Tenn. sheriff seeks videoconferencing in jail
The new technology would allow deputies to monitor and record calls between inmates and visitors and reduce the personal contact that might allow the transfer of illicit materials
By Ansley Haman
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond is pushing to bring videoconferencing to the county jail.
On Wednesday, he met with a Hamilton County Commission committee to discuss the possible benefits of providing an Internet-based way for inmates to communicate with visitors, attorneys and courts from their cell blocks.
"I see it as a win-win for the county," Hammond said. "I see it as a win-win as an investigative tool."
The new technology would allow deputies to monitor and record calls between inmates and visitors and reduce the personal contact that might allow the transfer of illicit materials, including drugs, Hammond said.
Commissioner Tim Boyd asked about the system's ability to allow lawyers to communicate with clients by video.
Vince Laurita, a Colorado-based representative of manufacturer Vizvox, said the technology would be password protected and conversations with lawyers would not be recorded.
Fulton County, Ga., uses the technology, Laurita said.
Vizvox provides the equipment for CTC Co. Inc., which provides the actual communications service.
Commissioner Mitch McClure told the vendors that, if the county decided to fund the new program, a competitive bid process will be necessary.
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