Video calls, visitation in the works for Douglas County Jail
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
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
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Related coverage: COVID-19 + Douglas County Jail
• July 24, 2020: Douglas County Jail: Still no COVID-19 cases
• March 24, 2020: Douglas County Jail suspends visitation amid ‘stay at home’ order