Securus Video Connect, Guarded Exchange

Facility: Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

ADP: 96

Contact: Lt. Hugh Howard

Situation: Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office is a small facility that does not have the manpower or ability to adequately monitor all in-person visits. During these visits, some guests were passing gang-related messages and signals while others were smuggling contraband to the incarcerated individuals.

Solution: Securus Video Connect, Guarded Exchange

Results: In order to increase safety, the agency added Securus Video ConnectSM and Securus’ Guarded Exchange to increase the efficiency and better observe the communication between those incarcerated and family and friends. Services began in 2019. Securus Video ConnectSM  was offered as an extra opportunity for incarcerated individuals to communicate with their loved ones in addition to in-person visits. As a result, the facility has never been the same.

“We were originally only having on-site visitation and after going to Video Connect, we were able to increase security by decreasing inmate movement,” stated Lt. Hugh Howard of the sheriff’s office.

Prior to Securus Video ConnectSM, not only did the jail have the danger of contraband and gang activity during some in-person visits, but Howard says another problem was that incarcerated individuals did not want to leave the visitation area after their time with their guests was over.

Securus Technologies®  provided the solution of a web-based visual communication tool, Securus Video ConnectSM, that allows friends, family, attorneys and public officials to schedule and participate in video sessions with an incarcerated individual from anywhere with internet access using a smartphone, tablet or PC. Through the power of video, incarcerated residents can share life’s special moments like blowing out birthday candles, reading a child a bedtime story or participate in holiday celebrations.

No other technology gives incarcerated residents the ability to experience the life of loved one’s inside their homes. Studies reveal that incarcerated individuals who keep in touch with supportive family and friends have a better chance of a successful reintegration into society. The sheriff’s office wanted to give incarcerated residents an added opportunity, other than in-person visits, to connect with loved ones, public officials and attorneys. Howard stresses that communication gives incarcerated residents the ability to experience the life of loved ones.

Securus Video ConnectSM provides family and friends limitless opportunities to connect with an incarcerated loved one. In order to help avoid the challenges the facility was having with some in-person visits, the agency also implemented the monitoring services of Securus’ Guarded Exchange.

“We decided to go with Guarded Exchange because of our small facility, so we were able to get reports on in-person sessions to let us know what issues come up during visits,” explained Howard.

As a result of COVID, in-person visits at the jail were suspended in March, but because of Securus Video ConnectSM, incarcerated individuals are still able to communicate with their loved ones and other contacts. Howard credits this digital tool for improving incarcerated residents’ conduct.

“Security and safety have increased as our agency now has visibility into the communication and actions taking place during video sessions that we otherwise would not have been able to manage,” stated Howard. 

“The negative behavior has stopped because if they do something inappropriate during the video session, then we will cut it short. They may also lose this privilege altogether,” he concluded.