New technology makes jail visits efficient in Douglas Co.

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT)-- We all know technology is changing the way we live our day to day lives, and now, Douglas County is taking advantage of a new wave of technology at the jail, giving family and friends of inmates a more convenient way to visit.

“Historically, people were required to complete a paper application and either mail that in or drop it off at the facility,” said Amber Michalski, Administrative Services Manager.

Forget the paper; you can now complete your visitation application online. For those without internet access, a kiosk in the lobby now lets visitors apply right then and there, and this is just the beginning.

When it comes to visiting, the new technology is picture in picture, like FaceTime.

800 visitors have already created their account online, and jail officials say the public is happy with the change.

Right now, inmates are allowed two one-hour visits a week, and it's a first-come first-served basis. In the coming months, that will change.

“With the scheduling portion, it will allow friends and family to reserve a time slot in advance of when they're going to visit that inmate,” said Michalski.

The jail says it's all about being efficient and actually attracting more visitors.

“We found the more that inmates can interact with friends and family, the more successful they're going to be for reentry back into society and helping them through their incarceration.” Michalski said.

The jail is also excited to announce that soon visitors will be able to video chat with inmates remotely from home. They hope to implement that phase by the end of March.