Jun 21, 2013 7:15 PM by Akeam Ashford
Next week, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office will start a new program to better connect families who have loved one's behind bars. The jail will introduce new video conferencing kiosks.
Deputies say the new system will not cost taxpayers a penny. It's being provided by a company called Telmate, which will also be responsible for maintaining the service. It's essentially like Skype or Facetime for inmates; with kiosks located in several areas in the jail.
The new system will require family and friends to register before they can use the system.
The same restrictions apply to these virtual visitations as in-the-flesh visits. For instance, if an inmate is on probation for bad behavior, their access to the kiosks could be limited.
Director of Corrections Rob Reardon says the system will provide family members an opportunity to get closer to their loved ones.
"From a flexibility standpoint the families can actually determine their own schedule, as opposed to how we had it in the past," says Reardon. "We had to actually tell them when they could visit."
Officials say the new system will also increase security, since the system can cut down on inmate transfers to the visitation area and decrease the number of visitors physically going inside the jail.
Telmate will have the new system installed and ready to use Monday morning.