East Texas jail adds virtual visits with inmates to keep COVID exposures at bay

Inmates can use virtual visits for long distance relatives, or local family members who may have the virus
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:26 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - In a continuing effort to fight COVID-19, an East Texas jail is offering a new way for inmates to receive visitation from family.

The Gregg county jail has an ‘all purpose’ system for visitation , ‘without’ having to make the trip to the jail.

Most East Texas jails postponed visitation of inmates when Covid-19 became a very real danger to the officers, inmates and visitors.

“With visitation not only do you have people coming in from the outside world, but you also have inmate movement within the jail,” said lieutenant Josh Tubb of the Gregg county sheriff’s office.

Covid had ravaged the Gregg county jail which at one time had over 40 inmates and over 40 staff members that tested positive for the virus.

The answer to visitatioin was a video kiosk.

Previously all inmates had was a telephone. Now they can use the video system kiosk in many different ways.

“Their family can send digital pictures. Message them on the computer. Inmates can read their mail on a monitor. They can do it via video, meaning they don’t have to be exposed to Covid, we don’t have to move inmates around. Inmates may have family far off that can’t visit, well this allows them to do that,” Tubb says.

And there’s a mobile version.

“We have one that we can clean and pass it form cell to cell,” the lieutenant says.

Normal in-person visitation is still allowed, but most of it is now being done using the video system.

Like in-person visits, video visitation must be scheduled.

There is a ‘cost-per-minute’ for use.

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