Chippewa County now offering stay-at-home jail visitations - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Chippewa County now offering stay-at-home jail visitations

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Chippewa County jail inmates may soon be scheduling more visitations, and it's all thanks to technology. The jail's outdated gear was recently replaced with software similar to Skype.

Visiting inmates in Chippewa County no longer requires setting foot in the jail itself. You'll now be able to visit from anywhere with a computer and the Internet.

"People who live far away or have difficulty getting to the facility will now be able to visit from the comfort of their home. The public will have the opportunity to visit with their loved ones essentially ten times more often, so they're going to have vastly expanded visitation hours," said Rachel Stone, Securus Technologies Account Manager.

To visit inmates from home, all you need to do is create an account on the Securus web site, submit a visitation request, and then schedule a visit.

"We have seven operating visitation booths and one remote or mobile unit. So the system will automatically fill those up and then when those slots are completely full, nobody else will be able to register for that time," Stone explained.

The technology costs the county $2,000. People using the video visitation from home will pay $20 for a minimum of 20 minutes. Visitations being done from home also work to the jail's advantage.

"A visitation done off-site has less time incurred by our jail staff and in essence is a lot easier to entertain than an on-site visitation," said Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk of the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department.

Regular on-site visitation hours are only offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays, where as these online visits can be scheduled 7 days a week.

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