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Westmoreland County Prison to start video visits

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:27 p.m.

Video visits at Westmoreland County Prison are expected to begin sometime in August, Warden John Walton told the prison board on Monday.

Equipment has been installed in several units at the jail, and a two-week free visit period will occur before the system officially goes online, hopefully no later than Sept. 1, Walton said.

“There will be some type of a trial period,” he said.

Board members voted in March to install the system that could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the county over the next five years. Inmates currently are permitted up to three one-on-one, in-person visits per week at the jail. The sessions are 30 minutes.

The new system will allow a group of family members or friends to visit the inmate live through Web cameras up to twice weekly. The 25-minute sessions will cost $15, with about $12.75 of that directed to the county's general fund.

The system, according to the March vote, cost $92,678. Renovo Software of Edina, Minn., is overseeing operations.

Walton said that once the system is up and running, inmate visitations will change to one in-person session at the jail and as many as two video visitations weekly. He believes the video option will relieve long waits at the jail on visit days and fuel costs for families of inmates.

The video visits will be recorded, Walton said. Information will be disseminated to family and friends of inmates before the service begins.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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