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Dawn Herbert visits with her son Tommy Rogers via video call at Cheshire County Jail in Keene, N.H.

If you have a friend or loved one in the Volusia Cty Jail here in the Daytona Beach area of Florida, get ready to play the man’s game of Telephone. Until you have someone close to you incarcerated there you cannot believe how this current penal system works. Bottom line: They forbid any in person visits… period! You want to talk with an inmate then fork over your money to IC Solutions, another in the slew of for profit private companies that our government sold out to. It’s not so much the few dollars you must pay, but the whole concept that sucks! Here’s how this convoluted system works: First off, and most heinous of all, is trying to figure out how to sign onto IC Solutions with your computer. My wife, pretty computer savvy from her years of administrating our sales business, took almost four hours getting an appointment to see and speak to my son via Zoom. And that was after waiting on the phone for nearly 45 minutes for an IC Tech person to help her. The tech person was helpful and we got to have the zoom visit… which is of course monitored.

They only allow such a visit from Tuesdays through Saturdays. One must secure a time slot for the 30 minute session. Having been at a first appearance at the jail, it is very sad to see how many of the recently arrested lack either an education or the social and verbal skills needed to understand what in the hell is going on! One wonders how many of those poor souls have a friend or family member to be able to navigate what IC Solutions requires for them to visit. This is absolutely ridiculous! Sorry, but when our loved ones wind up in the bottom of the barrel, if anyone deserves an in person visit it is them… and us their family and friends.

This writer sent an email to ALL our County Council members this weekend as to this system. So far, one councilman answered me. I give him that for being so conscientious. This is what he sent me:

 To Whom This May Concern,

 First of all, I am sorry that you had a bad experience with the Inmate Video Visitation system. However, this system was implemented in May of 2001 and has proven over and over to be a much safer and cost effective way to conduct inmate visitation. It is now being used in almost every correctional environment in the United States. It reduces the amount of time and manpower needed to transport/escort inmates to supervised visits, which is a cost savings to every taxpayer in the county. It also reduces the amount of contraband being brought into the correctional setting, which in itself is the best benefit.

The old system of contact visitation only allowed the inmate one to two visits per week. The current video visitation system allows family members/friends of the incarcerated individual to schedule one session per day Tuesday through Saturday.

The old system had to have a minimum of 6 to 8 correctional officers to work it as the new system only requires 1 to 2. Another savings to taxpayers and much more efficient.

Prior to my election to County Council, I worked for the Volusia County Division of Corrections for over 30 years. I was present when the new system was implemented and absolutely support this method of inmate visitation.

Since you didn’t sign your email, it will make if difficult to ascertain if your problems were isolated to this specific inmate (whomever it may be) or a general problem. I have checked with our jail and there is no general problems with the system to report.

Basically, what he was alluding to was really just about ‘Saving money’… period! The movers and shakers of our system obviously think that this is the best solution to deal with the dregs of our society. Perhaps if a  wife, husband, child or grandchild of our political leaders wind up in that jail they might see things more clearly. Perhaps if we taxed the large corporations, mega millionaires and billionaires like we did in the 1960s and 1970s there would be barrels of revenue to help our prison system.