MORRISTOWN, NJ -- The Morris County Correctional Facility suspended in-person inmate visits on March 16 to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Since then, inmates have been separated from their families and friends and have only been able to speak to them by phone.
Soon the inmates will be able to connect virtually with their family and friends, said jail officials. The correctional facility was provided at least 85 Android tablets by GTL, a leader in technology and wireless solutions for correctional facilities, said officials.
Warden Christopher Klein noted that the tablets do not cost taxpayers any money. The cost of the tablet visit time spent by inmates is withdrawn from their commissary accounts by GTL. Inmates who lack funds will be allotted $3.75 a week from a special inmate welfare fund to engage in a 15-minute virtual visit with relatives.
“In these trying times, it’s very beneficial for inmates to have supportive contact with family,” Klein said.
Beyond virtual visits, the tablets also can be used to access approved educational and entertainment materials and in-house request forms, said officials. When visitation restrictions are lifted, inmates also may use the devices to visit virtually with relatives and friends who live out-of-state or cannot make in-person visits to the correctional facility.
Multiple safeguards are in place for use of the tablets:
- They run on GTL’s network security, a full-featured security access control software;
- Virtual visits can only be initiated by relatives and friends outside the facility;
- The tablet cameras used for virtual visits are operational only in secure visiting booths and not from within inmate cells; and
- Features that could present potential security risks have been removed, and inmates have no access to core device settings other than volume, rotation and brightness control.
Virtual visits will be allowed on the same days and times that in-person visits were permitted before the suspension, said officials. Use of the tablets for educational or entertainment purposes can occur whenever inmates are not locked in their cells at specific times. Regardless of the criminal charges they face, all inmates will have access to the tablets as long as they are in compliance with correctional facility rules.
Relatives and friends who wish to make virtual visits with an inmate at the Morris County Correctional Facility can go to www.gettingout.com/create-account to create an account to access the video visitation. Once the account is set up, funds can be deposited at www.gettingout.com/deposit-funds.