As a result of using our visitation management system, Weber's jail has become so efficient that they are able to generate revenue by offering extra personal visits for a fee – this is a common theme among our customers.
Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) November 30, 2011
In 2009, Weber County Jail in Ogden, Utah replaced face-to-face inmate visitations with Renovo Software’s video visitation and scheduling software. Since then, visitors have been able to go online to Weber County Jail's website to register and schedule a visit with an inmate – reserving a time slot and eliminating the long wait to see their loved one.
Earlier this year, Renovo Software approached Weber County Jail staff and informed them about a new feature in their software that allows inmates to have extra personal visits for a fee. Brian Peters, Renovo’s Product and Marketing Director stated, “As a result of using our visitation management system, Weber's jail has become so efficient that they are able to generate revenue by offering extra personal visits for a fee – this is a common theme among our customers."
Weber County inmates are currently allowed one or two 25 minute personal (non-professional) visits per week depending on their classification. On November 8th, Weber County Jail began allowing inmates who have already scheduled their weekly free personal visits to have additional visits for $10 each. Peters stated, "With a jail population of about 700 inmates, Weber currently averages 500 free visits per week. This means that some inmates are reaching their quotas while others are not.” With this new feature, Weber has the potential to offer as many as 3500 additional personal paid visits per week without adding to their existing infrastructure.
Peters confirmed, “The process to set up a paid visit is the same as a free one – visitors must register and schedule visits as before, the only difference is that they use their credit, debit or Visa/AMEX gift card to pay for the extra visit.”
While several other jails have expressed interest in the software to help offset the increasing costs to house inmates, some individuals in those communities have expressed concerns. Peters acknowledged the concerns, stating, “We understand the perception that we are charging the families for access to their loved ones, but we want to be clear that the inmates are allowed to have the same number of free visits as before and this gives families extra opportunities to visit their loved ones.”
Officials contend that they are offering a service that will benefit the visitors, inmates, and the community as a whole. In the end, the inmates and visitors can elect whether or not to use to service. It's worth noting that in addition to providing longer visitation center hours than most facilities in the state, Weber County exceeds the minimum standards in Utah for jail visitations.
Minneapolis-based Renovo Software is managing the payment processing and providing the software module at no charge to the facility. Weber County will receive a portion of the revenue generated from the system. In addition, Renovo has provided training to Weber’s visitation staff along with materials and instructions for all visitors.
Initial figures indicate that on average Weber County Jail has about seven paid visits per day, but numbers are increasing as more visitors and inmates learn about the option. For Weber, this means they could see commissions between $9,000 and $18,000 per year – an impressive figure considering the facility did not add any additional infrastructure or staffing costs to add this feature or the video visitation system itself.
Regarding revenues, Peters explains, “Each correctional facility has the ability to set different rates and visitation lengths that are appropriate to the laws of the local community – all of which will result in different revenue potential.” For correctional facilities nationwide, the ability to offer paid visits in conjunction with free visits can help ease the burden of reduced tax revenues and increasing budgetary constraints.
For more information about Renovo’s Video Visitation, Internet Visitation, and Face-to-Face Visitation Management System, visit http://www.renovosoftware.com