Video Visitation Proving Popular Among Frederick County Detention Center Inmates

They’ve logged more than 60,000 visits since July, 2020.

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Frederick, Md (KM) There are no in-person visits at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But video visits are allowed.

Captain Tim Selin, the Administrative Services Director at the local jail, says the Detention Center began providing this service last year as it was upgrading its phone system. “This went out to bid and part of it was do video visitation which we jumped on because of COVID, and the fact that the inmates didn’t get any visitation at this time,” he says.

Selin says an area within each cell block has been set aside for inmates to speak with their families. “We installed video visitation units into the housing units. And they can use the video visitation units to visit–almost like Skype or Facetime type thing–on either a phone or a computer in their family’s residence,” he says.

Since it was installed last year, Captain Selin says the system, called Homewav, has  been a big success for inmates. “They’re thankful because they get to talk and see their family,” he says. “They get to see what’s going on in their family’s lives. They get to see them face-to-face. So they seem to be pretty happy about it.”

The Sheriff’s Office says since the Homewav video system was installed last year, there have  been 60,186 video visits between July 28th, 2020 and April 12th, 2021. That equates to each visit being a little more than seven minutes.

The inmates and their families  also have the option of creating and sending video messages back and forth. Since August, 2020 and April 12th, 2021, there have been 13,739 video messages sent out and received.

Captain Selin says this system comes at no cost to the county. Inmate families can set up accounts  and are charged 30-cents per minute for video calls, and   60-cents per video message sent.  .

He also says inmates can use Homewav to consult in private with their attorneys. “There is a way for their attorney to set up an account with homewav so that it’s not recorded. And they can talk with their attorneys that way,” says Captain Selin.

There no way of knowing when the Detention Center will reopen for in-person visitations now that the COVID-19 restrictions are easing as more people get vaccinated. But Captain Selin says video visiting is here to stay. “We don’t see this ending. We’re going to keep it going. They get an unlimited number of visits using that system. So they can use it everyday if they want. They can use it multiple times a day if they want,” he says.

The inmates can use the video visitation system every day form 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM.



Bu Kevin McManus