Angelina County Jail installs kiosks offering inmates new communication option
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Inmates in the Angelina County Jail now have a new way of communicating with family and friends.
The touch screen kiosks that were installed Thursday allow the inmates to do a variety of things, while also allowing the jail to be more proficient. Nick Gardner, the Assistant Warden at Angelina County Jail, said they are available to any inmate unless they are prohibited by some disciplinary action.
“When you’re doing pencil and paper, metrics have always been difficult to obtain. But with a system that is digital like this, you know you can run reports and see different numbers and things like that. So it is a little easier for us to gauge not just quality, but quantity as well,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the kiosks offer a law library. He said this is an easy and quick way to provide information to inmates who wish to represent themselves in court. Previously, they would have to transfer these inmates downtown.
“I think it’s a good thing for inmates when we have situations, especially like with COVID. Recently, we had to, unfortunately, shut down the visitation and volunteer services, which negatively impacts the jail climate,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the jail commission often asks the county jail if they have an alternate way for inmate visitation, and up until now, they did not.
“The whole system and the installation, the equipment, the hardware, software, everything was completely free from the vendor we were already using. We’ve had a contract with that vendor for a while and it’s a service that they provide to county jails” Gardner said.
Gardner said they installed one kiosk for every multiple-occupancy cell and two in every dormitory.
“Video visitation cannot take the place of traditional face-to-face visitation, it supplements it. We will continue to allow face-to-face visitation like we always have, this is just additional to that. If we do have to close it down because of COVID or something like that, we now have an alternative.”
Many other counties in East Texas already have the kiosk services installed including Polk, Jasper, and Cherokee County.
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