The Troup County jail is rolling out a new system for visiting hours. Family and friends will now "video visit" with loved ones instead of having face-to-face interactions. Sheriff James Woodruff said it will cut down on contraband being brought into the jail by visitors.
"There was some that was coming in that way and so we addressed that but we were always trying to keep it out," said Sheriff Woodruff. He said contraband like drugs, and safety were the main concerns for the visiting process. Those are some of the main reasons they switched to video visits. Woodruff said it will be more convenient for inmates and officers.
"They don't have to constantly move inmates back and forth to visitation. They just sit down in their room, get on this monitor, visit back and forth when they're done and they're still in their cell," said Woodruff. He said the video visitations provide more ease and convenience for visitors but not all of them are happy about it.
"I would hope that they went back to the way they did it before and if they were going to do anything different to put phones on the walls in the visitation in the jail because there's an issue with noise there but at least you get to see your loved ones," said a visitor to the jail.
Visitors said noise in the old visitation room was one of the biggest complaints from visitors.
"There's actually people who would bring in notepads and pens just so they could hear them. So this is good as far as hearing but it's not as far as seeing them," she said.
Sheriff Woodruff said the benefits out way the costs.
"They've got privacy. They've got the telephone. they can see them as clear as if they were sitting in front of a real person so it works out real good," said Woodruff.
The next step in video visitation will be to have in-home video visits. Sheriff Woodruff said they will roll out that program in about a month. The in-home video visits would cost $20.00 for the 20 minute visit. Inmates would be allowed their 3 regular on site visits and an unlimited number of in home visits. The Sheriff said this will make it more convenient for out of town family and friends to visit with inmates.
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