- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - The Lowndes County Adult Detention Center is planning on installing kiosks that officials say will put the facility on the cutting edge among other jails in the state by allowing inmates to send emails and receive digital photos.

The facility received 13 new email kiosks Monday from the manufacturer, Smart Communications Inc., which is paying for the equipment and installation cost, which is worth about $46,000, The Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1L79qEd ) reports.

Jail administrator Capt. Richard Jones said the kiosks should be installed within the next few weeks.

“There’s only one other facility in the state of Mississippi that I know that has this, and that’s DeSoto County,” Jones said. “We actually went to DeSoto County to observe these in action … I asked (an inmate) how hard it was to use and he said it’s no problem at all.”

Inmates will be charged 50 cents to send emails and $1 to receive a digital photo. An information booklet from Smart Communications says the company shares a percentage of generated revenue with the correctional facility.

The system, which features a built-in screen and keyboard, will allow inmates to email attorneys, families and friends, Jones said. Inmates cannot send photos, but can receive them. All communications will be monitored, he said.

“We’ll have one individual that’s specifically designated to look at it,” he said. “They’ll either hit the OK button or decline it.”

Inmates will also be able to use the kiosks to make electronic requests for supplies, such as medicine, that previously had to be handwritten. Jones said that functionality should, in addition to saving money through reduced paper usage, increase efficiency and accountability for inmate requests.

The kiosks will also allow inmates to look up legal information, although Internet browsing is not an option.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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