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County jail introduces computer visitation time for inmates

Most Florida parents who wish to see their children can do so, if not every day, than on a regular basis as part of a child custody or visitation time arrangement. But some parents cannot spend regular visitation with their kids, because they are incarcerated, either because they are convicted of a crime or they are awaiting the resolution of their case.

A county jail in another state is turning to modern technology to give its inmates a brief glimpse of home. The jail has started offering Internet video sessions between inmates and their families and friends. The county sheriff describes the initiative as a “win-win for everyone.”

Under the system, someone who wants to have a remote visit with an inmate can schedule one at the sheriff’s office’s website. Then, at the appointed time, the “visitor” can see and hear the inmate through their computer monitor and speakers. The sessions are free until July 15, when visitors will have to pay $10 for a 20-minute session.

The sheriff said that the system will be safer for guards and inmates, because they will reduce contact between each other. They also make visits more convenient for relatives and friends who live out of state. They could also give inmates a glimpse of home, including their children, which could help convince them to rethink some things in their lives.

Hopefully, none of our readers will ever be separated from their children because of incarceration. But it is possible that they will have to fight for their parental rights after a divorce. People in that situation need to work with their family law attorney to obtain a fair child custody plan.

Source: The Pilot, “Detention Center Starting Online Visitation,” Tom Embrey, July 1, 2014

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