McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 7, 2013

Commissioners approve video visitation contracts for jail

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Pittsburg County commissioners approved a contract for the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office — a video visitation contract — during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

We already have video visitation equipment in place, said PCSO Undersheriff Richard Bedford, but the video monitors have been down. Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said plans are to switch servicers of the video visitation system to Securus, a company which currently handles PCSO’s phone systems.

The video visitation allows inmates at the Pittsburg County jail to visit with family members and loved ones via video feed from. Kerns says this process helps avoid face to face visitation. Kerns said face to face visitation can often lead to security threats, especially when inmate’s visitors try to smuggle in contraband such as drugs and cell phones.

The current video visitation system has had numerous problems, Bedford said. “Since the monitors have been down, we have had to do some face to face visitations.” Bedford the old video visitation equipment breaks down “all the time” and he believes the new system will alleviate those problems.

This new system will also allow people to “visit with offenders through the internet on their home computers,” Bedford said, “which will allow people from out of state to visit with their family members who are in jail here.”

Commissioners approved the contract pending review and signature by District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward.

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