Criminal Justice

Jail moves to video-only visits; fee will be charged to visitors

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Add another jail to a growing list of penal institutions that don’t allow inmates in-person visits with family and friends.

Instead, those who wish to visit with inmates at the jail in Jefferson County, Missouri, must do so by video. The online visits must be scheduled in advance, and they cost $6.99 for 25 minutes, an introductory fee that is expected to go up before the summer is over, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jail visitors in St. Clair County, Missouri, paid $20 for 20 minutes or $40 for 40 minutes, plus additional fees and taxes, the newspaper notes.

Those who come to the jail in person can participate in free video visits, but the inmate is limited to two per week. There is no limit to the number of paid remote video visits.

Officials say the video-only system will lead to reduced security risks for all involved; less staff-supervision time; and no travel costs.

“The big thing for us is safety and security of the facility,” Captain Ron Arnhart of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office told the newspaper. “Really the only thing that’s changed is that they’re looking at them on that screen rather than through glass.”

The company the Jefferson County Jail has contracted with will provide the equipment with no cost to the jail, and the jail will be entitled to a cut of the proceeds made from the visitors’ fees.

See also: “Wash. DC Jail Eliminates In-Person Visits with Inmates, Offers Electronic Alternative”

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