Changes To Jail Visitation Could Save TCSO Thousands

Monday, July 17th 2017, 5:54 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County jail could save big by changing how people visit inmates.

The changes would eliminate one visitation day, but the sheriff said there's an upside, the technology that allows you to visit with an inmate on your tablet or phone could cost less.

The jail houses hundreds of inmates and the job of keeping them safe, and visitors safe, falls on the staff.

"It's not drastic cut, but what it does is ease the burden of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Vic Regalado said.

With that in mind, the sheriff's office is making some changes by moving eight deputies from the visitor floor to fill vacancies in the jail.

7/14/2017 Related Story: Number Of Visitation Days Decreasing At Tulsa County Jail

"I think it does provide for a better, secure atmosphere," Regalado said.

On top of that, starting in August you'll need a background check to visit the jail, and visitation will drop from three days to two.

Also, the visits will only be for immediate family, so no fiancés, cousins or friends.

Regalado said the move will save the county about $500,000.

"I hope it sends a message to the citizens of Tulsa County that we are certainly utilizing their hard-earned money in an appropriate manner," he said.

Some people are upset about the changes, but there is another way to communicate with an inmate; it’s a video visit system called HomeWAV.

Video monitors are linked to the inmate pods and people can use them at the jail for free. You can also use the HomeWAV app for 50-cents a minute, but the county is working to get it dropped to 20-cents.

"We do believe that visitation is a very, very, big component of staying in touch with your family," said Jail Administrator David Parker.

The jail is finalizing the paperwork for background checks; it should be ready early next week.