Denver, CO

Denver considers giving jail inmates computer tablets

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver jail inmates may soon get free tablets.

Securus Technologies, the company that provides electronic visitation services for inmates, would supply the tablets.

The agreement between Securus and Denver appears on the June 22 consent calendar for the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee meeting.

Tablets would enrich inmates' lives

The tablets provide a medium for visits and all internet access. Giving inmates tablets gives them opportunities to improve their lives with "no-cost educational, mental health, addiction recovery, personal development, job search and religious materials," Major Kelly Bruning explains in a memo to the council.

The tablets also will allow inmates to communicate with family and friends, search and prepare for employment before release, and occupy time with paid entertainment options like music, movies and games.

Users must create an account with Securus. Then, they can schedule virtual visits for the next business day. "Home remote visitation costs the user $9 per visit but are unlimited," Bruning said.

Virtual visitations monitored

Inmates and their loved ones also can have a free visit at either the Downtown Detention Center or the County Jail. The jails limit onsite visits to two per week.

Securus and Denver Sheriff's Department personnel monitor virtual visits. If they note a violation, they send a warning.

"If the violation is not corrected, the visit is terminated. Professional remote visitation is also available, under the same policy, but is not monitored by staff," she wrote.

In-person visits expanded

Bruning also provided the council with an update on expanding in-person visits at the county jail on Smith Road. The new visitation space, expected to be completed this fall, will have 10 tables that seat the inmate and up to three visitors.

The space also includes three private family rooms for court-ordered child visits.

Jail lobby getting a makeover

Burning's memo also details plans to renovate the outdated county jail lobby to allow contact visits.

The full council still needs to vote on the Securus contract.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

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