At a press conference Thursday at Men’s Central Jail, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced the recent implementation of a new Inmate Visiting Scheduling Management System. The Sheriff’s Department has partnered with Renovo Software to enhance and improve the inmate visitation process through a program that started in February 2011. The Sheriff’s Department’s Custody Division consists of eight jail facilities, averages a daily inmate population of over 18,000 inmates, and approximately 150,000 bookings annually. It is the largest jail system in the nation and on average schedules approximately 20,000 visits per month. Prior to the implementation of this program, visiting a family member or loved one who is incarcerated was a tedious process which often included long waits for a thirty minute visit. Currently, there are over 134,000 registered visitors using the program’s scheduling software which enables the Sheriff’s Department to configure, manage, schedule, and automate visitation requests.
In an effort to effectively manage and streamline the inmate visitation process, the Sheriff’s Department has transitioned from the traditional, face-to-face walk-up visitations to online visitor registration and the scheduling of visits. As part of the first phase of the implementation, thirty video units have been deployed within select inmate housing units at all jail facilities (Twin Towers Custody Facility, Men’s Central Jail, Century Regional Detention Facility, Pitchess Detention Center, Los Angeles County Medical Center, Lakewood Station and San Dimas Station). Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department has also installed five scheduling kiosks located at key locations (Twin Towers Custody Facility, Men’s Central Jail and Century Regional Detention Facility) to provide the public with a means to register and schedule their visits. An additional 4 video units are expected to be installed at Palmdale and Norwalk Stations by July 2013. Instead of waiting in long lines for hours, not knowing if a visit will be available, dealing with complex visitation schedules and inmate unavailability, visitors can now easily go online to register and schedule visits up to a week in advance by logging on to https://visit.lasd.org. For those without internet access, the kiosks at each visitation center will allow the public to access and conveniently schedule their visits. Both of these options have helped to reduce the long lines and unpredictability of inmate visitations. Appointments scheduled online are confirmed immediately with an email and should the inmate be moved, released, and/or put on restriction, the system will likewise notify the visitor by email and phone message of the cancellation.
Phase 2 and 3 of the program will involve video visitation units at every custody facility and sheriff’s station to allow for both personal and professional visits. Ultimately, the public and professional visitors will have the choice to use an on-site video station to conduct their visits remotely through the use of a personal computer, Smart Phone or Tablet.
The new Visiting Scheduling Management System has improved security in the custody facilities, has reduced contraband and criminal information exchange. It has also reduced inmate movement, which enhances security for all inmates and staff in the jail facilities. The first phase of the program was funded by the Inmate Welfare Fund, which is generated from inmate phone usage, commissary sales, and some public donations.
The software was procured from Renovo Software and the video hardware equipment from Southern Folger, both recognized as leaders in their respective industry. Renovo Software and Southern Folger have provided our organization with an inmate visitation management solution which has satisfied our unique correctional environment needs by providing products with combined security, data, reporting, and other specialized services and support.
The new Inmate Visiting Scheduling Management System has not only helped our jail facilities reallocate staffing resources to higher priorities, but has served the larger community by removing some of the barriers that exist for visiting those who are incarcerated. The results are increased visitation opportunities for inmates and reduced recidivism rates in the community. “This advanced system offers inmates a way to connect better with their families and provides an improved visiting environment,” said Sheriff Baca.
For more information on the New Inmate Visiting Scheduling Management System, visit the Sheriff’s Department home page at www.lasd.org.