August 9, 2013
The Kent County Jail in Grand Rapids, Michigan began using Renovo Software's video visitation system over three years ago. In April of 2013, Kent County adopted a new feature to allow for at-home video visitation—also referred to as remote video visitation or internet video visitation. In addition, visitors can now purchase additional on-site video visitations after an inmate has reached the weekly visitation limit.
At-home internet visits at the Kent County Jail are currently offered for $4 or $10 for a 10 or 25 minute visit, respectively. At-home internet visitations do not count against an inmate's weekly visitation limit. Additional on-site video visitations can be purchased for $15. Visitors can schedule on-site or at-home video visitations by registering at http://www.renovosoftware.com/kentcounty.
Kent County Jail Capt. Randy Demory stated, "It's actually cheaper than the inmate phone system, than a regular phone call. Our sense is it's catching on pretty fast. The people we have talked to really like it, the convenience of it."
Nearly 2,000 at-home internet visitations were conducted at Kent County from May 1 through July 21, generating nearly $10,000. Internet video visitation offers the convenience of visiting from home and avoiding travel to the facility, while the jail benefits from revenue generation, less on-site visitation check-ins, and a decrease in security risk at the facility.
At-home video visitation is monitored and recorded just like on-site video visitation, and jail staff have the ability to end a visit if a visitor or inmate violates the rules of conduct.
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