FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) – Virtual visitation services at the Washington County Jail are up and running after being disconnected but now the service is under a new contractor.
Just a few days ago, there was different equipment inside the visitation center and black screens. That’s changed since Sheriff Tim Helder says the jail signed with Tech Friends.
Smart Communications ran the jail’s visitation system but contract disputes and the sheriff’s office dissatisfaction with the service led them to part ways.
Helder says they were expecting to make the transition to a new company at the end of the month. That changed when Smart Communications pulled the plug last week suddenly shutting off services.
Helder says the new partnership allows detainees one free 30-minute remote video visitation a week and the fees either stayed the same or lowered. That will save money for people on either side of the screen.
“We recognize the importance of those that are in our detention center to have contact with the outside world,” Helder said. “It’s the right thing to do, it’s the humane thing to do but it’s also a management tool for us. They need to speak to their family members and loved ones.”
Helder says with the new partnership – mail sent into the jail will be scanned and a digital copy of notes and letters will be given to inmates to crack down on contraband.
He also wants to remind people that it doesn’t cost a cent to visit your loved one in person.
From the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page: DETAINEE POSTAL MAIL: Now that we have transitioned to Summit Foods/Tech Friends, non-legal mail must be sent electronically through www.JailATM.com or mailed to the following address: JailATM.com – Washington County Detention Center INMATE ID: INMATE FULL NAME
500 Amity Rd, Ste 5B PMB 53
Conway, AR 72032