Last week, we told you about how Sheriff Joe Arpaio was cutting back on inmate visitation at the county jails, just in time for the holidays, so a new video-visitation system could be installed.
It turns out that the new video-visitation system will be the only way to visit with inmates. If someone wants to have a video visit with an inmate from their own computer, it will cost $12.95 for a 20-minute chat.
-Joe Arpaio Cuts Back on Inmate Visitation, Just in Time for Holidays
According to the contract filed with the county procurement office, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will be getting a cut of the profits made by the company that's installing the video system.
The company, Securus, is installing the equipment for free, but the Sheriff's Office gets a 10 percent cut of the monthly gross revenue, if there are a minimum of 8,000 paid visits per month. Once this company makes more than about $2.6 million in gross revenue, MCSO's cut increases to 20 percent per month.
Although this allows people with a home computer, webcam, and Internet access to remotely video-chat with an inmate, for a fee, it also allows people to go visit video terminals at the jails -- which may also come with a fee:
Inmates will be allowed three (3) onsite visits per week, at no charge, for non-professional visitors, subject to lower modification (but in no case more than three (3) onsite visits per week) pursuant to policies of County. Contractor may charge visitation prices of up to $20.00 per session for any additional onsite, non-professional visitations. County shall eliminate non-professional contact and non-contact visitation, and County shall use video visitation as the sole means to conduct non-professional visitation. In addition, all non-professional visitation, including on-site visitation, must be scheduled through Contractor's video visitation system.The contract also includes details about how MCSO will get technology to track all sorts of information about the video calls, including the ability for investigators to "mine intelligence data like never before."
The contract also makes mention of MCSO having access to IP addresses being stored as records on the system.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved the proposal on November 6. Information provided to the BOS says the expected revenue is $1.1 million over five years.
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