LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – New technology in the Lubbock County Detention Center is giving inmates more options to connect with family and friends.
When the detention center opened in 2010, all the technology was up to speed for the time. During those years, visitors were able to go to the jail and video chat with inmates. Now, people can connect with their loved ones without ever leaving home.
“Today, every piece of technology that we have in the detention center is new,” Chief Deputy Cody Scott said.
Along with a county-wide software change, the new technology includes a major update to visitation. Families can now reach their loved ones at the detention center remotely.
Through the new system, you sign up for an account and can call, message, video chat or send photos from your phone or tablet at home.
“Which makes it better for those who have family out of town, out of state. They don’t have to travel into Lubbock anymore,” Scott said.
Remote video visitations are 10 cents a minute, photos are a dollar each and each e-message costs 50 cents. There’s one tablet for every six inmates, who will be able to access them in a common area during specific times of the day. The tablets are monitored to keep the facility safe. Video chats use facial recognition, blacking out every part of the screen except faces.
“Those tablets also have the ability where they can have E-books. There’s movies they can watch. Some of it’s free content, some of it’s paid for. So, it’s enhanced things quite a bit,” Scott said.
Scott says this creates a better environment at the jail, relieving stress for inmates and officers.
“A lot of issues that you have in jail are because of boredom, so this takes a lot of that boredom away,” Scott said.
The upgrade also changes the way mail is processed at the jail. Now, letters are scanned and the photos are uploaded to the inmates’ tablets. Scott says this limits the opportunity for contraband to come in through the mail, helping officers manage the facility.
Sergeant Shaina Hart has also streamlined the jail’s tracking and reporting system. Instead of manually typing in data for each inmate on the computer, an officer can report daily activity for groups from the palm of their hand.
“My project is the Spartan scanner. This is basically to make our officers’ job easy. They do their security checks. They do cell checks for the inmates. They do head count, meals. All of that is stored in this,” Hart said.
If you don’t want to pay to use the remote services, video visitation at the detention center is still free. Scott says with the upgrade, the jail went from 30 people visiting per hour to less than five. To contact your inmate from home, you can create an account at SmartJailMail.com.
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