Commissioners, Judge Jenkins debate inmate video visitation - Dallas News |

Commissioners, Judge Jenkins debate inmate video visitation

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Dallas County is looking at a controversial plan to save money on visitation at the Dallas County Jail.

Commissioners are for it, but county Judge Clay Jenkins doesn't like the profit margin built in for the company who has presented a plan to Dallas County.

“This is a big commission, big cost to people who have family in jail contract with the door open to limit in-person visitation to drive people to this,” said Jenkins.

My only concern is that we're spending money; in fact we're spending a lot more money,” said Commissioner John Wiley Price.

Commissioner Price piped that it costs the county more in manpower for the in-person visitations right now than the $3M price tag proposed for video visitation with satellite viewing stations around the county.

“There should be no cost for that,” said county finance director Ryan Brown. “If I want to do it from my living room and visit with my son in jail, I should pay for that convenience.”

“But why should we make money off someone’s child wanting to talk to them while they’re in jail?” said Jenkins.  

The court agreed to move forward with the process and work to cut the county from making any money from video visits -- a point that Jenkins would not let rest.

“The whole issue of prison profiteering and jail profiteering is very problematic,” said Jenkins.

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