Local inmates to have video visitation - WNEM TV 5

Local inmates to have video visitation

Posted: Updated:
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Inmates at a local jailhouse will soon have a new way to connect with the outside.

The Saginaw County Jail is installing video visitation technology to allow family members to visit prisoners face-to-face from home instead of coming to the jailhouse.

"It's a safety issue, that's why we are doing this," Sheriff William Federspiel said.

Federspiel said they have been looking for a way to keep problems within the jail to a minimum with more than 500 inmates housed at the county jail at any given time.

"Where we find there to be problems with fights or struggles with other inmates or with our staff is when we move them out of their secure cells or another floor for a visit," Federspiel said.

He believes they have found a solution with a new video visitation system that's being installed in the jail.

It's sort of like Skyping. The person can be at home or any place and chat with the inmate, who won't even have to leave their cell.

"So instead of seeing them through glass, they see them on the TV screen," Federspiel said.

Federspiel said the system, which costs about $21,000, is being paid for out of the inmate trust fund. It won't cost taxpayers a dime and the inmates will pay to use it about once a week.

"If they have money in their account, they can purchase certain things as long as they are not violating any rules of the jail," Federspiel said.

The chats will be recorded and those who violate the rules will have their video visitation privileges taken away.  The rules are the same as when visitors come to the jail, an option the inmate still has. Federspiel said the goal is to use technology to create a safer environment for everyone.

"We don't have to move them, if they stay in their cells, they're safe, they're secure, my staff is safe and secure and my staff can do what they need to do to run this jail," Federspiel said.

Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
WNEM
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.