BLOUNT COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - You can now video chat with inmates in Blount County. The Sheriff’s office is now using the new technology to make their jail safer.
Monday was the first day the Sheriff’s office kicked off its new video visitation.
Family, friends, and lawyers can now speak with the inmates from their office or their couch.
“It’s just like FaceTime. It’s HD cameras,” said Sheriff Mark Moon. “The sound and the video quality are fantastic. It’s not one of those grainy pictures that you can’t really see.”
Sheriff Moon said this is the future of visiting inmates.
“If they don’t have transportation or if they don’t have a means to come up here and visit, they can visit from their home,” said Sheriff Moon. “They can use their device or computer and visit them from home.”
So here’s how it all works.
You download the free Jailfunds app by VendEngine, then select “schedule a video visitation." Then it will give you the option to choose the location of the inmate.
Once you’ve filled out the registration, you can schedule an electronic visit with the inmate.
A 20-minute remote visitation costs around $8.
But, there’s also on-site video visitation now available.
“We have kiosks in the lobby outside at the jail that is free for friends and family to come and use,” said Sheriff Moon.
Sheriff Moon said the remote and onsite visitation is available Sunday through Saturday at different times during the day.
Before, visitors were only allowed Sundays, meaning overtime for officers and crowded lobbies.
But besides the crowding, this technology also helps keep contraband out of the jail.
“It will also cut down on any type of injuries to our officers because of the contraband, illegal substances that might come in,” said Sheriff Moon. “So, we’re very excited about this because it won’t just make it safer, but it will also give the inmates more opportunities to visit with their families.”
In August of last year, the Sheriff’s office had to cancel on-site visitation because of the contraband making its way in the jails.
The Sheriff’s office said their Inmate Telephone Service provider NCIC and VendEngine provided and installed the service at no cost.
No tax dollars are spent on this new technology.
You can download the Jailfunds app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.