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Visitation Changes At Lawrence County Jail
Updated August 1, 2017 7:16 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham announced changes to visitation at the jail.

Considering the dramatic increase in numbers of those incarcerated at the Lawrence County Security Center, the need for additional meeting space has become an issue.

"Meeting space is needed so that incarcerated individuals can meet with their attorneys, social case workers, and other criminal justice professionals in order to expedite the judicial process," says Sheriff Branham.

Last year, out of necessity for the safety and security of the facility, the Security Center re-purposed a room utilized for these meetings to install a body scanner.

"The loss of that meeting space equated to longer waiting periods for attorneys, social case workers, and other criminal justice professionals to meet with their clients, effectively slowing down the process of moving them through the judicial system," Sheriff Branham added. "For this reason, I have decided to convert two downstairs visitation booths into additional, lockable booths for such visits."

Unfortunately, this means that these booths are no longer available for standard visitation.

With the addition of the video visitation kiosks in the lower lobby, weekly, in-person visitation has declined on Tuesdays and Sundays.

"Because of the availability of the video kiosks, and the dwindling in-person visitation numbers, I have made the decision to no longer offer face to face visitation to those individuals housed in the lower cell blocks (A-H), effective immediately," he added. "While this decision may not be popular with some, I have an obligation to the taxpayers to expedite this process as effectively and efficiently as possible. Additionally, I have an obligation to those who are incarcerated to ensure they have adequate means of connecting with those people who can help expedite the process for them."

In addition to this change, four additional video visitation kiosks have been ordered and will be installed in the visitation room located off of the upper lobby. The two kiosks currently located downstairs, will be relocated to the same room.

"This change will create much needed storage space in the secure part of the Security Center," Sheriff Branham says. "It will also increase safety and security within the facility by eliminating the need to move inmates from cell blocks to visitation booths."

This change is expected to take place in the next few weeks, at which time the Lawrence County Security Center will officially eliminate all face-to-face visitation for all incarcerated individuals.

"My ultimate goal is to get as much life as possible out of a jail originally designed to house 80, and now housing more than twice that number," Sheriff Branham says. "The elimination of face-to-face visits will save staff the time required to conduct visitation, improve safety by reducing inmate movement within the facility, and reduce waiting periods for visitors by giving them the ability to schedule specific times at their convenience. We will continue to allow for one onsite video visit per day per inmate at no charge."

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