Jail to provide video visitation option

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The loved ones of Dubois County Security Center inmates may get more opportunities to visit them, via video.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office plans to enter a contract with Combined Public Communications for inmate telecommunications. That includes phone services, video visitation hardware, and software to track commissary accounts, Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter explained to the Dubois County Commissioners Monday.

Kleinhelter said he specifically wanted to provide the video visitation option to inmates and the people who visit them.

“Loved ones can visit via remote from a computer, their iPhone or whatever, from where they are at,” he said. “They don’t have to make that trip to the security center.”

Through the new service, inmates and their visitors can arrange video visits using a kiosk, which would give inmates a chance to have more visits than they have now.

“Right now, they have one hour per week,” Kleinhelter said, “and the loved ones must come to the jail.”

Video visitors must be pre-approved by the sheriff’s office. The visits must be prearranged, with the recipient approving the access, to block out a certain time on the terminal. The visits will be 20 minutes long. There will be a fee for the visitors to use the service from their location; the fee is covered by the inmates or their visitors.

“There will no upfront cost to the county,” Kleinhelter said.

Per the contract, 13 terminal kiosks will be provided. A terminal will be placed in each of the 10 cell blocks. One terminal will be on wheels and will be taken to holding cells.

There will also be a terminal in each of the two visiting booths. If someone doesn’t want to pay the fee that comes with having a video visit from home, they will be able to use the kiosk in the visiting booth for a video visit at no charge.

“This would eliminate our jail officers having to move inmates all the time,” Kleinhelter said.

The video visit schedule will be established by the sheriff’s office. Although that schedule has not yet been set, Kleinhelter indicated that the times would run possibly from mid-morning until an hour or so before lockdown. At the security center, lockdown, in which inmates are restricted to their cell, is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The commissioners approved the contract with Combined Public Communications, as presented by Kleinhelter.

 

The commissioners also:

• Approved a proclamation designating Thursday, May 2, as the National Day of Prayer, locally, and approved the use of the Dubois County Courthouse’s east-side grounds for a National Day of Prayer program that will run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. that day.

• Were reminded of the interviews they would conduct Monday afternoon to fill the new human resources position. The interviews were done in an executive session.

• Designated various items as surplus, so that they can be sold or disposed of. The items include the antiquated phones that have been replaced in most county departments, as well as a list of items the health department has, such as a TV cabinet, desktop computer, file cabinets, coolers and printers.




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