Video calls, visitation in the works for Douglas County Jail

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

The Douglas County Jail, 3601 E 25th St., is pictured on April 7, 2020

Video visitation is planned for the Douglas County Jail, according to a spokesperson for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

In-person visits have been suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Journal-World has reported; in lieu of that, inmates have been allowed two free 15-minute phone calls per week.

However, Jenn Hethcoat, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, said that a system would soon be installed to make video calls available for inmates.

“We very recently signed a contract for the service and are coordinating installation plans; we plan to have this project completed by the end of the year,” she said via email.

The jail will also have kiosks set up where people can come in to video chat on-site, so everyone can access the service even if they don’t have internet access at home or they face other barriers, Hethcoat said.

The cost for a 30-minute video call will be $3, Hethcoat said. That is less than half the cost for a phone call of the same duration. Phone calls currently run at 21 cents per minute prepaid or with debit cards or 25 cents per minute for directly billed calls, so they would cost $6.30 or $7.50 for the same amount of time.

There will be no cost to the county for the program, Hethcoat said.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact public safety reporter Mackenzie Clark:

Related coverage: COVID-19 + Douglas County Jail

July 29, 2020: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office captain says county jail has reached its functional capacity amid COVID-19

July 24, 2020: Douglas County Jail: Still no COVID-19 cases

May 10, 2020: Is the Douglas County Jail’s inmate population decrease amid COVID-19 sustainable? Law enforcement isn’t optimistic

April 8, 2020: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office serving warrants only for public safety risks

April 7, 2020: Douglas County district attorney: 14 inmates released from jail amid COVID-19; some community service hours waived in diversion cases

March 27, 2020: At Douglas County Jail, female inmates still sharing cells; total population has dropped

March 24, 2020: Douglas County Jail suspends visitation amid ‘stay at home’ order

March 23, 2020: Douglas County juvenile detention center has no plan to release incarcerated youths; activists make national push

March 19, 2020: What you need to know: Lawrence-area law enforcement shares latest updates amid COVID-19 pandemic

March 18, 2020: Douglas County Jail visitations continue; would-be inmate sent away at intake to self-quarantine

March 17, 2020: Douglas County District Court delays most hearings, jury trials amid COVID-19 concerns

March 13, 2020: Some Douglas County Jail inmates could be released on furloughs if sick or at risk of COVID-19

March 12, 2020: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office: Jail can accommodate quarantine, if needed


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