Unified Communications Featured Article

Telemate's Inmate Communication Solution Caused Drop in the Violence in Utah County Jail

June 04, 2014

What is geographical barrier with the technology like Skype and FaceTime? From classrooms to courtrooms and from corporate board rooms to health care facilities- people all over the world are taking advantage of these technologies to interact in the virtual world. Utah County Jail has recently invested in video conferencing technologies from Telemate to help families stay connected to their behind-the-bar loved ones.

Jails have long ceased to be the machineries of punishment, at least in the USA. They rather emphasize on correction, so that once out of jail, the inmates are able to lead a normal life on their own. It has been noticed that interaction with their loved ones creates positive impact on the behavior of the inmates. Thus interactions between the inmates and their loved ones are generally encouraged. However, geographical distance and security issues often make such meetings complex and challenging. The authorities at Utah County Jail leveraged technology to overcome these limitations. The 950 inmates in its Spanish Fork facility now have the option to stay virtually connected to friends and family members, through video conferencing. This facilitates a practical, two-way communication between the inmates and their loved ones without requiring the latter to travel all the way to the Utah County Jail.

There are many reasons why the initiative has received thumbs up from various quarters. First of all, tax payers have no reason to be dissatisfied with the arrangement. According to Utah County Jail, it comes at no cost to the taxpayer.

In addition, the environmentally conscious have reason to be happy, as it cuts down on significant amount of gas consumption by the family members. With video conferencing, loved ones no longer have to drive all the way to the jail to visit their imprisoned family members.

For the family members, this translates into significant financial saving. It has been estimated that on average, a family member is likely to spend up to $20 in gas; whereas it will cost them under $0.35 per minute while visiting remotely over video. Not only does video conferencing save a significant amount of money, but time as well. Above all, a lot of precious time of the family members will be saved if the meeting takes place remotely.

The benefits of the new system do not stop there. The technology is likely to enhance safety and security at the facility. First of all, it will reduce the overall traffic in the waiting area and it will help limit inmate transportation. More importantly, the physical separation of inmates from the visitors will help reduce the risks of importing contraband such as drugs, weapons and SIM cards.

San Francisco based inmate communications provider Telemate, is providing the facility with phone, email and video visitation. This replaces the Utah County Jail’s existing communication vendor.

Telmate Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hansen insisted that video visitation is the most efficient way for an inmate’s friends and family members to stay in touch.

“With remote video visitation, friends and family can say goodbye to long drives, uncomfortable waits and harsh surroundings as they enjoy a more personal visit from the comfort of their own home,” he pointed out.

With Telmate video visitation and other tools, inmates at Utah County Jail have reportedly found a means to stay connected and occupy their time with productive activity. These translated into a drop in both inmate-to-inmate and inmate-to-staff violence.


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