Prisoners will soon be able to webcam with friends and family - NBC40.net

Prisoners will soon be able to webcam with friends and family

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BRIDGETON -

New technology in one local jail will soon allow prisoners to see family and friends more often and it will also make the jail safer.

For anyone who has ever seen a prison movie, you can probably picture the visiting booth in your head, but now prison officials at the Cumberland County jail are switching things up and allowing inmates to video conference.

"If an inmate stays in touch with their family they are more likely to be successful when they leave here," warden Robert Balicki said.

Officials say staying in touch is just one of the benefits to the new program.

Prison officials say with fewer visits they will cut down on officer overtime, and most importantly they will have less contraband coming into the prison as visits decline.

Warden Balicki says often times parents don't want their kids to come to the jail because of the atmosphere and that's why this program will be a big help to families near and far.

"I think it will help morale, people who can't visit with people, can't get anyone to come because they don't live around here or the family is afraid to come here."

Just like the visiting stations in the prison now the new video systems will be monitored by prison officials so if there's any lewd or illegal activity the proper officials will be notified.

"People will be banned and they won't be able to use the system if they do things they aren't supposed to," Balicki said.

Family and friends will pay nine dollars for 20 minutes of conferencing time and 85% of that money will go back to the jail.

The system costs about $300,000, but won't cost tax payers a dime. The funds are coming from revenue generated at the prison store.

Prison officials say this program is a win–win for everyone.

"It's a good program that will help people reintegrate into society, keep in touch with their families, give them a better chance of being successful when they leave here and its not gonna cost anything."

Officials say this system should be up and running within the next 6 months.

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