Visitation at the Campbell County Detention Center is going high-tech.
It is the first jail in our area to offer off-site, Internet access inmate visitation via technology similar to Skype that is spreading across the country.
The program started earlier this month, and costs the jail more than $200,000 to start.
"It is a video visitation system that inmates and their families can use online so people no longer actually have to travel to the detention center," said Campbell County Jailer Jim Daley.
The system can be used nationwide and all over the world for a fee. A 15-minute call costs $6, and a 25-minute call is $10. Those fees will help recoup some of the money spent on the technology.
Jail officials see it not only as a way to keep families together, but beneficial to the facility and taxpayers as well.
"It actually saves the county and taxpayers of Campbell County money because it reduces our output of manpower hours by not having to move inmates about, and it's a big safety factor for us. We're not taking inmates out of cells for visits," added Daley.
Jail staff members aren't in the cell with inmates during these calls, but they can monitor what they're doing. Prisoners must follow regular visitation rules like no nudity or choice language. Nearly all visitations there are done by video, and they're all recorded for future review.
"We do have someone that views the video visitation, and if they're doing something, they'll stop it. Even on the Internet," said Major Gracy Nagel who works at the Campbell County Detention Center.
Not everyone sees this system of letting inmates have these Internet visits as a good thing for all prisoners.
"I think the concept is one of those things that's kind of a gray area, but if it's to be introduced, I think it should be something that's earned, kind of a reward system," said Leah Copsy who lives in Independence.
The technology only began in Campbell County two weeks ago.
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