Angelina Co. jail looking to add new video visitation

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Many inmates in the state have been able to video chat with friends, family and lawyers as a new form of communication. Wednesday, Angelina County officials were shown a demonstration of the newest form of video conferencing technology.

It is a system that can withstand an unruly inmate. Vizvox has been developed to reduce transport costs and hassles of on-site visitation.

"Its technology that we need to catch up with. We're here in a day in time where there's a lot of technology that helps and improves the management of the jail or even the sheriff's department," Sheriff Greg Sanches said.

The newest form of technology for jails can also help alleviate the work load for security staff.

"If it reduces man power, which in return helps the inmate that's a good thing. That's what we'll be looking at," Sanches said.

While the new warden, Greg Dawson and sheriff look into new resources to help manage the jail, visitors will continue to make contact visits with inmates on Wednesday and Sundays.

The newest form of visitation won't be the only possible feature added to the jail. A new alert system for inmates while making phone calls was also demonstrated Wednesday.

"They can actually set up a number of an inmate ID that's dialing and when that inmate dials, that ID number it will actually alert them by cell phone by whatever number they set up. If that alert happens, it actually calls officers and alerts them," Brad Burgess, Citi Tele Coin, Inc. regional sales director said.

The new phone alert and video chat system will benefit more than just staff.

"It will generate money back into the county; that's good for the tax payer," Sanches said.

The sheriff and warden are hopeful to add the new features to the Angelina County jail but have not made a sure decision yet.

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