Eau Claire County’s New Jail Introduces Video Technology for Visitations

September 14, 2012

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The new platform will increase the efficiency of the visitation process—consequently reducing operational costs while allowing the facility to conduct significantly more visits each day.

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A new jail in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin will use a system developed by Minneapolis based Renovo Software to offer inmate visitation using video conference technology.

On Monday September 17th, Eau Claire County's new jail will become one of only a handful of counties in Wisconsin to offer inmate visitations via video. The visitation system was installed by Wisconsin based Legacy Communications LLC as part of the larger scope of work they managed for the Eau Claire County jail project. The visitation platform, developed by Minneapolis based Renovo Software, will increase the efficiency of the visitation process—consequently reducing operational costs while allowing the facility to conduct significantly more visits each day. Eau Claire will use Renovo's system to configure, manage, schedule, and automate visitations while allowing visitors to schedule visits online.

To visit an inmate at the old Eau Claire County Jail, visitors had to wait in long lines during busy days and were sometimes turned away due to an inmate being moved, put on restriction, or having already met their visitation quota. Inmates had to be escorted to and from the visitation area. Without a predictable visitation schedule, officers could not efficiently plan escorts and coordinate efforts. As a result of these unpredictable and time consuming processes, additional staff were required on duty.

At the new jail, inmate video visitations stations are placed directly in inmate housing pods with an average of two stations per pod. The visitor video stations are located in a room in the main lobby of the facility and separated by privacy partitions. The video visitation stations were provided by San Antonio based Southern Folger. Placing the inmate video visitation stations directly in inmate housing units and the visitor station in the lobby means officers will no longer need to escort inmates and visitors. This strategic placement will all but eliminate the contraband introduced by visitors into the facility.

Beyond the cost and time savings for the facility, the new video visitation system also saves the visitors time. Visitors can now go online to http://jailvisit.co.eau-claire.wi.us to easily register for and schedule visits with an inmate. "The system is designed to allow facilities like Eau Claire to configure the software with their specific policies, procedures, quotas, and restrictions," explained Brian Peters, Director of Customer Accounts for Renovo Software. "When a visitor schedules a visit the inmate's location, restrictions, quota, and availability are all automatically taken into account. Visitors receive a scheduling confirmation, and if it gets cancelled, they're automatically notified via phone and email."

Along with managing onsite video visitation, Eau Claire County Jail can eventually offer visits over the internet with the same monitoring and recording requirements as their onsite video visitations. Peters states "While Eau Claire County doesn't currently offer visitation over the internet, they have that capability with this system. If and when it is right for the jail administration we can turn that functionality on for them."

Peters concluded, "the main purpose of a system like this is to save the jail money on operating costs; reduce contraband; and make the jail safer, less chaotic, and more manageable for officers, inmates, and family and friends visiting those inmates."

About Renovo

For almost a decade, Renovo's visitation management solution has helped both large and small correctional facilities cut the chaos out of their visitation centers. With over 100 customers across the US, Renovo's visitation solution continues to introduce next generation features and functionality.

In addition, Renovo offers the most advanced revenue generation options of any solution on the market, helping facilities achieve maximum efficiency with minimal budgets. Whether offering on-premise video visits, internet video visits or simply scheduling and managing face-to-face visits, Renovo can help correctional facilities find efficiencies, cut costs, and generate revenue each step of the way.