Out-of-town visitation visitations at the Jasper County Jail just got a little easier.
In February or March, the jail expects to install a system from HomeWAV, LLC in cells that will allow inmates to visit family and attorneys electronically.
This fully digital, 1080p, hi-tech system will allow visitors to call inmates remotely from a phone, tablet or laptop, and will cost $0.25 per minute.
Wendy Hecox, chief jailer at Jasper County Jail, said the new online system will replace a dated and aging communication system.
“Our current visitation system was put in when our building was built back in 2005. It was an analog-based system,” Hecox said. “It’s starting to break down because of time. We are upgrading to a HomeWAV system.”
While this new system will be available for public use, the current method of visitors coming to see inmates will still be allowed. Hecox said one of the main reasons for the new system is to spare visitors the time and gas money required to visit the jail.
“The remote visitation is $0.25 per minute and the convenience fee of not having to come here. We don’t charge them to come to the jail,” Hecox said. “If you wish to come here every single day, you may do so. For a 30-minute visit (online), I think it works out to $7.50 or something like that.
“We think that it’s going to be convenient for a lot of people,” Hecox said. “For instance, last week, we had somebody drive all the way over here from Council Bluffs for a 30-minute visit, and then turn around and drive all the way back to Council Bluffs.”
Interested visitors can start by going to www.homewav.com to sign up. Once on the home page, visitors can click “SIGN UP HERE,” which will take you to the page where to fill in basic information, which jail the visitor is looking to visit remotely, payment methods, etc.
Hecox said it helps jail employees free up their time, since it gives them less to do without all the work of monitoring phone calls throughout the day, as well as set up everything for the visitors to be able to visit. The system is very similar to Skype, and many of the cells will get new monitors installed for that convenience. The system will be able to monitor which calls go where.
“We have visitation monitors and security monitors, and there’s one in every single cell. There’s a possibility that I could have someone visiting in seven pods all at the same time. The system knows because it’s custom set up for our particular facility, so it knows there’s only one visitation unit in each pod. It won’t schedule two people in a pod at the same time,” she said.
Earlier in January, Jasper County signed the contract for the system and mailed the paperwork to HomeWAV, LLC last Friday.
From there, the next step is installation, which jail employees have already pulled the wires from the old system out of everywhere from within the jail. When HomeWAV is ready, they will come to the jail for up to three days and install the new monitors and get the security boxes required for the system up and running. Training for the staff will follow as well as training for the inmates on how they will be able to communicate with visitors.
Hecox is optimistic that this new $12,000 system — which will be paid for with the money made through the new system over the next 3.5 years — will be beneficial for inmates.
“I just think that it will be a great system. It will allow more contact for the inmates with their family, which is always good.” Hecox said. “Anything that keeps people calm, because being in jail is hard enough.”
Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 or at firstname.lastname@example.org