San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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July 27th, 2011
Hays County jail to offer video visitation

by KOLTEN PARKER

Inmates at Hays County Jail will be able to visit with family and attorneys by video starting next March through technology similar to Skype, the Internet-based phone service.

The Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a contract with Addison-based Securus Technologies, Inc. As part of the deal, the county also increased from 50 percent to 58 percent the share of commission it collects from inmates’ outgoing collect calls. The company also agreed to contribute $40,000 to the county to cover the cost of buying equipment to facilitate video conferencing and other technology.

“I am excited to see this cutting edge technology in use and generating revenue for the county,” County Judge Bert Cobb said.

The video visitation technology tackles security issues related to “face-to-face” visits such as drug contraband being brought in by visitors, transportation costs and staff. It will also allow inmates to digitally review and sign court documents from inside their cell.

Currently, inmates have access to collect calls and emails for communication outside the jail. The cost of the video call will be charged to the person receiving the call.

The county will begin collecting commission on video calls as well as traditional phone calls but the video commission rates have not been set.

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