Following the recent completion of expansion projects at the Smith County Jail's Low-Risk Facility, off U.S. Highway 69 North in Tyler, Smith County Sheriff's Office officials unveiled a new video visitation service at the facility that connects visitors with inmates at both Low-Risk and the Central Jail downtown, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
Visitation hours remain the same, but all visitation now will takes place over a private, secure video link instead of in person, the release states.
Sheriff's office officials said the change streamlines the 20-minute visits and provides easier parking for visitors.
“Technology has allowed most of us to communicate through computers, smart phones, iPads and other devices,” Sheriff Larry Smith said in the release. “This same comfortable form of communication is now available to those who want to visit with inmates at either jail location.”
The new system includes five stations that are wheelchair accessible, the release states. Currently, 20 of the 30 visitation booths are available. The remaining 10 will be in service soon.
A kiosk is located in the visitor's lobby at Low-Risk that provides visitors the capability to go online and post bond for an inmate or deposit funds that an inmate can access for commissary purchases for items such as snacks, drinks and sundries, the release states.
The video visitation system and online kiosk were provided for and funded through the new jail construction project. Deputies who previously manned the visitor's desk at the Central Jail downtown are now available 24 hours a day at the Smith County Sheriff's Office administration building, 227 N. Spring Street, to answer questions and assist the public.