Jail offers new online visitation system


Modern technology is replacing some of the traditional walk-in visitation at the W. C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center.

A new system recently installed at the jail allows Internet based video visitation, according to Sheriff’s Department Operations Commander Major Lafayette Woods Jr.

The Home WAV (Web Access Visitation) system at the jail is the first in the state, Woods said. The equipment is owned by the sheriff’s department, with free maintenance for the term of the contract, five years.

Woods said a computer has been set up in the common area of each of the jail’s nine pods, so all detainees have equal access to them.

“The detainees themselves can not initiate the contact,” Woods said. “It has to be initiated by a person outside who gets on the website and pays for minutes. Once that is done, the detainee can use their inmate number, which is their personal identification number to access the system.”

The Home WAV website, www.homewav.com, allows members of the general public to create an account and purchase minutes, at a cost of 50 cents per minute, with a minimum of one minute, and a maximum of 20 minutes. Messages are $1 per minute, and payment can be made by credit/debit cards, PayPal and third party e-commerce.

Use of the system by detainees is restricted by detention center administrators and only allowed between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, Woods said.

All calls are recorded and can be monitored for improper use including lewd and explicit activity, which would result in access to the system being denied.

“So far, we have not had any incidents of lewd or explicit activity nor have we received any intelligence about that kind of activity on the system,” Woods said.

One of the main goals of the new visitation system is to provide both the detainee and his or her family with an easy and convenient way to keep in touch while minimizing security related incidents or concerns during walk-in visits, Woods said. The Internet system also reduces the number of visitors entering the facility.

“So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Woods said. “For some detainees whose loved ones don’t have a vehicle or transportation, this allows them to stay in contact and it’s also a lot less expensive than making phone calls.”

Currently, phone users are charged $3.80 per minute, while users of the new system are charged 50 cents per minute, and messages cost $1 per minute.

In addition to traditional computers, Woods said the Home WAV system will support more than 120 mobile devices including smartphones, iPads, tablets and the like.

According to Woods, the detention center receives 20 percent, or 10 cents per minute per call, with the department receiving payments monthly.