DeSoto County Jail will soon only allow video visitation

(WMC-TV) - The DeSoto County jail is about to change to a new video only system for visitors.

The jail is trying to crackdown on contraband and they say video visitation is the only way to do it.

Sheriff Bill Rasco seems very excited about the new electronic system aimed at keeping jail inmates safe while keeping illegal items out.

The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors approved a contract for jail video visitation operations that DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco hopes will keep forbidden items including drugs and other contraband out of the jail.

"After visitation is over with we've found contraband stuck in certain places that when you have trustees doing the labor around here and they go in and out of the jail facility, they'll pick up the contraband and take it back in," said Sheriff Rasco.

Under the new system, visitors will go to the current jail once inmates are moved to a new facility under construction, and the visitors will interact with prisoners from there by video.

"It's a video system where the inmate can call. He'll have an ID number he can call and reach his family and talk to them and view them through video," explained Rasco.

The phone and video visitation system is a part of a $16 million new jail project. It is a new 65,000 square foot facility off U.S. 51 South that will open in October.

Under the five-year agreement, Securus Technologies Incorporated will pay the county $100,000 to install the system. The sheriff's department will get half of the fees inmates pay for phone calls.

"This piece of equipment is going to be theirs. They're going to maintain it, if it breaks down it won't cost the county one thing. The people who are providing the equipment will service the equipment," said Rasco.

Once the hardware is installed, Rasco says there won't be any need for the public in the new jail facility.

The new jail is also expected to have special rooms for medical intake assessments and attorney consultation visits.

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