Visiting a prisoner at the Mayes County jail will soon be a high-tech experience. Through a partnership with its telephone company, the sheriff could get video equipment installed for free.
Right now it takes about two officers off the floor to run jail visitation, but once the monitors are fully operational, the officers will be free, therefore, making it safer for inmates and their families.
Technology has a way of connecting people wherever they are, and a special kind of video technology will soon connect Mayes County jail inmates to the outside world.
Jail administrator Mitch Goodman said, "It's relatively new. I know there are some counties in the Oklahoma City area that has it, and I know Tulsa is getting it."
The system is called Homewav; it's something jails across the country use.
Goodman said the new system will make things safer for his employees and for those visiting the jail.
"On average, there's usually, probably, 35, 40 visits. They usually take three to five family members back for each visitor, so it'll eliminate a lot of shuffling through the building,” he said.
Technicians are installing two video monitors in the jail lobby; more will be installed throughout the multiple inmate pods.
Visitors will be able to make video calls in the lobby, and, if approved, will be able to make calls from a home computer or mobile device.
Goodman said, "They have to apply. They have to have a photo ID and then they are approved by us. And everyone may not get approved if they don't have the proper credentials."
The new system will allow visitation six days a week instead of just one.
Each minute costs about 50 cents.
"It also generates income for the facility since we've lost so much money through the DOC," said Goodman.
As a safety measure, the jail will be able to live monitor each call and archive all calls to review later if necessary.
Homewav is the system where people can go to sign up for the visitation. Monitors are expected to be up and operational within the next week.