This story was updated on March 3, 2015.
Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton says he will continue in-person, “through the glass” visiting for visitors to Multnomah County jails, bowing to pressure from public concerns over replacing all visits with video kiosks.
In a press release sent out early this afternoon, the sheriff’s office said the contract with Securus Technologies, the Texas-based corporation that is providing the video service, will be amended to preserve in-person visits. The contract originally included provisions to eliminate in-person visitation altogether.
The sheriff’s announcement today comes after Street Roots broke the story about the department going the way of others across the country in installing video visitation devices, which in some cases involve charges to users per visits. The contract was written to encourage more video visits, and consequently accrue charges on the friends and families of people who are incarcerated.
Last week, the Multnomah County Commissioners approached Staton on the matter, and subsequent stories in other media have drawn angry complaints from readers.
“The contract amendment has been verbally agreed to and will be completed by the end of the week,” the announcement states. “Sheriff Staton will continue to review social visiting processes and video visiting processes over the next six to eight months to ensure all concerns are taken into consideration.”
Read the full announcement here.
Multnomah County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lt. Steven Alexander says since the county moved to preserve in-person visitation, it's been limited to Saturdays only. Historically, in-person, through-the-glass visits were available on both Saturdays and Sundays. Alexander says neither county jail has turned any vistiors away due to a full visiting schedule since the change and some visitation slots have gone unfilled.