Kiosks installed at Adams County jail

Published 12:12 am Monday, October 27, 2014

NATCHEZ — Ordering commissary in the Adams County jail is now a lot like going to the ATM with a delay.

So is asking for a medical visit or filing a complaint.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office recently installed kiosks in all of the jail’s cell blocks and in the jail lobby that ACSO officials say they hope will streamline some of the jail’s non-safety related functions.

The kiosk acts as an electronic commissary, bonding machine and medical booking device, ACSO Jail Administrator Capt. Ed Tucker said.

“With the kiosk in the lobby, when the family members come into the jail lobby, they can add funds to (the inmate’s) commissary accounts,” Tucker said. “Those funds, the inmates have control of that, and if they want to take that money and use it to fund phone time or (video) visitation, they can switch those funds over to that.”

The kiosk in the lobby can also be used for the payment of cash bonds, Tucker said, and a kiosk in the inmate booking area is used to hold any cash a prisoner may have on them when they are arrested.

After the money is fed into the kiosk, the prisoner is given a receipt, Tucker said.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the new system helps the ACSO avoid handling money.

“We are trying to get to where we don’t touch money, where it is all done electronically so it keeps us from being under suspicion,” Mayfield said.

Previously, cash payments of all types at the jail had to be counted, verified and dropped in a box by the jail staff. The next morning, the administrative office would have to repeat the process, Tucker said.

“Now, we have one bonded fiduciary clerk who comes in and disperses all those funds,” he said.

For commissary operations, inmates will have a week to enter their order. The commissary is contracted with Swanson, a division of Trinity Services.

In addition to limiting the movement of cash through the jail, the kiosks can also be used by inmates to request medical checks, file a complaint or notify jail staff of any other issues that need to be addressed, Tucker said.

“When they put it in there, a message is sent to the appropriate parties and — if they don’t get a response — it flags it and lets me or the shift sergeant know,” Tucker said.

“The good thing about it is everything that is put in there is tracked, and we can look at this thing three months, six months or a year behind us and say what happened on a day, what was ordered, what was complained about and what medical visits were scheduled,” he said.

The equipment installed in the jail was valued at $116,000, Tucker said, but was done at no cost to the county. Swanson recoups its investment through fees charged to inmate commissary accounts, he said.