By Jade Cunningham
The Miller County Detention Center goes high-tech.
They just installed a video chat system called HomeWAV.
It’ll be used by the prisoners and those wanting to see them.
Officials are calling this the wave of the future.
They installed the program a few weeks ago.
“You can imagine with 250 inmates, how many families are here two nights a week,” said Sheriff Ron Stovall.
Visiting an inmate isn’t easy.
But thanks to a new computer program, it can be.
“This is the new HomeWAV System.”
Like Skype, it’s a video chat.
As long as you have internet, visitation can be done without leaving the home.
“It’s so convenient especially for families who live long distances away,” said Stovall. “They now can connect on the internet with the inmates.”
The Miller County Detention Center is one of the first in the state (if not the first) to use it.
And they say there’s nothing like it.
“We’re expecting good things from this,” Stovall said.
The program is a win-win for all.
There’s no cost to the jail, or tax payers to run Homewav.
“This was installed by a company that makes its revenue from a percent of the cost that the inmates pay to make the call.”
It also keeps the prisoners and their friends and families’ morale high.
“I would think that there would be a level of comfort for the inmate to be able to look at his family when he talks to them,” said Stovall. “One of the best things is that it’s low cost, it’s cheaper than transportation costs for families who drive great distances.”
Each chat is 15 minutes and is monitored by security personnel.
“There is no reasonable expectation of privacy by an inmate unless it’s a legal issue.”
The program is still in the early stages of use.
But so far, the response has been good.
Facility officials also hope the program will help with visitor overcrowding.
They say that because people can now use the program on their computer or phone, that visitation will now be cut hopefully by 50%.