Free, public visitation area reopened at Douglas County jail

Douglas County loosening its restrictions on jail visitation that were put in place during the COVID pandemic.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 4:35 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The free, public visitation space at the Douglas County Corrections Center is open once again, giving families an easier, less costly, way to see their loved ones.

6 News spoke with families over the summer who said their only option at that time was to pay for remote video chats. Restrictions imposed during the pandemic stuck around, turning families away from the facility.

In June, the Director of the Douglas County Department of Corrections explained to 6 News how virtual court sticking around post-pandemic limited space in the jail because it shifted attorney visits into the public visitation area and the two can’t mix.

As a result, public visitation had to be bumped, said Michael Myers, the director.

Now, three new soundproof booths create the much-needed space for inmates to attend virtual court; it also opens the public visitation area for families to video chat with their loved ones for free.

The three booths cost about $30,000 in total.

“You do see people holding their kids up in front of their screen so that if they have a parent here, they can have that direct communication with them, so it’s good to see,” said Myers. “I believe if nothing else, it’s a public safety issue. The more that our folks who are incarcerated stay connected with positive influences and stabilizing influences in their life, the better off they’re going to be when they get out, which hopefully translates to fewer victims of crime in the future.”

The current hours for people to visit the jail are from 2:30 to 10:30 pm on weekdays and all day during the weekends and holidays. People can also still remote video chat, but that will cost $12 per half hour, according to their website.