Humphries, noting the company is the provider of Harrison County Jail’s surveillance and security system.
“We’re trying to be real selective,” he said, noting the county jail is the sixth facility to offer the service.
According to a press release, the new system allows family members and friends to schedule and conduct visits with jail inmates, using any suitable computer connected to the Internet. The new visitation system opens up available visitation hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, expanding visitation from the previous two days a week with limited 20 minute visits.
“The visit works just like a phone call — no jail personnel are involved in connecting the visit. And unlike other visitation systems, there is no need to involve jail personnel to schedule visits in advance,” HomeWAV officials advised.
The cost to the visitor is only 50 cents per minute, which is typically less than a collect phone call, officials noted.
Sheriff McCool noted that there is no cost to the jail or to taxpayers for the equipment or installation. He said maintenance is covered, at no charge, for the life of the contract. According to the press release, the system is expected to greatly reduce overall personnel costs for the jail by making the visitation process simpler and safer for all involved.
McCool said since the installation of the HomeWAV visitation stations in the day rooms for the inmates, early feedback from both inmates and visitors have been positive.
“Our inmates feel more connected to their homes and families, and this has a positive impact on morale and behavior,” the sheriff said. “Their family members are spared the expense, inconvenience, and emotional distress of coming into the jail to visit.
“Let’s face it, visiting a loved one in an institutional environment, with the inherent security requirements, can be an unpleasant experience for anyone, especially children,” he said.
The visitation stations at the jail consist of a telephone handset, keypad, webcam, PC, and video monitor.
Humphries said other states that have had facilities launch the program include Kansas, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.
“It’s been pretty exciting,” said Humphries, noting families from as far away as Mexico have raved about the program, sharing how it has helped them stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. “It’s really been amazing for families because many facilities don’t allow children inside (to visit).
“This keeps families connected,” said Humphries.
He said he developed the direct video visitation system after meeting with officials in the state of Virginia.
“They said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a Skype (type system) for jails, and we went to work,” Humphries recalled.
He said the company’s patent-pending system is the most innovative and advanced web-based visitation system of its kind and the only one with no direct or indirect costs to the facility.
“It was designed with guidance from jail administrators, with the facilities’ needs and operation uppermost in mind, rather than trying to make jails operate around the requirements of the visitation system,” said Humphries.
According to the company, since its launch in January, HomeWAV has successfully managed more than 10,000 calls and 100,000 visitation minutes, with facility personnel and users giving it high marks for ease of use, reliability and security. Officials said the system is being marketed to municipal, state and federal correctional facilities and is in use nationwide, from coast-to-coast.
Humphries said, through the system, they hope to give families hope, keeping them bonded.
For more information about the system, visit HomeWAV’s website, homewav.com.Read More...