Tiffin, Ohio — Seneca County Sheriff Fred Stevens applauded Seneca County Jail leadership Wednesday for working closely with him to expand video visitation capabilities for inmates so they can have face-to-face visits for the first time in nearly a year.
Stevens said during his first weekend as sheriff, he walked through the jail and spoke with some of the inmates.
“One of the biggest complaints was that it has been almost a year with no face-to-face visitation,” he said, adding that the visits were stopped because of COVID-19.
Stevens said this motivated him to begin searching for solutions to allow some form of face-to-face visitation for inmates.
“I found that video visitation software was being used by several others jails and prisons,” he said. “I had them come give us a presentation and at no cost to Seneca County taxpayers, we were able to get the Cident Video Visitation program in place.”
Jail Administrator Ron Green said it took a few months to run wiring and set up the software, and the program went live at the beginning of March.
“This is a huge morale boost to the inmates because it has been 11 months since they’ve been able to visit with friends or loved ones,” Stevens said. “Since last March, it’s been only phone calls, which is not the same.”
Stevens said the morale boost makes inmates easier to deal with for corrections officers. “It’s also just the humane thing to do, to allow them to see their friends and loved ones after such a long period with no face time,” he said.
Green said anyone who wants to schedule a video visit with an inmate or detainee may register for an account at https://customer.cidnet.net/login. Those who do not have a smartphone or home PC may still schedule a visit but they must come to the lobby at the sheriff’s office to have the visit.
There is a charge to the inmate/detainee’s account for the visitation component of the system. Green said kiosks are located in the lobby of the sheriff’s office, which is open 24/7.
Another benefit of the Cident communication system is that it allows for e-mail communication. Inmates/detainees may utilize the system for in-house communications as well, for tasks such as filing a grievance, general requests and medical requests.
“Another feature of the system provides for inmates ordering their commissary,” Green said. Stevens applauded corrections staff for working to get the system up and running, as they will be responsible for enforcing rules for visitors and inmates.
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