The Yakima County Jail has some of the newest technology available and it didn't cost the county a penny to install.
YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima County Jail has some of the newest technology available and it didn't cost the county a penny to install.
Everything an inmate might need is now right at their fingertips. The kiosk can order food, make requests with staff, even schedule time to meet with visitors. It's also cutting out a ton of paperwork.
"We're not getting those forms to an inmate, getting the form back from an inmate, shipping it to an appropriate division, the division commander then writes the appropriate answer, sends it back to the inmate, the custody officer gives it back to the inmate, now the inmate gets to read it. So all of that is gone, it's just direct from where it needs to go to where it needs to go," said Lt. Gordon Costello, Dept. of Corrections.
The kiosk, located outside the jail, can be used for friends and family members to wire money to an inmate inside to use on food or essential items.
"It makes my job a lot easier, it makes the cash clerk's job easier because now the money is automatically downloaded onto an inmate's account, all she has to do is run a balance sheet and check everything all out," Lt. Costello said.
The entire system was free because two years ago the county awarded a private company a contract to run the commisary. Part of the contract involved installing a new-age kiosk system and now that system is saving money.
"I believe it has saved the county a lot of money some of it will be in soft costs, staff labor," Lt. Costello said.
Administrators say these kiosks are just one part of maintaining a well run and efficient jail.
"As technology comes along, everybody uses the new technology. And jails are no different. Anything that can make things faster, simpler, cheaper is going to be used," Costello said.
Administrators say they used to use up to one ream of paper a day, now with the kiosk system, that paperwork has practically disappeared. Administrators also say the kiosk system has improved safety for corrections officers at the jail. Now they can interact with the county's most dangerous inmates electronically.