Video visitation will soon be only option for Knox inmates

In a couple of weeks, if you want to visit an inmate in the Knox County jail, you'll have to do it by video chat.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office demonstrated the new video visitation for the media on Friday.

This means there will be no more face-to-face inmate visitation. Instead, visitors will have to purchase time for an online session. You can use your home computer and schedule the chat a week in advance.

It costs forty cents a minute, or about $12 dollars for a half hour.

Currently there is no cost to visit an inmate.

There is still a free option, but it requires visitors to come to the jail to use the public kiosks.

KCSO says they have had positive feedback from families during their test phase.

"It saves the families from having to drive all the way from the detention facility, they can do this from home. They can have multiple people there visiting at home," said KCSO Chief Rodney Bivens.

In addition to saving traveling expenses for families, Bivens said it will also save families time. Currently, he said, visitation days create problems with dozens of visitors packed into the jail. He said visitors often do not get to see their loved one after they've waited because there is not enough room or time.

Bivens said they hope this will cut down on contraband brought into the jail as well. He added he believes it will also have less impact on children who come to visit.

The kiosks will have a number of other functions, including the ability to post bond and access the online law library. In the future, they hope to take all of the inmate paper work digital, such as medical request forms and grievances.

The jail is currently allowing inmates and families to test the system. They expect the scheduling to open the second week of April.

Like phone calls, all conversations will be recorded and can be subpoenaed and used against a defendant.


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