Can you hear me now?

Jail finds new ways for inmates to connect with family

In the past, an inmate could only have familial contact three ways: visitation, phone calls or letters. The Marshall County Jail has upped the ante and found new ways for the prisoner to stay connected with their families. Some people might say that they are inmates and do not deserve anything more than three hots and a cot. However, studies show there are multiple benefits for allowing a prisoner multiple ways to stay in contact with family.

Dr. James Woodall from Leeds Beckett University did a study on prisoners and family visits. Woodall found that the visits help boost the prisoner’s well-being, having contact with family and the outside world keeps them from becoming institutionalized and it generally keeps the inmate from reoffending once they are integrated back into society.

Keeping all these benefits in mind, along with the various other ones, Marshall County Sheriff Danny Cryer researched a way to implement a new system into the jail. The new system is a video chat and text message system.

The video chat system is a kiosk that is mounted on the wall in each cell. The inmate can log in with their ID and password and choose from a few different options. The prisoner can text a family member for fifty cents per text or video chat with a family member. The video chat set up is similar to the old fashioned phone calls — which are still available — the only difference is the video, of course, and the price. The cost to video chat is a tad bit pricier than a jail phone call.



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