San Francisco Jail Utilizing Visitation Technology to Gain Efficiency

September 12, 2013

San Francisco Sheriff's Department
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This technology provides a unique opportunity to not only reduce costs and improve efficiency, but at the same time, provide a safer environment, better service to the community, and even reduce recidivism rates.

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The San Francisco County Jail will use new visitation technologies from Renovo Software to improve inmate visitation by reducing lines and eliminating inconveniences within the visitation process.

In an effort to streamline inmate visitation, the San Francisco County Jail will soon utilize an advanced online registration, scheduling and management platform developed by Minneapolis based Renovo Software. Visitors will be able to register and schedule visits from their smartphones or PC’s, and automatic notifications will be sent if the visit is cancelled.

Visiting inmates at the 2,200 bed San Francisco County Jail used to require waiting in long lines and crowded lobbies while facility staff manually checked all the restrictions, policies, inmate locations, and weekly limits to see if each visit was permitted. Family and friends could travel long distances and wait in line only to find out an inmate had been put on restriction or had another visit. The unpredictable process of first-come, first-served inmate visitation can result in a stressful environment and a heavy burden on often understaffed correctional facilities.

Soon visitors will simply log in at https://sf.renovosoftware.com, select an inmate, and choose from available visitation times. “Our system is designed to help correctional facilities be more efficient with their staff and resources,” said Tim Eickhoff, Owner and Managing Partner at Renovo Software. “By configuring it with San Francisco’s specific policies, restrictions, and quotas, the system can automatically take the inmate’s availability into account. It’s more convenient for visitors, and the time and cost savings for correctional facilities can be substantial.”

Over 100 other correctional facilities including Los Angeles County and the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas, Nevada are already using Renovo’s system to manage inmate visitation. Since visitors only need to show up at the predetermined time, visits are more evenly spread throughout the day. Reduced crowds decrease the risk of conflict in the visitation lobby, and facility staff can easily manage restrictions and keep-separates through a single, web-based interface.

Furthermore, eliminating barriers in the visitation process has the potential to lead to more visits—an important factor in inmate morale and successful reintegration after release. “Visitation has a broad impact within correctional facilities,” said Eickhoff. “This technology provides a unique opportunity to not only reduce costs and improve efficiency, but at the same time, provide a safer environment, better service to the community, and even reduce recidivism rates.”

About Renovo

Renovo Software’s visitation management platform, VisManager, is designed to help jails and prisons improve efficiency, cut costs, and generate revenue through visitation. Renovo has aided large and small correctional facilities across the continent in streamlining inmate visitation for almost a decade. Renovo’s comprehensive system manages, schedules, and automates on-premise video visits, internet video visits and face-to-face visits through a single web-based interface. With over 100 visitation customers across North America, Renovo continues to introduce next generation features and functionality.