Lexington County jail visits will be by video only

07/11/2014 9:52 PM

07/11/2014 9:53 PM

Visits to inmates at the Lexington County jail will be by video only starting Monday.

The change ends the tradition of face-to-face visits between inmates and families through glass windows at the facility.

More visits can be handled through video simultaneously instead of in person, Sheriff Lewis McCarty said.

There were 665 inmates in the jail Friday.

Video visits also can be conducted from homes instead of coming to the jail in Lexington, officials said.

Chatting with inmates by video has been an option since November 2012, launched under McCarty’s predecessor.

Popularity of the technology has grown, officials said. Last year, 15,675 video visits took place.

“The plan was to handle visits exclusively via video visitation after our agency determined that the system was working effectively and meeting the needs of relatives of inmates,” McCarty spokesman Major John Allard said.

It also lessens security concerns that face-to-face visits can create.

Visiting by video exclusively is similar to what is done at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, officials said.

There are restrictions on when video visits at the Lexington County jail can happen, but an extra hour has been added on weeknights, officials said.

Anyone without Internet access and cameras needed for video visits can schedule use of equipped booths at the jail, officials said.

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