Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and Hurrican Harvey
Prison Visits & Issues

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Set to Transition to Video Visitation

Effective October 10, 2017, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Harvey, Louisiana will no longer accept in-person visits for inmates and their families and friends.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and Hurrican HarveyThe center will transition to a prison video visitation system, allowing prison loved ones to “visit” using their computers and mobile devices.

In-person jail visits will be limited to professionals providing services to incarcerated individuals.

Currently, there is an in-person weekly visitation at the parish jail in Gretna from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. In this setup, a glass partition separates the inmates and visitors, and conversation is done over telephones.

How to Conduct Video Visitation

According to Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, the JPSO will be the first in Louisiana to use the video system.

With the video visitation system, inmates will have access to a computer kiosk installed in a common area on their cell block.

Those who wish to visit their incarcerated loved ones can do so even remotely by accessing the system through a computer or mobile app.

Video VisitationThe system can also be accessed at the new Visitation Center located at 1425 Walkerton Way in Marrero.

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For video visitation, the Marrero Center has:

  • family rooms with seats
  • one Securus camera system
  • two telephones per camera
  • no speakers

Inmates will be allowed one weekly visit at the Visitation Center. Additional visits—up to three times a day, can be made through the remote service.

When using the Marrero Center, the cost of the first video visitation is waived. After the first visit, a $12.99 per visit fee is assessed. All remote video visitation calls cost $12.99 for every 20-minute block.

Reasons for the Transition to Video Visitation

The Sheriff’s Office has cited several advantages of the new system:

  1. Increased safety and security
  2. Greatly increased access to inmates
  3. Reduction in required staffing levels
  4. Reduction in contraband entering through visitation
 With video visitation, inmates will be available for about 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Through remote access, families can connect with inmates during special occasions or even when they are out of town, which is impossible to do with conventional visitation programs.

Lopinto commented:

“This system gives (inmates) a lot more time with their family, and it also frees up assets for the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish. We can allocate resources where we think they’re needed, on the streets.”

Just like with in-person visitation, all video visits including those done remotely will be monitored at all times, said the Sheriff’s Office.

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More and more prisons are incorporating video visitations and making in person prison visits obsolete. Do you think this a violation of a prisoner’s rights? Weigh in, in the comment section below!

Melanie Macinas
Melanie Macinas holds a BS degree in Computer Science. She found her passion for writing when she took a content writing position for a BPO company. In 2011, she started her freelancing career as a writer and since then has successfully completed several writing projects for US/UK clients. She now writes news stories for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.