Sheriff Donald Ash announced today that the Wyandotte County Detention Center is launching a new inmate video visitation program.
Currently in operation, the new HomeWAV system will allow family members and friends to schedule and conduct video visits with jail inmates using any suitable computer connected to the Internet, a spokesman said. The new visitation system will be available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
“Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facility visiting,” Ash said.
The Wyandotte County Detention Center has installed nine HomeWAV visitation stations—consisting of a telephone handset, keypad, webcam, PC, and video monitor—in day rooms for the inmates. The new visitation system gives the jail complete control of visits at all times with live monitoring, recording of all calls, and database access to visitation records.
HomeWAV is the first video visitation system in the state that allows family and friends to enjoy direct real-time video visits with an inmate from the comfort of their own home. For visitors the process works just like a phone call except that a computer or Smart Phone with a webcam and Internet access is required. The cost to the visitor is 50 cents per minute—typically less than a collect phone call. And unlike other visitation systems, since no jail personnel are involved in connecting the visit there is no need to schedule visits in advance.
Sheriff Ash said there is no cost to the jail or to taxpayers for the equipment, or installation, and maintenance is covered at no charge for the life of the contract. In fact, the system is expected to greatly reduce overall personnel costs for the jail by making the visitation process simpler and safer for all involved, he noted.
Sheriff Ash stated that after extensive testing and evaluation, the HomeWAV system was selected for its all-embracing features and ease of use.
“The new system presents tremendous advantages in time and cost savings, as well as contributing to increased safety and security for our facility,” he said.
“Let’s face it — visiting a loved one in an institutional environment, with the inherent security requirements, can be an unpleasant experience for anyone, especially children,” he said. “With this new system, family members are spared the expense, inconvenience, and emotional distress of coming into the jail to visit.”
The visitation system was developed by HomeWAV, LLC, a Virginia based company. “Our patent-pending technology is the most innovative and advanced web-based visitation system of its kind and the only one with no direct or indirect costs to the facility,” said HomeWAV founder and CEO Gary Humphries.
HomeWAV has facilities in 19 states under contract, according to Humphries. It was designed with guidance from jail administrators, with the facilities’ needs and operation uppermost in mind, rather than trying to make jails operate around the requirements of the visitation system, a spokesman said.
Since its launch in January 2012, Virginia-based HomeWAV has successfully managed more than hundreds of thousands of calls, tens of thousands of video messages and 1 million visitation minutes in 38 HomeWAV facilities in operation today, with facility personnel and users rating it highly for ease of use, reliability, and security. The system is being marketed nationwide to municipal, state and federal correctional facilities.
– Story from Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department