Aiken Co. Detention Center starts video visitation

Big changes are coming to the Aiken County Detention Center impacting how families visit their loved ones behind bars.

"It's using the correctional environment to allow visitation in a safe secure way," said Captain Nick Gallam with the Aiken County Detention Center. "It's web based, something similar to Skype."

Visitors can come right to the jail and video chat in the lobby, and it's free of charge. It's also free to the taxpayer.

Previously visitations were only conducted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but the new technology allows visitation any day of the week and the video kiosks replace a much older method of visitation.

"We would escort the visitor upstairs to a visitation booth, which was through a plexi-glass window," Gallam said. "It was actually kind of hard to hear through."

But difficulty in hearing wasn't the only threat this kind of visitation posed.

"We still had people smuggling drugs through it," Gallam said. "If there's a will there's a way. They'll find a way to do it."

The video chat will fully replace the previous method of visitation, and people also have a chance to take advantage of visiting at home.

Between now and March 31, loved ones can use the video chat at home. They will be charged $5 for 20 minutes and $10 for 40 minutes.

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